Ultimate Chicken Horse PS4 Review

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Clever Endeavour Games  Developer: Clever Endeavour Games

Genre: Platformer/Party Players: 1-4  Age Rating: 3+  

Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One, Switch (date TBA)

Ultimate Chicken Horse might sound like a title that has just been randomly thrown together, and the game itself can actually seem a little like that after a group of players have finished with it, with the gist being that you basically create each level as you play the game. It’s definitely one that can be called a very creative platformer, and is some of the most fun that you can have with a handful of jumping cartoon animals.

If you don’t have any knowledge as to how Ultimate Chicken Horse plays, then I would expect that you’ll be rather intrigued by it all. It can actually be described as a platformer with creation tools, and while this may make it sound like something along the same lines as LittleBigPlanet or Super Mario Maker, the truth of the matter is that the game is actually something entirely different from those two examples. Ultimate Chicken Horse is actually in a category all by itself.

To unlock levels and cosmetic options for the characters, you must find boxes, and it’s even possible for other players to unlock content for you.

Described as a competitive party game by its own developer, the basics go a little like this. Played by up to four players locally or online, the game’s main party mode has each match starting out with rather empty levels, and it’s then up to the group of players to populate these barren places with various platforms and traps, placing them rather strategically or completely randomly depending on whom you may be. However you decide to play the game though, it’s rarely free from some rather entertaining cartoon violence, and this just never gets old. If you feel that things are getting a little out of hand though, various explosives do randomly appear for each player from time to time, allowing you to select one, and then choose some objects that you’d like to blow up and remove entirely from the level. In this way, if someone places an object that makes progress entirely impossible, then it doesn’t mean that the current level in front of you has to remain frustratingly closed off to you.

With all the above said, with players placing objects anywhere and everywhere, as well as the fact that you race to choose said objects from a handful of randomly selected ones on each turn, levels look and feel unique each and every time you play. As the main objective is to reach the goal flag, you want to place your own objects in a manner which doesn’t make it too simple for other players but not impossible for yourself to reach said flag. But with all the players attempting to achieve the same thing, the result can often be some very difficult to conquer levels. The game is always a good laugh because of this, and failing yourself and seeing others fail just adds to the game’s sense of fun and charm. It’s also easy to appreciate someone’s skill if they are able to conquer a death trap of a level and then score themselves a well fought for point.

As a platformer, you are able to do simple jumps, run and jump, as well as jump up and slide down walls. It’s a perfectly fine platform game, and you’ll feel proud of yourself as well as your skills if you are able to reach the goal flag when a stage is full of dangerous traps that have been placed by other players as well as yourself.

As mentioned above, the Ultimate goal is to reach the end of the level, but this in itself isn’t as straightforward as you might expect it to be. The points system that is in place in the game is fantastic, and adds some diversity to each match. You might get to the end of a level for example, but if all the other players reach the goal flag as well, then no one receives any points, with the game deeming the stage too easy for all players, and no points are also awarded if any of the players are unable to reach the end of the stage. Other aspects of the scoring system include receiving extra points for getting to the goal flag first, being awarded points for being the only one that reaches the end of the level, reaching the goal flag with coins that you collected along the way, and if any player/s fall victim to any of the traps you place then you’ll also receive extra points, provided that you are able to get to the end of the stage yourself. If you die but still manage to touch the goal, then you’ll receive extra postmortem points, and you’ll also receive extra points if you are losing and are able to begin making somewhat of a comeback.

The 12 levels are diverse, and many of them already have obstacles in them from the get go, including this moving sphinx in this Egyptian themed level.

The party mode is the very essence of the game, and it’s definitely where many will be spending the majority of their time, but Ultimate Chicken Horse also has a number of other modes to its name. Creative mode is similar to Party mode, although you are able to place absolutely any object you desire from your own inventory. Challenge mode, on the other hand, allows you to play custom levels uploaded by others, competing against the times of others. Finally, we have Freeplay mode, which is basically where you are able to freely create your own level, and then upload it for others to play if you so wish.

If I do have anything to complain about with Ultimate Chicken Horse it’s that there isn’t enough information in the game in regard to the various objects, which means that, at first, it can be quite difficult knowing the behaviour of specific ones; yes, if you let the cursor linger on an object, it will show you how it is used, but some others could do with more instructions. It’s a strange decision for a casual party game, but at least there’s some initial mystery there, and information can also be found online if you look for it.

Ultimate Chicken Horse is a brilliant party game, a fun platformer, and a game which gives you lots of creative options. There’s so much to love here, and it’s one of those games that I could see myself returning to time and time again in order to scratch my party, platforming and creative itches as well as just to randomly see what kind of peril filled stages can be concocted from the hands and brains of others.