chick chick BOOM – WiiWare review

Some very angry birds have appeared on the Wii, but they’re not the iVariety many of us have sent flying into a porcine stronghold.  Originally appearing as a flash game in 2007, chick chick BOOM was released for WiiWare in the US on December 27, 2010. It is a turn-based artillery title along the lines of Worms or Scorched Earth, supports 1 – 4 players, and is available for 800 Wii Points.

After putting the single player and multiplayer modes through their paces, I can report that chick chick BOOM is more than just a clever name with cute characters and a snappy presentation (though it is all of those things, too). I found it to be an entertaining diversion and if you like to get together with friends for multiplayer warfare, this is one WiiWare title you should consider checking out.

I think the best way to describe chick chick BOOM is as a simplified, more fast-paced version of Worms. Having tried Worms in the past but feeling a little overwhelmed by all the large maps and vast assortment of weapons, I was relieved to find that the learning curve of chick chick BOOM is very gentle. The interactive tutorial mode competently and enjoyably walks you through the three main weapons, the special attacks that can appear on each of the three maps, weapon upgrades, helpful items that appear sporadically during gameplay, and some basic offensive and defensive strategy. After completing the quick tutorial, you’ll be eager to jump headfirst into the game.

This game does use the pointer of the Wii remote for all menu selections and regular play, so you’ll want to make sure your sensor bar hasn’t fallen behind the TV somewhere or that it could be easily obscured by various objects or wayward cats, because you’ll need it in your line of sight as the gameplay becomes more chaotic. The game is very responsive to your pointer-based gestures, which will become important when you realize that speed and precision with the pointer is the key to upgrading your weapons, creating an effective defense, and eking out more victories.

To elaborate, the weapon selection system centers around a “connect the dots” pattern that is highly reminiscent of Okami, in that you must successfully draw a shape to activate your weapon. The faster you connect the dots and complete the outline, the more weapon upgrades will be available to you (there are two upgrades per weapon). Focus and a steady hand with the pointer will give you the edge. Again, make absolutely sure that the sensor can detect you from where you’re sitting – it’s very frustrating to be in the middle of drawing a precise line and get lost by the sensor because of some obscure object in the room that’s just barely in the way, or to get squashed by a falling object because the line you tried to draw over your chicks to protect them didn’t get picked up by the sensor.

chick chick BOOM features a time limit mode, a set number of rounds mode, and an “infinite” pro mode, and the goal is always basically the same: Defeat/outlast the enemy chicks by taking turns bombarding them with attacks and protecting your own chicks from harm. The action is fun and fairly hectic at times. This becomes apparent when you find yourself trying to fend off an opponent’s attack while also attempting to derail the attacks of the special weapon of that map (for instance, an octopus in the pirate ship, or the ghosts in the haunted level). You may also be in the middle of setting up your attack, then notice that the map’s special weapon has appeared, drop everything and race your opponent to earn it. It actually can feel a little unfair at times when you’re forced to defend against a long-running special weapon such as the octopus, while also deflecting your opponent who can take his sweet time to attack you at just the most inopportune moment, and also grab all the items while you’re occupied with all those other tasks. Items and upgrades cannot be saved up, unfortunately; they are used as soon as you acquire them.

In single player mode, the game has three difficulty levels – easy, medium, and hard. I never lost a match on easy, but I actually hard to start working for my victories on medium, as the computer got more weapon upgrades and defended more effectively against my attacks as difficulty increased. Single player against the computer was enjoyable, but I thought surely multiplayer with a human would be more challenging. Actually, I found it was harder to go up against a computer because the CPU is just better at somehow drawing perfect defense lines than most humans are. After all, the computer isn’t prone to sensor bar interference, as some humans may be. My friends definitely gave me more of a heated battle over the power-up piñata items, though.

Also, the game has thee maps and three main weapons. Since the tutorial helped me get accustomed to these very quickly, I found myself wishing there were more options to choose from to mix up the gameplay a bit. You can unlock more chicks (which are just aesthetic changes; the different cute hats worn by the chicks do not affect gameplay) by performing tasks such as winning a certain number of rounds or obtaining all three maximum weapon upgrades in one round, but never more weapons, items, or maps. It would’ve been nice to be able to eventually unlock a bigger inventory of items and maps, since some of the weapons feel useless once your enemy learns how to properly defend against them, and the only difference between the maps (aside from their appearance and background music) is the special weapon that appears on them. So the absence of variety may limit the replay value, but the simplicity may also be part of the appeal depending on your personal preferences for these types of games. When two skilled players are going up against each other they can drag out a match for quite a while with a solid defense, so you may find that the only way to inflict significant damage is to wait for a bunch of things to start happening on screen (lightning bolts, special weapons, item appearances, etc) and try to sync your attacks up accordingly so you can benefit from the distraction factor.

Graphics/Music/Sound Effects
With its origins in Flash, chick chick BOOM is appropriately clean and pretty. The menus and overall presentation are superb. I did notice a little in-game slowdown at times when there were action-intensive effects happening all over the screen (such as a wavy effect while weapons were exploding all over), but this was not too common. The music is cute and bouncy, but not overly grating. The sound effects are all the appropriate gun firing sounds, anvils dropping, voltage zapping, etc.

chick chick BOOM is a straightforward, entertaining artillery game that is likely to be best enjoyed with at least 2 friends playing together. If you enjoy having your skills with the Wii remote pointer put to the test, you will enjoy the controls. It’s not Smash Bros. Brawl in terms of depth, content or unlockables, but it isn’t trying to be; it’s an 800 point WiiWare download. If you’ve ever felt Worms ought to be boiled down to something simpler, faster, and cuter, consider giving chick chick BOOM a spin.

Score: 8.9/10

Web developer living in Olympia, WA.