Bomb Chicken

With a name like ‘Bomb Chicken’ you shouldn’t be left guessing for too long as to what to expect — in this action puzzle-platformer from Nitrome you play as a cute chubby hen that can lay bombs.

The exact reason as to why you can produce explosives makes up your motive for exploring further across the 29 levels ahead of you. For now, let’s just say it involves a rather suspect blue hot-sauce and a parody ‘evil’ fast-food chain dubbed ‘BFC’.

In the opening few minutes, my immediate thoughts were welcome memories of playing the first Wario Land game for the original Game Boy back in 1994. It’s the way in which certain enemies and environments look, and how the titular ‘Bomb Chicken’ herself moves around the levels, particularly how she bodyslams into a bomb — either way, it made for a positive first impression. Super Meat Boy, Spelunky and Alien Hominid also came to mind during my play-through; good company I’d say.

Progression through each level is made possible thanks to the only ability with which your chicken has — laying bombs. This single power makes for a very easy to grasp game: you can move, and you can lay eggs. That’s all you have to learn. As your hen can’t jump, you’re left with this worrying skill (seriously, this must hurt) as your only way to get around. Lay one or two eggs to raise yourself high enough to get on top of a box, lay several and they quickly stack high enough to get through a hole in the wall that’s high above.

However, no matter how tall your egg tower is, you’ll quickly have to get to grips with the fact that your own bombs can hurt you. You can’t sit pretty atop your egg structure for too long before it explodes; hang around and you’ll die.

Because of this built-in danger Bomb Chicken takes on a fairly fast paced style of play: lay an egg, climb, move quick, lay again. It makes for a fun meta game of constant risk and reward; laying as fast as you can to make a tower, seeing if you can make a successful ascent before your eggy column shatters beneath you.

This fast platforming is mixed in with a fairly middling set of enemies to take on, and an array of environmental puzzles to solve. Most enemies are dealt with by shoving bombs in their face, or bouncing off their heads. For the most the puzzles involve either flipping a switch, using an egg to weigh a button down, or grabbing a key-card to open a door to progress. Nothing is too surprising here, but it does all come together in a satisfying way which makes for a solid platformer — the consistent way in which bombs are the answer to everything is pulled off with great success.

As you get deeper into Bomb Chicken’s later levels, you’ll find yourself tested by trickier, inventive platforms and a larger number of enemies to deal with. It’s here where things can get a little trying, as I often found myself running out of lives and having to start a level over. Collecting gems is key to gaining more lives, thus making the late game a little less repetitious.

You’ll wrap up playing Bomb Chicken after around 4–6 hours. Overall, it’s a well constructed experience, with lush 2D backdrops, a light-hearted tone, and a solid core gameplay mechanic which offers delight and challenge in equal measure.