These days, you can’t throw a stone without hitting an endless-runner type of game, especially when it comes to the marketplaces on Android and iOS mobile phones. However, they also have a solid stake on consoles and PC, with the latest addition being on Chicken Rider on the Nintendo Switch, from developer Red Dev Studio S.A., and published by Ultimate Games S.A. Chicken Rider doesn’t necessarily provide anything new or groundbreaking in the genre of endless-runners. It is good enough to kill some time while you’re on the go, but there are probably plenty of other options available for you to choose from in that regard, especially depending on the platform you’re playing on.
In Chicken Rider, players take control of a polar bear who is fighting for animal liberation. After tripping an alarm at the beginning of the level, the bear hops on the back of a chicken and - you guessed it - rides it towards freedom, jumping over obstacles and avoiding enemies along the way.
The overall premise of the game is pretty straightforward: run through the level, defeat villains, collect power-ups and rewards, and become a chicken hero by making it out alive. Levels include everything from a barnyard, to an Area 51-like desert area, to suburbia, with each villain playing the part, such as a mad scientist farmer, aliens, and a motorized cart-ridin’, beer-guzzlin’, shotgun-totin’, chicken-hatin’ American.
Temporary power-ups include skateboards to go faster, lawnmowers to mow down enemies and obstacles, and magnets that can automatically pull in the coins and seeds that can also be collected throughout the run. Coins can be used for upgrades, one-time use items, and skins for the polar bear and chicken duo. Unfortunately, most of the items are pretty expensive (even with the generous amount of coins available throughout the run), making it less enticing to actually take advantage of any special single-use abilities, such as Resurrection.
The simple audio in Chicken Rider is what you’d expect, but unless you enjoy twangy Bluegrass or a high-pitched Ric Flair-like “Woo” repeating over and over (and over) again when jumping, you’ll be better off playing with the audio muted.
Chicken Rider’s controls are also as simple as you’d expect for an endless-runner, basically just needing to press a single button to jump at the right moment to avoid obstacles. Unfortunately, the responsiveness between pressing the button and actually jumping is surprisingly slow. Often, when pushing the jump button, there would be a slight delay in the actual action, resulting in a collision with an obstacle or villain. The responsiveness of the controls was, in fact, faster on the iOS version of the game than on the Switch. And therein lies the weirdest problem with Chicken Rider.
The game is available as a free-to-play title on PC, Android, and iOS devices, but costs $3.99 on the Nintendo Switch. If you’re out and about with anything other than your Nintendo Switch with five minutes to kill, then sure, Chicken Rider could be a good way of filling that time. However, you, your wallet, and your Switch’s memory card will probably be more satisfied by picking up the free-to-play mobile phone version.
The overall cute and cartoony aesthetics make Chicken Rider enjoyable for a younger crowd who could likely appreciate the game more for what it is, while disregarding its flaws. Ultimately though, you’ve probably already played this game before in some form or fashion, making it one that could probably be missed.
2.5 out of 5 stars
A Switch version of Chicken Rider was provided by Red Dev Studio to TheGamer for this review. The game is available now for the Nintendo Switch, PC, and mobile devices.