Imagine being so over the top obsessed with chickens (of all things) that you’d play Fluster Cluck. Designed with a love for the sort of local co-op, party shenanigans that permeated the time of the Nintendo 64, Fluster Cluck has been fashioned in such a way that it not only absorbs everything that was terrible about the worst of those efforts in the late 90’s, but seemingly manages to do it in a such a way that it makes you regret forking over all that scratch for your shiny PlayStation 4 in the first place.
An arena-based shooter, Fluster Cluck’s mandate is eye-rollingly banal. Simply, you tumble about a variety of boxy arenas while using a UFO of all things to scoop up a variety of objects that you bring back to the “chikkinizer”, in order to turn them into chicken for some big dodgy corporate entity that loves the bird for some reason (sorry, not going to call it ‘chikkin’ anymore; my brain refuses to acknowledge the term without giving me the sort of nausea that could be reliably weaponized).
And that’s it really.
Or, that’s all you’re allowed to know at any rate because the complete lack of any sort tutorial for Fluster Cluck means that you’re basically blind as to the wider gameplay elements that the game might have. In fact, the only times where you actually find out anything about the game is during the loading screens. The loading screens.
The upshot of the lack of tutorial then, is that literally nothing makes sense in the game. From the icons that adorn the side of the screen, to the various power-ups that you collect all the way through to the effectiveness of the various ships that you can choose; (the stats seemingly don’t make a jot of difference either) the player will be absolutely blindsided by stuff that they have no clue about.
Crucially, the complete absence of any sort of notion of how things function, means that you can’t attempt to enact anything remotely resembling a strategy. You see, apparently, there’s a ton of different modifiers that can affect the game at various points, but you’re never made aware of them, thus rendering any potential attempt tactics ineffective without ever telling you why. It’s the equivalent of being thrown in a piranha pool with concrete feet; you’re empirically screwed from the get-go.
Attempt to press on and play the game regardless and other half-baked sloppiness starts to rear it’s ugly head. Take the actual act of trying to destroy other enemies in the area, for example. To do it, you basically have to shoot at them (again, it isn’t made clear how you do this without a lengthy raid of the options screen) but rather than some sort of oomph behind your attacks, you’re instead greeted by little pitter-patter laser blobs that feel about as meaty as a busted water pistol from a $1 sale at Target.
Elsewhere, the controls feel horribly inaccurate and unresponsive, giving the impression of playing a floating tortoise with its legs cut off after being heavily dosed up on Morphine for the better part of a week; it just isn’t enjoyable and playing the game in co-op with a friend will simply ensure two things will happen; first, it doesn’t get any better and second, you lose a friend.
Another massive issue is the presentation, such as it is. The levels are so geometrically basic, lacking in texture detail and sucking in frame-rate that you’d think that you were actually playing a prototype, third-party, first-gen Nintendo 64 game that never got made. There are no stylistic or graphical flourishes or any other visual tricks that make the game stand out, instead Fluster Cluck is as aesthetically barren a game as you’ll likely ever encounter on PlayStation 4.
Every time you run this game your PlayStation 4 weeps. It deserves better.
Really though. if you really like chickens that much, you could just buy a bucket of KFC. At least it might not be so painfully under-cooked and to be honest, choking on a chicken bone of the Colonel’s finest seems like a far more entertaining alternative anyway.
Fluster Cluck was developed and published by Loot Entertainment. This title is currently available on PlayStation 4 for $8.99 ($14.99 for non PlayStation Plus members)
PlayStation 4 review code was kindly supplied by the developer for the purposes of this review.