Chickens know issues. It is apparent. They’ve that look of their eye, the marginally disdainful squint of somebody who is aware of what you probably did and why you probably did it. They’d be excellent detectives, if not for the small impediment of their lack of ability to speak in any significant manner. Fortunately, builders The Wild Gents noticed the potential of a poultry P.I. and have introduced us the tremendously-named Hen Police – Paint it RED!, a visible novel with journey recreation parts that places the noble gallus gallus on the very prime of the pecking order.
Happening in a noir-infused world of human-sized animals (not completely not like the hit “depressed horse” Netflix collection Bojack Horseman), this can be a brilliantly-written and joyously wealthy piece of narrative gaming, trafficking in hard-edged detective noir tropes however with a marvellous sense of humour, robust characters and a grand sense of place. It is a very spectacular feat to understand a world like Clawville with solely mostly-static and largely monochromatic imagery, voices and music, however the grime, grime and scuzz has such verisimilitude that you will need to put your Change by way of the dishwasher after a Hen Police session. (Essential: Nintendo Life doesn’t advocate placing your Change by way of the dishwasher)
Taking nominal management of Santino “Sonny” Featherland, it might be spoiler territory to explain the type of case you will be fixing, however relaxation assured you will be encountering cussed dames, a shaky relationship with a former companion, an obstructive chief of police and quite a few sleazy dirtbag informants. It is all very acquainted however delivered so properly that you simply get caught up within the tapestry of all of it, because of the aforementioned robust writing.
And it is robust, compelling fiction from the very begin, enhanced by some genuinely excellent voice performing. We needed to hear to each phrase, and fortunately there’s an autoplay possibility that permits you to take heed to the dialogue play out at its supposed tempo, however this results in a fairly obvious gripe; in most visible novel or text-heavy video games with this type of “speaking head” supply, hitting the A (or equal “advance textual content”) button will skip to the tip of the present dialogue and go away it on the display for the participant to learn at their very own pace.
Right here, although, urgent A skips the at the moment displayed dialogue completely, shifting on to the following portion of the dialog or description. It is a little irritating, particularly if you’re a quick reader, however we suspect that is to encourage the participant to take heed to the dialogue as we’ve got described. There is a replay function in the event you miss a line or two, but it surely skips you to the start of the dialog slightly than simply the earlier step. Absolutely a Danganronpa-style textual content log would have been a extra wise possibility, right here?
Whereas we’re moaning, we discovered that a number of the in-game textual content (on posters and the like, in addition to within the UI) was principally unreadable in handheld mode, being that it was ludicrously small. That is actually choosing nits, although, as a result of you’ll be able to spotlight and choose the textual content along with your cursor to learn it; we really feel prefer it’s rather less immersive this manner, however the performance is there and it is arduous to argue it is any type of significant drawback.
However sufficient complaining – Hen Police is a superb recreation, one that’s tailor-made splendidly for the Change’s handheld mode, working on the locked-down 60fps you’d count on whereas nonetheless retaining impressively atmospheric visuals. You are principally only a cursor, however the interface may be very spectacular – deciding on a personality brings up one thing of a radial menu, however simply requires you to carry the left analogue stick in your chosen course with the intention to provoke your subsequent transfer (inspecting the perp, talking to the perp, or questioning the perp). It is all very intuitive, straightforward to know and melts away into the background as you get wrapped up within the thriller.
As for the problem, there is not quite a bit, but it surely’s all in regards to the story right here. Most of your time is spent hopping across the map, making connections and gathering data, all of that are a pleasure akin to the investigation sections of Ace Lawyer. There is a taking pictures gallery mini-game that is a momentary distraction, however principally it is all about that interpersonal interplay. You’ll interrogate suspects and be graded in your efficiency, however this might theoretically be irritating as it’s totally hardly ever clear what one of the best strategy is. The story will proceed at any charge, however those that want “100% completion”, as nebulous as that idea could be, could also be aggravated by the perceived randomness of those segments. The remainder of us will flow and play as supposed – taking issues slowly and punctiliously, and digging into the state of affairs with uncooked intuition.
The worldbuilding and lore are brilliantly realised, and darker than we anticipated in locations, with overt takes on racism, slavery and outright cannibalism rearing their heads. That is no morality play, nonetheless – these heavy themes match into the Basin Metropolis-esque setting so naturally that they’re going to simply draw you in additional. Regardless of the animal theme, that is very a lot not a recreation for youths. Foul (or ought to that be fowl?) language, nudity and a splash of the claret abound, creating an immersive sense of unease because the case takes form.
An especially spectacular first recreation from The Wild Gents, Hen Police – Paint it RED! is without doubt one of the greatest journey video games we have performed in a protracted, lengthy time and one hell of an absorbing story. It appears to be like and runs nice on the Change, with solely a few actually minuscule interface points that are simply ignored. At roughly eight or 9 hours, the story is surprisingly prolonged for its style, however we have been by no means bored and needed to analyze each little factor simply to wring out extra valuable droplets of banter and fascination. Hen Police is a sophisticated, fascinating expertise and we’re very excited for no matter’s coming subsequent from this crew. It is only a disgrace it is so good, or we may have mentioned it “laid an egg”, and that might have tied in properly with the entire rooster factor. As an alternative, this evaluation is simply going to, properly, finish. Now. That is it. It is completed. No closing rooster joke.