By: Jeff Cater
The game Fluster Cluck attacks a relatively barren portion of territory on our current consoles: multiplayer games that can be done right at home with the people around you. The trick, however, might be getting anyone else to play with you at all. Lead your coop to victory, in your UFO, and try to keep your feathers on.
Ugh, what a mess. Button presses register spot on, but the analog stick controls feel sluggish and don’t do well at providing any feel of accuracy or true control over your “chikkin.” This would be completely fine playing strictly against other players with the same disadvantage, but the AI “chikkins” don’t seem to have any problem locking onto you and tracking you mercilessly until you’re a crispy order.
While the visuals are bright and vividly colored, the textures are quick to hurt the eyes. As you can see in the screenshot, the ground texture is looking like the Hulk’s back more than anything. The frame rate is just fine, as the engine isn’t pushing anything too technical. Everything from the low-poly environment to the low-poly characters feel like they could have been sharper or more vibrant; nothing feels as “charming” as I believe to be intended. The ship design and character animation is fun and lively, though, and the particle effects aren’t terrible. It’s just that they’re nothing we haven’t seen before, and definitely nothing we haven’t seen done better.
Playing Fluster Cluck is like trying to eat soup with a fork; sure, you’ll get some decent bits, but you’re largely missing out on what makes it soup. First off, the two gameplay modes available are pretty much identical. For a mode labeled “Co-op”, which is ripe for “coop” jokes, it shouldn’t be so easy for me to kill my partner.
This singlehandedly made playing this game with a friend a confusing pain. Trying to then explain to him that we need to kidnap the cows in order to save the “chikkins,” while accidentally fighting one another as we are both taken apart by the ruthless AI, leaves a lot to be desired in the “fun” zone.
You’re basically in a race against the match clock and your opponent, who is likely having an equally confusing time, to grab as many cows as you can to take them back to your “chikkinator.” The more cows, the better off your coop I suppose.
This is all well and good, but the gunplay being added in make it more of a chore to do anything except race towards a cow, snatch said cow, and try to make it back to base. By not shooting, you are likely to do better and achieve a higher score, as not as much time is wasted with flailing sprays of whatever weapon you’ve chosen to *maybe* use.
Fluster Cluck isn’t a sad attempt, it’s actually a very good stab in the direction of highly accessible and fast-paced couch co-op, but it just feels like the game didn’t quite come together as intended. I’d love for a version of this to hit the market with refined controls and more peripheral modes of play, but the game in its current state is difficult to recommend to anyone.