Procedural generation. When in the right hands, it can create an endless sea of possibilities that are fun and engaging with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. It isn’t always done that way though and here lies the problem with Super Chicken Jumper. Some mildly amusing jokes and ideas set up this auto runner dodge em up to be a barrel of fun yet after 10 minutes you’ll be rolling your eyes at its lack of understanding on what makes a game like this fun to play.
Your chicken autoruns but you can still move it left and right on screen. You can jump and after a few levels you’ll unlock the ability to use a weapon. You’ll unlock 8 types of jump to equip over the course of the game and 8 weapons each with their own arc, range and reload cooldown. Choosing the right one from what you’ve unlocked for each area is key because here’s where the rot set in. The procedural generation doesn’t really care about you at all.
Enemies often move in wavelengths but spend a lot of the time taking up two of the three lanes of movement you realistically have. They will be ill timed to trees, snowmen, ice blocks and moon rocks so if you try to move left or right to nip between enemies you’ll often just land on objects instead. You could try to use your weapon to clear them but the reload time for many of the weapons means you can jump one thing, hit another and then just run out of abilities to tackle a third. Of course, moving left and right mid jump can help you survive a bit but the fuzzy collision detection is extremely unreliable to you aren’t ever sure if you are truly clear of an object or not. This makes using the press and hold for longer jumps essential but but also unreliable too as tiny hops lead to death but big jumps don’t line up with the natural object spawn rate. This are even worse in co-op mode where things spawn right in front of you without a chance to move out of the way.
All of this contributes to a feeling that 50% of the time, you simply can’t finish a run through a level. It doesn’t matter about your skill. Just die quickly and restart – then hope you’ve got the skill when a clear path is available. Nowhere does this issue pop up more than in endless mode where the online leaderboard shows less than 10 people on launch have got beyond 10 seconds. Put simply – its just not fun or engaging to play when everything feels out of your hands. This feels more like some loose memes made into a poorly designed autorun game where actually designed levels would have elevated this game hugely over brainless object and enemy spamming. Shame.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Super Chicken Jumper
There is nothing more frustrating than having a game put impossible situations in front of you under the guise of procedural generation.
Some decent jokes.
Bosses are generic but at least play well and relatively fairly.
Procedural generation is woeful.
Fuzzy collision detection doesn't match the visuals.
Sometimes button inputs just aren't registered.
Hops only seem to work half the time.
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