Sunday, February 11, 2024

Evidently Chickentown

This might be one of my shortest posts ever. Fingers crossed!

As already documented, I only managed to find four demos I wanted to try for this quarter's Next Fest. Two of them I have already posted about. That leaves just two more. (Let me know if I'm going too fast for anyone...)

The first of the remaining pair I tried was Copycat and when I say "tried" I mean it in the most absolutely minimal sense possible. I did technically log in. Steam registered one minute played but I never saw any of the demo. At all.

As I said when I first mentioned Copycat, I was uncomfortable with both the tone and the content of the game but I decided to take a look anyway. That determination lasted as far as the very first screen after the opening credits, which was when I discovered I'd need to use a controller to play the demo.

I could have ignored the warning and tried to muddle through with keyboard and mouse and of course I do have a controller ready and waiting for situations like this but since I'd already found the developers' description of the game confusing and unsettling and the trailer quite disturbing, I was more than happy to have an excuse to abandon the whole thing. 

I'd really only been doing it out of some misplaced sense of duty, anyway. Screw that! I logged back out, uninstalled the demo and immediately felt better about myself, almost as if I'd somehow done something worthwhile. Brain chemistry is weird.

That just left the final demo: Chicken Police: Into The Hive. Here, I was on much safer ground, having played and thoroughly enjoyed the first Chicken Police game. My main concern was whether I'd be able to find anything new to say about it.

I didn't, not really. As far as I played, it's the formula as before. Same characters, same gameplay, same setting. The main difference is you have the option to play in either noirish black and white, as per the original, or in technicolor. Well, color, anyway.

I imagine the sequel starts to develop its own personality when you reach the sub-titular Hive but the forty minutes I spent with the game were all about getting the paperwork done. You don't just walk into The Hive. Okay, you probably do but first you need a permit.

I was completely satisfied with what I saw. As I said, I enjoyed the first game and this seems like nothing more - but much more importantly nothing less - than exactly the same. It's on my wishlist now and I very much look forward to playing the finished game.

The strange thing is... I could do that right now. Or at least I think I think I could. The demo appears to be a first draft of the whole game or, as the title card puts it, "a short, demo version of the full game". 

I don't think I've ever played a demo that was the full game before. I still haven't or at least not all the way through. If I'd wanted to see the whole thing I'd have had to play all the way through in one session because there's no option to Save and no Autosave, either. When you come out of the demo and go back to the Menu, the Continue button is greyed out. If you want to carry on, you have to start over from the beginning.

That was never going to happen, for two very good reasons. Firstly, it took me forty minutes just to get the fricken' permit! Imagine how long it would take to play the whole game! What am I going to do? Leave the game running for however long it takes to finish it? It took me a couple of weeks of playing a session or two most days to finish the first one. Next Fest would be over before I got to the finale.

Secondly, if I'm going to buy the finished version, which I am, why would I want to play through the entire game now, when it's still a "work in progress"? Okay, don't answer that. I realise that's what we all do every time we sign up for an Early Access title...

I don't need a second reason not to complete the demo, anyway. That first one covers all the ground I need. From what I've already seen, I can tell it's going to be an entertaining, amusing and enjoyable game. I'm quite happy to wait until I can play it in comfortable sessions rather than in some kind of jittery, sleep-deprived marathon.

And that concludes my very brief flirtation with the Winter 2024 Next Fest. Except not quite...

Thanks to several positive reviews and a suggestion from Tyler Edwards in the comments, I'm just now downloading Lightyear Frontier. I'm not sure I'll have time to play it before the event comes to an end but if I do you'll no doubt read about it here.

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