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Chicken Police – Paint it RED! review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Handy Games
Developer: The Wild Gentlemen
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

If you’d asked me a couple of years ago whether “film noir, but with animals” was a genre, I would’ve thought you were crazy. Now that I’ve played both Blacksad: Under the Skin and Chicken Police – Paint it RED!…well, I still don’t know if that’s enough to call it a whole genre, but it’s at the very least a subgenre.

And within that subgenre, it’s pretty clear that Chicken Police is the vastly superior of the two games.

To some extent, this can be chalked up to the fact it’s not a broken, buggy mess. Blacksad required patching just to get it to a point where it didn’t crash constantly, and even after that it struggled to do anything without painfully long load times and constant stuttering. Simply by virtue of the fact it runs fairly smoothly, Chicken Police has a leg up on its competition.

More than that, though, Chicken Police is just a well-made game. It’s somewhere between a visual novel and a point and click adventure, as you follow private detective Sonny Featherland and his partner, Marty MacChicken, in a hard-boiled noir that takes them around the city of Clawville, investigating a case and meeting the denizens of that city’s seedy underbelly.

To some extent, the game is kind of like LA Noire, if that game had been populated entirely by anthropomorphized animals. You interrogate suspects, you investigate crime scenes, you carefully build up your case — there’s not as much action (the odd minigame notwithstanding), but the basics are all there.

More importantly, the story is, too. Chicken Police was clearly written by someone who loves Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, because the plot — with its double-crossing dames and no-good hoodlums — is straight out of a hard-boiled mystery novel. It’s supported by some very good voice acting, with everyone involved clearly being a fan of films like The Big Sleep and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Just about the only issue I had with Chicken Police was the initial weirdness of seeing animal heads on human bodies. There’s something incredibly disconcerting about seeing an impala’s head on a woman’s body, or even seeing porcupines in raincoats, but it’s a mark of how well the game is made that it’s not long before you don’t even notice it.

Instead, you notice that this is just a very good game. Chicken Police is an off-kilter approach to a well-worn genre, but it’s so well done that it’s worth playing if you’re any kind of fan of adventure games or visual novels.

Handy Games provided us with a Chicken Police – Paint it RED! Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-