Chicken Rider is an endless runner with a very odd premise; it’s not entirely clear in-game, but the press release explains that the main character – a polar bear named Smally – is riding on a chicken (the first chicken you’ll be riding is named Rick) in order to fight for the freedom of the animals. No, I realise that doesn’t make sense – but in practice, it doesn’t make much difference why you’re running, who you are or who the chicken is; it’s an endless runner, so the ‘plot’ is almost completely irrelevant.
Despite being a port of an endless runner that previously appeared on mobile, Chicken Rider is reasonably fun, if limited in scope. Being devoid of the microtransactions that seem to permeate – and drain the fun from – mobile games certainly helps, as does the quirky premise. The grindy economy of the mobile game lingers, however, which is unfortunate – power ups and other unlockable items seem incredibly overpriced and will take quite some time to unlock; though it is a fun diversion, the game isn’t compelling enough for you to want to grind for hours to unlock a costume or an extra chicken. Saying this, there are random tasks to grind towards too, which will usually happen with little effort – these do speed up the collection of coins somewhat – thankfully.
There is a wide and varied selection of power ups (yes, that is Viagra in the image above – though this has been changed to ‘Blue Pill’ in the final version of the game), along with costumes and chickens, though – so if you do enjoy the game enough, there’s plenty here to keep you going. In terms of power ups, there are a number of useful items to collect, both in-game and between levels in the item shop – but they’re one-use consumables that tend to have limited effects.
The music – with its prominent banjo – and sound effects do grate after a while, being somewhat repetitive in nature; however, given that you’re unlikely to play Chicken Rider for extended periods of time, this may not be a huge or even particularly noticeable issue.
Chicken Rider isn’t going to win any awards for originality and certainly isn’t a game that’ll be appearing in any game of the year lists – but as a cheap and cheerful diversion, with a reasonable level of graphical sheen and technical competence, you could certainly do a lot worse.
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