Hardboiled Chicken’s past is shrouded in mystery when the game opens up, leaving you learning all throughout. The cinematic intro has a large, brutish chicken flying across the sky with a gigantic jetpack. Zooming around, he attracts the attention of those below, most of them heavily armed penguin guard-types that menacingly glare up. You know it’s bad when two species of fowl are giving each other the stink eye.
The evil penguin leader Putzki, has taken control of Albatroplis — It is up to Hardboiled Chicken to assassinate Putzki and restore order to the city. Building upon the original browser based title Rocketbirds: Revolution! this pseudo-sequel expands upon the Rocketbirds universe with new characters, missions, puzzles, exclusive music videos, retro cut-scenes and more.
While committing penguin genocide through 15 action packed chapters, Hardboiled will learn the secrets of his mysterious past through the cut-scenes and music videos — with music by the indie band New World Revolutions.
Yes, you read that right, music videos. They’re pretty awesome too – Marcus
Hardboiled begins his adventure crashing into the trees outside a military installation His movements are a little stiff, but he is still agile enough to hang from ledges and roll past his enemies. Rolling is by far the fastest way to traverse through the environments. Each chapter is full of puzzles to solve from the classic, colored key cards to using crates to reach new places.
Did I also mention you get use a jetpack? Not only that, but you get to dogfight…or is it considered birdfights? Whatever the case, while using the jetpack, it feels silky smooth doing circles around the penguins. Some of the hallways have recessed sections that you are able to take cover from enemy fire. The enemies will even forget you are there if you wait long enough; thankfully though since its only in a few places in the game it can’t be abused.
Starting off with only a pistol, Hardboiled must find new weapons throughout the campaign — these range from a shotgun to the powerful M60. With these, you are able to juggle penguins even after death, as they can move from one side of a room to the other while being riddled with bullets. If you choose to get up close and personal, Hardboiled can toss his enemies into the air, leaving them open gunfire. The most unique item in the game are the Brain Bugs. These little buggers, no pun intended, can be used to take control of an enemy to help clear the path by hitting switches or turning him on his own kind. Release the penguin from your control by having him pull a pistol out and scatter his penguin brains all over the place.
Blood spatters along the wall, and the juggling enemies keep changing facial animations while bouncing around and you get a puff of feathers and guts as a visual queue that the birds are dead and you can stop filling them with even more holes.
The environments are all very sharp looking from the forest areas to the secret military base and prison full of cardinal prisoners. The game supports stereoscopic 3D running at 60 frames per second without skipping a beat. The music kicks up when the action on the screen really heats up. Add a touch of comedic dialog to this package, and it has everyone but the kitchen sink.
It’s always a good idea to keep your enemies on one side of you, as being in the center of a crossfire leads to a quick and painful death. Hardboiled is only able to shoot in the same direction as he is facing, so shooting at things above you or at angles is impossible. It’s a basic setup, but never feels like it is outdated due to the well-designed platform areas.
The fun doesn’t end with the single player campaign, as you can grab a friend and run through 10 co-op chapters selecting from a pair from the dirty half-dozen Budgie commando characters. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to rescue the General’s daughter from the clutches of the evil penguin regime. This mode can only be played locally however, which is a shame since playing online would have been a nice option to have. The levels themselves are the same levels from the single player changes, but with changes to go along with the co-op game play. The two budgies are able to jump on each other’s shoulders and be carried around the environments to provide another layer of gunfire. The player on top can even help with reaching higher edges and can face the opposite direction to attack any enemies that come in either directions.
If it were up to me, I wouldn’t spend the time to rescue the General’s daughter, as every time you reach her, she runs off once again leaving players to chase after her. As for the co-op campaign puzzles, they involve using both players to open switches and unlocking doors. It doesn’t sound to hard in practice, but throw in the fact that players are confined to the same screen, and some of the puzzles take some time to complete.
The single-player campaign can be beaten in one or two sittings and the co-op campaign lasts even shorter than that. There are some frustrating moments in the game with a few cheesy deaths that will have you just moments away from throwing that controller at a wall, but with perseverance, Hardboiled will be victorious in the end. Overall it is a solid package for the price of admission and I for one would love to see even more games in the Rocketbird universe, though it begs to question, what came first? The chicken or the egg?Note: Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.