By Chris Picone, 29 March 2023
Apparently Ultimate Chicken Horse came out 7 years ago but I hadn't even heard of it until last week. So what's the occasion for reviewing a 7 year old game? To celebrate the anniversary, Clever Endeavour released a huge update!
Cartoony. All the characters are a little weird but super cute farm animals. There's a surprising variety in levels, with everything from jungles to mazes to mansions to steel factories to dance parties. The levels are mostly aesthetic but the differing layouts affect the game more than you might expect and some levels, like the metro, are interactive (it has a train that rushes through the level while you play!).
Essentially, the game plays like a platformer where all you need to do is make it all the way to the end of the level to score. What makes this different to every other game out there is that each level is collaboratively built by the players between each round. A party box opens, full of random blocks or traps. Everyone places their piece, then a second box opens and the same is repeated. Whatever strange configuration you end up with, that's what you play on. If the level's too easy (everyone survives), no one gets any points. So while you need to set up the level in such a way that you can actually make it to the end, you also need to set up traps to try to kill off your competitors. Possibly the best feature is that all of the placements occur simultaneously, so you can absolutely mess with each other, deliberately build in death traps or sneaky bypasses, it's really chaotic and fun and no two levels ever play out the same way.
I thought this might be one for kids but I had an absolute ball with it. If you're into party games, this one's a must. It's perfect for battling against your own family or friends in local games but there's also a very active online community. If you already played it back in the day, they've added tons of new characters and levels so it's definitely worth coming back and checking out again.