IGN Review of Disney's Chicken Little
We here at IGN have the liberty of sifting through the garbage bin of licensed products on a yearly basis, covering the bad, really bad and hilariously bad in all their glorious splendor. It is a rare occasion, however, when the crap-factory of legally addictive children's crack pushes out a golden nugget instead of yet another uninspired turd. Ladies and gents, Chicken Little is your golden nugget, and while it may not be perfect it manages to combine impressive platforming, entertaining mini-games and an overall product that is actually worth the younglings' time.
Created by A2M, the same developer responsible for the mediocre and flawed Teen Titans GBA, Chicken Little manages to shock and entertain from beginning to end. The game is based on the Disney movie that released last October, and though it may be bound by the shackles of a movie license it still offers great entertainment at the expense of only a few nagging flaws. From the get go, Chicken Little looks, sounds, and feels like the movie production. Cut scenes are done with portraits of characters, and the overall feel is exactly how it should be. The menus are a bit of a hassle at times, offering a map interface to select levels rather than making the game linear. Though navigation is relatively easy, this kids' game could have used a more basic approach for easy navigation.
It wasn't until we got into the main gameplay that we realized just how impressive this game truly was. It by no means is perfect, though it manages to present a full and entertaining experience rather than simply shoving a licensed bug-fest onto the shelves and into homes. The game features three main modes of play including classic side-scrolling, perspective view racing (much like Racing Gears Advanced or RC Pro Am) and a dodge ball game that is suspiciously like the Atlus classic. The platforming sections make up the bulk of the game and offer 8-direction attacking with a yo-yo, as well as the ability to turn into a buffer version of the little chicken to break through walls and solve puzzles or deal a ton of damage to enemies. The environment manages to feel alive, and everything from garbage cans to street lamps can be interacted with to solve puzzles or find collectables.
Unfortunately, the addition of extra modes seldom helps as much as intended, and Chicken Little suffers a bit due to the attempt at an "all-in-one" licensed product. It simply wasn't needed, and the attempt to further the value of the product actually backfires in the end due to the poor execution of the added modes. Dodge ball is fairly entertaining, though it isn't as deep as the Atlus version that players have come to love over the years. It is set up the same, and controls are correct for the most part, but it just doesn't have enough polish to make it congruent with the side-scrolling portion of the game.
The driving game is nothing shy of terrible, offering little to further the game as a whole. This portion specifically feels very rushed, and players will face nothing but frustration and boredom while playing though the terribly animated, uninspired gameplay that seems to drag on forever. It simply should have been cut from the product in the end, and the addition of the driving mini-games only stands to hurt the final package. Luckily, these mini-games don't come up as much as the above average platforming, and the main story mode is still very enjoyable despite them.
Graphical and sound presentation managed to be another highlight of the game, proving that value can be added through solid design rather than multiple play modes. There is a ton of great animation as well, not only in the characters but also in object interaction. In fact, an animation gallery is actually included from the beginning, so anyone interested can take a look at every piece of animation at their leisure. Planks swing, lights shatter, faucets turn and garbage cans collapse in what has got to be one of the most interactive environments in a licensed game to date. Everything that looks like it should be interactive is, an impressive task for what had to have been a short and demanding development cycle. Sound production is nothing to write home about, though it helps more than hurts. Movie themes and sound effects keep the game felling legit, and that is the most licensed games can hope to achieve in a pre-designed and orchestrated world.
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