Chicken Wiggle, the latest 3DS outing from Jools Watsham’s Atooi Games, is a testament that everyone’s favourite clamshell (or wedged) portable still has some life to live, and that quality games aren’t all moving over to Nintendo Switch. If you’ve played one of Jools games before, like the Metroid-esque Xeodrifter, Mutant Mudds, or its semi-sequel Mutant Mudds Super Challenge (two of my all time favourite 3DS games) you know that he and his small team have perfected playful yet precise pixel art platforming that feels practically perfect for Nintendo’s portables. Like Mutant Mudds, the game puts emphasis on super tight controls and fun, challenging gameplay that is easy to pick up, but doesn’t hold back from kicking your ass if you don’t “git gud”. It’s not quite as heart-rate increasingly hard as Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, but as you progress through the almost 50 included stages, you find yourself getting lulled in to a false sense of “I got this” only to have the masterful level design slap you in the teeth and prove that you still have much to learn, young grasshopper... er... worm....
The levels, which were all designed using the in-game creator tools (all unlocked from the get-go) is a testament to how deep and impressive the Mario Maker-style part of this game can go. It’s inspiring to use creator tools after seeing how a seasoned developer used those same tools to build such a wonderful main game. If the game didn't feature the level creator, it would still be an easy recommendation. However, I look forward to seeing what people create and share with these tools, especially since Mario Maker for 3DS completely dropped the ball in this regard. Who would have guess the House of Mario would be getting schooled by a game featuring an adorable cartoon chicken & worm duo? Even being such a big fan of Atooi’s past games, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical at first, but Jools and co. proved me wrong.
From the first time you get one of the super fun power-ups, to the final boss battle, Chicken Wiggle is a fun time for old school side scroller fans. It’s easier to jump in to than Mutant Mudds, but hard enough to give you a challenge. The hidden FUN tokens and 100 coins per stage will keep completionists coming back for hours upon hours, and the level creator, like I said, should create endless possibilities from the community long after you’re done with the main story. My only gripe is, after defeating the final boss, wishing each world featured a boss. The final boss, again, was a throw back to SNES boss battles. Not too challenging, but I died a few times before I mastered it. I would have loved more of that.
Chicken Wiggle is a great mix of Super Mario World style platforming with the cutest animal duo since Banjo and Kazooi (sorry Yooka Laylee). If you like SNES-style pixel art platformers, there are few developers out there doing it as good as Jools and Atooi. For me, this is the first reason to put down my Switch and charge up my faithful old 3DS since March. I highly recommend doing the same. Even with Mutant Mudds making the move to Switch in the (hopefully) near future, I would suggest grabbing Chicken Wiggle now on 3DS, rather than waiting for a possible Switch release. The game is built for, and shines, on the 3DS hardware, and my couple of weeks with Chicken Wiggle have reminded me that the Switch may be portable, but the 3DS is still much easier to throw in a bag or pocket and take with you anywhere, at any time.
Chicken Wiggle hits the 3DS eShop Thursday, August 17th. Go get it.
Warp Whistle Gaming
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