Standalone WiiWare Review: Chick Chick Boom

It’s a shame that the term “flash game” has become something of an insult because Flash can be useful for trying out game concepts that turn out to be pretty good, with Chick Chick Boom as a case in point. This game started out as a little promo title on the Nintendo website a few years ago and has recently become a fully-fledged (ha ha) WiiWare title featuring a fun core play mechanic and challenging AI for CPU-controlled opponents.

Like most downloadable games your goal is pretty simple: beat your opponent’s team in a set number of rounds by inflicting more damage upon them than they do to you. Rather than your squad of bouncing, rotund chicks duking it out directly with their opposites they use a few different weapon types which are deployed using the rather novel mechanism of completing a little dot-to-dot drawing of them as quickly as possible via movements of your Remote pointer. The more quickly you complete the drawing the more powerful the attack you can execute by clicking a special icon that “orbits” an image of the chosen weapon. “Shoot” the dot, click the button to launch and watch the fun as either a large weighted object, a bomb or a carnivorous plant is inflicted upon your hated foes.

Of course not all your attacks will hit their mark because both sides have defencive actions that can be taken by “drawing” on the playfield via the A button to negate the hazards sent over. A line above your chicks’ heads can stop that falling sofa, a barrier can be made around the bomb before it explodes and a climbing pole will cause the vine-like plant to grow above the heads of chicks so that it starves.

It makes for an interesting dynamic as you take turns sending attacks and then defending against them. Spicing things up a bit are special attacks like lighting storms or level-specific ones like giant sea monsters or UFOs which will pop-up randomly and can only be executed by the player who draws the matching pattern first. Extra activities take the form of shooting kernels off of “Corncobman” as he walks by in the background to get some extra health, or trying to get the pinata in your side of the playfield to get a defencive bonus.

Though the drawing aspects might sound a bit gimmicky the gameplay is actually quite engrossing due to the challenging AI of the computer-controlled opposition. This is definitely a game where you’ll want to play the tutorial and start out against the easiest level of AI difficulty until you get the hang of things as the next two difficulty levels aren’t playing around. Eliminating all five enemy chicks to win a round early isn’t an easy task and you may find yourself opting for simply having the most health when the round ends the majority of the time.

The default game mode sees you playing towards a winning number of rounds as opposed to the typical “best of X” match. The goal can be as simple as winning one round or an epic contest to see who can get six victories under their belt first. The other two games see players trying to get the most wins in a set time limit of varying length or playing with a fixed amount of health against as many opposing teams as you can face down in a sort of “iron man” endurance contest.

If this sounds like a game best played with friends, you’re probably right, though the single player game is pretty fun too. Records are kept of matches with one or two players against a CPU-controlled opponent, though there’s no way of identifying players outside of which of the three unnamed save slots you choose when the game first starts up. You have added play incentive in the form of an additional chick teams to unlock beyond the initial five available, with achievement-style objectives bringing them into play. The teams are really little more than skins, but thanks to some cute character design it’s still fun to try out different ones and unlock the rest.

With two players you can either play on the same team against the CPU or have a one-on-one match with the CPU offering some limited defencive drawing assistance as in the single-player games. Otherwise you’ll be playing against other humans in the normal two-on-two match. Two players on one team means that one player focuses on offence whilst the other does defence – definitely handy when the action gets more frantic.

I would have liked the option to switch teams without backing out through so many menus, but outside of that there’s nothing that sticks out as problematic. Chick Chick Boom is highly polished and offers up the kind of novel control interface I’d expect from a Wii game with the accessibility and “have-a-go” flavour you get with a download title. If you’re looking for something challenging and fun to spend those Wii Shop points on, this is definitely worth your consideration.