Chicken Police: Paint it Red Review | Good Cock, Back Cock

Here I am. Clicking away on a keyboard. Thinking about how someone out there thought it was a good idea to make a point-and-click noir game in black and white about buddy cops working a case on New Year's Eve in a city full of anthropomorphic animals that sits under a perpetual rain cloud. And more than that, I'm thinking about how that someone, or team of someones, was so clucking right. Chicken Police: Paint it Read is part visual novel and part adventure game. It tells the story of Sonny and Marty, known formerly throughout Clawville as the Chicken Police. The game starts with Sonny being visited by a client about a private investigation involving blackmail. He brings in Marty for backup, and, sure enough, the chicken-shit soon hits the proverbial fan and a murder mystery is at hand. Chicken Police should not work and there are so many chances for it to stumble or fall flat, but the developers at The Wild Gentleman nail it on almost all fronts.

Chicken Police has a strong enough plotline to make it engaging and fun but, like any visual novel, a large part of its success rests on writing and delivery. Thankfully both are polished and several witty self-aware lines of dialogue made me laugh or smile throughout the game's surprisingly lengthy runtime. Chicken Police's cast of colorful characters, pun intended, are brought to life with full voice acting. All the actors do their animals well but at the core of the game is the chemistry between Sonny and Marty. Their banter and back and forth are what make the ride so enjoyable. And a special mention to the illusive Natasha, who the story revolves around, for being equal parts, dame and damsel in distress. Despite the characters often being caricatures of their gritty detective novel counterparts, the selection of animals used to represent those characters was always fitting.

The story's pacing is a bit slow and while that could have been a deliberate choice to be in-line with older noir films, à la Maltese Falcon, unlike those films, the game is much longer. By the time a movie like Maltese Falcon is hitting its climax, Chicken Police is just getting started. However, there is some player choice involved with pacing as the order of locations visited is in your hands, so that problem can change depending on who's playing and what order they pick. The biggest hurdle for me, and I'm guessing most people who boot up the game, are the characters, with their animal heads and human bodies from shoulder down. I had seen promo material for the game and knew what I was getting myself into before playing, but it still took me a few minutes to get used to it all. Once that hurdle is passed, you can really start to take in the work put into making the character models dynamic and realistic. And it is important to get past it because not doing so would undercut the seriousness of several story beats.

As for when you're in control, most of the gameplay time consists of clicking around the scene to pick up clues and solve simple puzzles. Where your choices really matter are the interrogation scenes. Here you pull up a notebook and choose from a list of questions to ask the subject. The order and timing of those questions will impact how the animal will respond and how you score at the end of the sequence. This isn't as complex as Rockstar's L.A. Noire, but it's not meant to be. And I wouldn't say that you can simply pick any question and tap through the answers, because some coercion is required to get the proper information out, but it's not too difficult to get a 5-star rating either. There are other wildcard gameplay sequences thrown in as well, which I won't spoil, though I will say that the shooting range, which isn't a story required addition and is actually easy to miss if a player doesn't explore thoroughly, was a nice addition and I spent far longer trying to get a perfect score than I would have expected.

If you've watched noir films of old, as I have, then it's easy to see that the presentation in Chicken Police is damn near perfect. From the black and white color palette that's muddled by dust on the lens and film grain to the jazz music that softly plays in the background, it is an authentic noir experience. And this tone is set right from the menu screen and opening cut scene which starts with Sonny driving a vintage car through a rainy city while monologuing. For the true movie buffs, the developers even hid little easter eggs throughout the game, such as film posters hanging in a club that are remade with Clawville's celebrity counterparts, for you to pick up on. As someone who's played a fair share of visual novels, I can attest to Chick Police's polish. Where most visual novels simply show a character cutout during dialogue sequences, The Wild Gentleman goes the extra mile by animating the characters. The motion of Sonny's hand when he reaches into his pocket and the swing of Natasha's tail as she talks is not necessary, but it's a nice touch. 

Chicken Police: Paint it Read is a noir visual novel starring the famous Clawville cock duo, Sonny and Marty and despite having a concept that, on paper, shouldn't work, the game's strong writing and delivery, as well as a striking black and white aesthetic, make this a wonderful homage to classic Noir stories. Players expecting gameplay that's as engaging as its story will be disappointed. However, if you are one who loves a good story or is a fan of The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, or other similar films, then the game is worth definitely picking up. Chicken Police: Paint it Read is out today, November 5, on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. A review code on the Xbox One was provided by the publisher.

Post a Comment