Behold the chikkinizer! In a world powered by applied chikkin technologies, the Chikkin Koop Corporation invented this remarkable piece of machinery to combat a potential world wide chikkin shortage. Throw just about any ingredient in this device – cows, camels, zombies – and produce, that’s right, chikkin! You are a lowly employee of the Chikkin Koop Corporation and it is your job to collect these ingredients and deposit them in the machine. Co-workers getting you in a flap? Dump them in too, because they all make mighty good chikkin!
Fluster Cluck is cute twin-stick shooter. Fly your Chikkin Koop Corporation employee around in a little flying saucer, trap cows and camels in your tractor beam and get them into the chikkinizer before another employee shoots you and either steals your ingredient, dumps you in the chikkinizer, or both. The single player experience isn’t particularly attractive. The controls are clunky, slow and awkward and the AI players have annoyingly accurate firepower. I felt weirdly incapable of performing the simplest of manoeuvres. My cows were dropping everywhere and no matter how much I pressed the trigger button, I couldn’t seem to blow up a single co-worker (common problems in everyday life, I find) It was even suggested that maybe I had the controller upside down. I didn’t, but I strongly suspect it would have improved things.
Fluster Cluck is certainly a colourful game. The bright cartoon graphics put me in mind of The Last Tinker, a beautiful game also produced by Loot Entertainment. Unfortunately, though, where The Last Tinker was a gorgeous game clearly made with a lot of love, Fluster Cluck feels cheap and rushed. It’s a massive shame. While the opening cut scenes are humorous and the whole premise has a wickedly twisted sense of humour, gameplay falls very short of expectations. The slow manoeuvring and constant cow-dropping grows very old very very fast. Also extremely peculiar, I often seemed to run out of ingredients. Not a camel in sight! The only thing left to concentrate on was shooting the AIs and dragging them into the chikkinizer, but this soon proved to be an arduous task. It’s impossible to tell if your shots are hitting the spot, and the AIs either zoom off leaving you trundling awkwardly in their wake or they’ll blast you at point blank range and dump you straight in chikkinizer, no ketchup required.
The single player battle mode is almost identical to the campaign mode in its eventual tedium, but I’m convinced the fun is to be found in the local multiplayer experience. Get four very young children together, with no AI and plenty of sugary drinks and there’s some giggles to be had. The awkward controls are no longer an issue when all players have the same handicap. Wobble around that battleground and drop as many cows as you like. Despite the hilariously rude title and the fact that you’re dropping live animals into a machine and turning them into another live animal, Fluster Cluck seems to be aimed more at rugrats than us big people. It’s cute, bright and silly with no gore, violence or bad language. Perfect for small ones who don’t mind a bit of repetition.
With Fluster Cluck hampered by so many control and AI problems, the game can be difficult and progression frustrating. There is a severe lack of variety throughout the levels and having to repeat them becomes a slow grind. Multiplayer is the game’s saving Grace, and then perhaps only if you’re six years old. With so many exceptional indie games now on the PS4, developers really need to hit us with their best. Fluster Cluck, unfortunately, is a bit of a turkey.
What could have been an awesome little game, is tainted by lacklustre controls and an absence of variety. Uninteresting and awkward gameplay and a battleground that is often empty of anything to do except shoot at an AI that seems impossible to hit, this game is going straight in the chikkinizer. Six-piece bargain bucket, please.
S J Hollis Rating 4/10