Chicken Police - Paint it Red (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 30.12.2020

Review for Chicken Police - Paint it Red on Nintendo Switch

Chicken Police - Paint it Red! is a mix of point n' click adventure with L.A. Noire-like interrogation scenes, all served with a film noir aesthetic with a drop of colour here and there, not unlike something like Sin City. In terms of aesthetic and overall tone, Grim Fandango is a game that comes to mind and which this could be likened to. However the defining trait here, other than its mostly black and white presentation... is the fact that all characters are anthropomorphic animals that talk, and that our two mains are roosters. Then, the whole "utopic city where animals of all species live in peace, but where inequalities and old prejudices survive" kind of idea reminds of the excellent Disney Pixar's Zootopia, except here the atmosphere is much less cheerful and the humour a lot more adult oriented. The contrast between all these different sources of inspiration, aesthetics and elements succeed at the very least to make Chicken Police stand out and intrigue. How good is it in practice though? Let's find out!

Sonny Featherland and Marty MacChicken are two members of the Clawville Police, formerly used as the heroes of a series of novels called, you guessed it, Chicken Police. They are well known in town and still commend some respect from the townsfolk who delighted over books covering their antics. However, Sonny was recently suspended by the chief of police, a Bloodhound named Bloodboyle. On one drunk night, he comes home to find the lock on his door picked and a seductive Impala lady standing in the semi darkness, waiting for him bathed only by the light shafts bleeding through the blinders. Her mistress needs his services, though he is no private detective.

The famous singer and night club owner Natasha Catzenko, currently dating mobster rat Hobart "Ibn" Wessler, has been receiving threatening messages in letters as well as painted outside her house. To convince him, Natasha sent a photo of his wife Molly, who he hasn't seen in years. Does Natasha know Molly? This is enough to get this rooster's comb tingling, but he needs someone who knows the night club lifestyle. Sonny will therefore have to reconcile with his former partner, Marty MacChicken, obsessed by only two things: guns and females of all species.

So the somewhat short adventure begins, clocking in at just about 9 hours for a casual playthrough. The gameplay flow is like that of any old school, especially Lucas Arts' point n' click adventures. The player moves between locations, clicking on things to trigger usually humourous or sarcastic comments from the protagonist and talks to people to move the plot forward.

Screenshot for Chicken Police - Paint it Red on Nintendo Switch

Occasionally, gameplay changes drastically, in scenes such as target practice, which in essence is like playing "Whack the rat" in Sam and Max Hit the Road, or car chase scenes. These are few and far between and don't make up the bulk of the experience, though they provide nice distractions. Then, several times through the game there are a few puzzles to be solved and interrogations to be conducted on suspects. This is where the comparisons to L.A. Noire start, as the player needs to pay attention to the suspects personality to pick the right things to ask and keep the interrogation focused.

However this is also where comparisons to Rockstar and Team Bondi's game end. The one thing that is more likely than any other element to keep the player hooked however... is the humour. It's spot on, all the way through. The writing is excellent, the story is engaging and every single character is likeable in its own way. The icing on the cake is then that the voice acting ranges from good to downright excellent. It is one thing to have characters written well but it is another to find the right people to lend their voices to them and Chicken Police pulled it off. The jokes about the fact that the characters are animals, like Sonny complaining about his drumstick hurting to only mention this one, make the characters so loveable.

The presentation is also surprisingly high profile. The use of actual 3D appears to be minimal as scenery elements appear to be photorealistic 2D cutouts layered on top of one another. However, the subtle, slow camera wobble in still scenes gives the whole thing a convincing parallax effect.

Screenshot for Chicken Police - Paint it Red on Nintendo Switch

This in turn gives a sense of depth that works perfectly to give each location a photorealistic 3D look without being too taxing on the limited Switch hardware. Consequently, Chicken Police has no problem running at what appears to be full 1080p when docked and 720p in portable mode without any outstanding aliasing in sight. Picture quality in this game is spotless which is a good thing since visual design is also a strong point of the game.

A nitpick would be that, when zooming on local elements of each scene, in docked mode at 1080p, the lower resolution of the source assets used on Switch becomes apparent. Zooming on things is actually never really required though, so the illusion of photorealism should rarely if at all be broken by this. In fact the zoom could be removed from the game and no one would then notice any blemmishes in the presentation stakes. That is not to say that everything is absolutely perfect though.

For the sake of this review, we were warned that there were known issues, with plans for them to be patched out shortly after launch. Those included some text lines not always fitting perfectly in their text box, frame stutters and game freezes. None of these were encountered or noticed while playing this game for review and the version tested was indeed version 1.0 . However other issues were encountered like, on one occasion and never again after, one audio line of dialogue not playing. Replaying the conversation from scratch, the line played normally the next, so that wasn't really a problem.

Screenshot for Chicken Police - Paint it Red on Nintendo Switch

Then, really the only annoying issue in the whole game, is lack of proofreading of the English script. There are typos and grammar mistakes by the dozen sprinkled throughout the game. These stand out even more because the voice acted lines that go along with them do not display the same grammar errors, as the voice actors say their line in a natural and perfect way that makes the actual text displayed even more distracting. The worst for example is that the game is divided in three chapters, yet chapter III gets incorrectly labelled chapter IV in the pre-rendered cutscene. Where did chapter III go guys?

This reviewer also tried out the game with French subtitles, out of curiosity. The script there, while perhaps not always managing to get the jokes across in the best way possible, didn't have nearly the same amount of typos or grammar mistakes. It was fine. Therefore it really is a fault with the English writing, which could easily be fixed if someone went back and just turned the subtitles into a transcript of the voice actors' top notch performance, because they got their lines right. In fact, because the voice acting is so good, the problem of the text is very much alleviated and this ends up not taking away from the enjoyment of the experience.

It is worth noting that although voice acting is limited to English, the game was developed by The Wild Gentlemen, a studio based in Hungary. Perhaps English was not their first language but still, the English script should be fixed as soon as possible since it basically is often different from what the voice actors actually say. In closing, the world of Chicken Police is actually surprisingly rich and there seems to be a lot of detail on this animal society that is barely touched upon but not exploited... like the fox ruler or the segregation of insects to a ghetto called "The Hive". If we could get a sequel developing things further, this would certainly be greatly appreciated!

Screenshot for Chicken Police - Paint it Red on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Chicken Police - Paint it Red! is a total good surprise. It hits every nail squarely on the head and leaves the player with a satisfying sense of accomplishment, while being a ruddy good time all the way through. Yes, the English written script leaves something to be desired and should totally be fixed as soon as possible, meaning it's not perfect in that sense. It is also somewhat short for the price but this is something we can more easily let slide when a game is just consistently enjoyable all the way through like it is here. Lovers of animals, film noir, adult humour, police mysteries and point n' click adventures... all of the above are likely to find a lot to be liked about this piece of software.

Review copy provided by Handy Games

Also known as

Chicken Police

Developer

The Wild Gentlemen

Publisher

HandyGames

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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