Recently two games were released via Nintendo’s handheld online services, Crazy Chicken Pirates and Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D, and, as you’ve probably guessed, they’re very similar to one another. By “very similar”, we actually mean that — with the exception of the additional 3D effect and higher resolution of the 3DS version — they’re exactly the same game. The 3D version is only available in the 3DS eShop; this vanilla release can only be found in the DSiWare shop on DSi.
Crazy Chicken Pirates is an arcade-style gallery shooting game. At the start of each new game, you're given 90 seconds to shoot and score as many points as you possibly can. While the area that you’re shooting in never changes, the chickens that you’re trying to blast come and go as they please. Aside from chickens, you can also shoot gems and coins, which give you a time bonus, and Jolly Rogers that, when all on the map have been shot, allow you to fire one shot from a large cannon. The more objects you shoot, the higher your score will be, and scoring over 1000 points opens up an additional mini-game for you to play which also involves shooting.
That’s really the entire game. You can’t unlock anything else new, and the coins, gems, and Jolly Rogers are all in the same exact spots each time you play, so the only way to get any better at Crazy Chicken Pirates is to get faster. Aiming for a higher score is the only thing to do after you’ve played once, so this is definitely not the type of game for those players who don’t care about being at the top of the local leaderboard.
Crazy Chicken Pirates is played using the DSi’s touch screen and shoulder buttons. While all of the action appears on the top screen, moving your stylus along the DSi’s touch screen causes the crosshair on the top screen to move so that you can aim at your targets. Pressing the left or right shoulder buttons shoots, and reloading is as simple as tapping the Reload button on the bottom screen. The controls are satisfyingly tight, so you should have no problem learning to aim and shoot like a pro.
The big — and only — difference between this and its 3D counterpart is the way it looks. With the 3DS version offering 3D depth on the top screen as well as benefitting from the newer console's increased screen resolution, the non-3D version obviously doesn’t look as good. While the animations are still smooth, and the same graphical style is used in both games, Crazy Chicken Pirates tends to look a bit grainy. While that isn’t enough to ruin the game or make it unplayable, it does make it slightly difficult to differentiate some of the coins and gems that you’re shooting from the stagnant background images. Also worth mentioning, as was stated in our Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D review, is that the soundtrack is entirely forgettable.
Crazy Chicken Pirates is not an awful game, but it’s far from a good one. The gameplay is short, repetitive, and doesn’t offer anything new, but for fans of arcade shooters at low prices, you could do worse. If you own a 3DS then you should probably go with the 3D version for the higher resolution graphics — but keep in mind that, beyond visuals, both releases are exactly the same.