When I first joined IGT I set what I thought was a lofty goal for myself. I had just had come off a Youtube channel swept up in a bot wipe. I told myself I would review every game that I had received a code for to do Let’s Play videos with. I burst through that wall, but there was one game that got left behind. Atooi had Chicken Wiggle Workshop announced for a while. I decided that I would wait for the remaster, and review the game later in 2018. A recent announcement was made that Chicken Wiggle Workshop was being pushed to 2020. I have to come upfront, and say that I have a lot of love for the guys at Atooi. So I want to disclose any potential bias that could show immediately.
Chicken Wiggle, on the surface, looks like a retro throwback platformer, with a stage builder tacked on to it. Appearances can be deceiving, and Chicken Wiggle definitely deceives. The game looks, and feels, like something right off of the Game Boy Advance. As someone who grew up with early era Nintendo DS, it was very nostalgic the first time I played it. It presents itself in a fairly different way than Atooi’s flagship, Mutant Mudds. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be nostalgic, it just feels like a game chose a great art-style.
Level design was tight, easy to understand, and fun. Out of every level in the game, there were only two I disliked. Chicken Wiggle promotes patience and mechanic mastery. Every time I tried to scrape by with speed, I’d die. The game is designed explicitly to have you go through levels as Atooi intended you to. There’s never any room to break the levels in unintended ways.
Chicken Wiggle has a very different set of movement options than a typical platformer. Without any power-ups, you can attack with A, jump with B, and shoot Wiggle out with Y. Wiggle can attach onto specific types of walls. You can stick to a wall you hit above you, or fly at a wall from the side. Wiggle can also stun enemies, or remove protective gear from them. There are a few power-ups, mostly they’re simple upgrades. The stand-outs for me were infinite flight and the ghost power-up.
I rarely ever felt like the game had screwed me over. I always felt completely in control of my character. Very few times did I feel latching screwed me over. There were a few scenarios in the final world where timing was way too tight in my opinion. This includes the final boss itself, which I won’t spoil for you.
Chicken Wiggle’s building system is in-depth. It allows you to do everything that the designers could themselves. However, I found it incredibly hard to break into. I spent a good 4 hours just figuring menus out. The level builder isn’t as good as Mario Maker, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a cash in. UI definitely could’ve been improved, but I can’t nitpick it too much. My favorite part of the editor was a filling tool. As someone who put five hundred hours into Mario Maker on Wii U, I could not appreciate it enough. It’s such a simple concept, but I believe it definitely put Chicken Wiggle’s editor on a higher level than many other indie level editors. I will celebrate that single design choice all the way to Workshop’s release.
All in all, I enjoyed my time with Chicken Wiggle. It was a neat little send-off to the Nindie’s of the Nintendo 3DS. I’m not sure if I would recommend buying it currently. It was definitely a hidden gem of the Nintendo 3DS’s last legs, but it will soon have another chance on the Nintendo Switch. My choice would most definitely be waiting for the Nintendo Switch remaster. However, if you’re the type who enjoys seeing the original version, you cannot go wrong with Chicken Wiggle.
Chicken Wiggle was developed by Atooi
Available on Nintendo 3DS
Available for $14.99
A 3DS review copy was purchased by the reviewer.
supiroguy has awarded Chicken Wiggle the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval