Fluster Cluck review for PS4

Platform: PS4
Publisher: LOOT Entertainment
Developer: LOOT Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: No

Of all the trends that have accompanied this new(ish) generation, I have to say that my least favourite is this whole local-only multiplayer thing. Don’t get me wrong, as a child of the ’80s I’m well aware of how much fun it can be to gather a couple of friends on the couch, but at the same time…well, we have online multiplayer now, and even if it’s not something I want all the time (or even most of it), it’s nice to have that option when you don’t have anyone around to play a game with.

Fluster Cluck 4

I bring this up in the context of the cheekily-named Fluster Cluck because, obviously, it’s the latest PS4 game to be willfully ignorant of the wonders of the internet. Like Sportsfriends and Towerfall Ascension before it (along with Nidhogg, judging from the unfortunately empty online lobbies), it’s a multiplayer game that expects you to be at least a little bit popular, with a single-player mode thrown in almost as an afterthought.

Now, I’ll confess right now that I only played Fluster Cluck in single-player, which presumably means I missed out on playing the game as it was meant to be played. I didn’t get to experience the joy of taunting my friends as I shot down their ships and turned them into chickens. I didn’t get to…uh…actually, that chicken thing is about it, come to think of it. Fluster Cluck isn’t what you’d call a deep game.

Which means that even if I didn’t play it as it was intended to be played, I think I still got a pretty good handle on the overall experience. And all I can say from that is…meh.
Fluster Cluck 1Does “meh” sound too negative? It’s not meant to be. Rather, think of it as a indifferent shoulder shrug. By no means is Fluster Cluck a great game, but it’s also not the second-worst PS4 game ever.

It’s definitely pretty shallow, though. It has a bunch of game modes, but there’s not a huge amount of difference between them, since the core mechanic of shooting down your enemies and dragging them to the chicken-making holes never changes. It’s also lacking in the graphics department, with all kinds of garish colors and an overall aesthetic that seems like it’s left over from the ’90s. And strategy? Don’t even think about it — it doesn’t take long to realize that all the action centres around those chicken-making holes, which means that the game quickly devolves into all four spaceships flying in circles shooting around each other, with the winner being whoever is able to spam the shooting buttons the most.

That said, it’s not all bad. For me, at least, the controls seemed to work fairly easily. They, too, may suffer a little from lack of variety, but at the same time, if you’ve ever played a twin-stick shooter in your life, you should find them a breeze to pick up. And honestly, even if there was zero variety and zero strategy, I still found it kind of fun in short bursts. I wouldn’t want to play it over and over again, but I can see how it might be a lot better if you had a group of friends taking turns on the controllers.
Fluster Cluck 3If you don’t have that, though, you can probably look elsewhere. Fluster Cluck may not be awful, but I’m not going to puff it up as something more than it is. Consider it only if you’ve got a captive audience, no internet connection, and some time to kill with friends — and, above all else, don’t expect too much. Get all that, and you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Grade: C+