What came first: the chicken or the egg? Well, they’re equally as important in Big Fish Games’ latest casual game, Chicken Chase.
Consider it a "whack a mole"-like arcade with a little more story, depth and variety. Or, a game similar to PopCap’s Insaniquarium, but with chickens and ravens, instead of fish and aliens.
Your aging grandparents are having trouble managing the farm – in fact, they’re facing foreclosure – so they ask you to find it in your heart to move in for a while to help out. Of course you agree, and so your missions include hatching eggs, raising and selling chickens, staving off predators and buying tool and food upgrades to aid in your task. With a little elbow (er, make that chicken) grease, you can save the farm, make it look like new and put a little greenback into your grandparent’s coveralls.
The game-play is as follows: players see the chicken yard outside of the barn and a few chickens pecking around looking for food. You must use your mouse to click somewhere on the ground, which sprinkles feed for the chickens to eat. While pecking, they drop coins, and you need to click on them to collect the cash value (and they lose value for each second they remain untouched). Small chicks grow into larger chicks over time, and they eventually will lay eggs for you to click on to redeem their value or you can click on the picture of the eggs at the top if the screen if you want those eggs to hatch into chicks – depending on what the mission goal is. For instance, if your goal is to raise $7000 in seven minutes, your priority might be to cash out, but if your goal is to raise 20 chickens to complete the level, you’ll likely choose to hatch the eggs to reach your target number.
Eggs come in different colors, which offers different cash values and hatches into five different kinds of chickens, such as roosters (in black eggs) that can help protect the roost when hatched and matured. Speaking of protection, while you’re nurturing the livestock you must also keep ravens from flying in and snatching the chickens by clicking to shoot them in mid-air (think of the arcade classic Duck Hunt). Other hungry enemies show up later in the game. Chickens will also get sick and turn green, so you must click to heal them quickly or else they’ll die.
At the end of many of the 50 levels, players can choose a free environmental upgrade, such as nicer trim on the barn, or during the game, players can visit the specialty store to buy items if they’re available and you have enough cash, such as a food upgrade to throw more seeds. Also, throughout the game a box with a question mark may appear on the screen; if you click it, it could be good news (such as a helpful mouse) or bad news (a flu epidemic that makes your chickens fall ill). Bonus levels appear from time to time with mini-games, such as clicking as many ravens as possible within a predetermined time limit. Players can play any completed level as many times as they’d like.
If "twitch" games are for you – you know, where fast reflexes and quick hand-eye coordination is key – then Chicken Chase a refreshing take on the "whack a mole" formula. Some gamers, however, may crave a more cognitive, slower-paced puzzle game instead. While the game offers many types of chickens, eggs and upgrades, be aware it only offers one mode.
That said, Chicken Chase is a recommended download that is both fun and amusing.