Fat Chicken – What We Think:
Animal slaughter is an aspect of our society that we just accept. It’s a business that involves making animals as fat as possible to feed our insatiable human appetites. Fat Chicken by Mighty Rabbit Studios makes animal slaughter surprisingly comfortable in this satirical, but whimsical tower defense game.
Game developers don’t often touch on the subject of animal slaughter, let alone make a game where your main goal is to keep animals alive and well fed to maximize the amount of meat you can accumulate. Fat Chicken does that and puts you in the role of a meat production plant as you manage chickens, cows, and pigs on their way to the slaughterhouse.
Meet your Meat
The game is structured like a standard tower defense game: Livestock will walk along a set path that runs along to the meat processing facility. Once they get there they are then slaughtered and turned into pounds of meat which contributes to your end-level rating and cash that you can use within a level to purchase towers.
While animals are walking along their path, you need to place towers to help keep them alive and plump so that they produce as much meat as possible. At the end of each level, you are rated on a three-star grading system.
The game does a great job incentivizing getting a good star rating and replaying levels because Stars can be used to upgrade the base stats of the game’s Towers.
Don’t You Die On Me (Yet)!
The game has many towers that will just shoot whatever contents they contain at animals as they walk by. Feed and water towers help animals stay well fed and hydrated. Steroid Towers help animals get physically bigger, while antibiotic towers help animals stay healthy if they have to walk through green clouds of bacteria.
There are a number of different towers in the game that you’ll have to place along paths to keep the animals healthy and big. Fail to do so, and things like lack of food or bacteria will kill them before they reach their intended demise. Later, the game will introduce UFOs and protesters, both which can be countered by defensive towers.
Power To The Towers
As mentioned earlier, Towers can be upgraded. Upgrading towers adds more depth and helps make the game feel more rewarding. You’ll be able to upgrade things like how fast a certain tower can shoot or their level of effectiveness. The game also has power-ups that can be more easily acquired by using real world money in the form of micro-transactions. These power-ups are not necessary and help make the game easier, but fortunately this game is not pay to win.
At times the need to place all these different towers can be overwhelming. You’ll have to keep track of what a map will throw at you and, through trial and error, figure out the best places to put certain towers. For example, animals can go long stretches without feed or water. The game requires that you keep animals alive but also adds an extra layer of difficulty because you also have to make the animals as big as possible when they reach the slaughterhouse.
Some Minor Beefs
Fat Chicken is not without some issues; I often felt that the game could have been better balanced. It is quite challenging and you’ll find yourself replaying levels over and over again because a lot of it is just trial and error. Some such experimentation is good, and expected, but when it’s necessary for every level, it can be tiresome because the game feels more rigid and less dynamic.
It also doesn’t help that just getting 1 star out of 3 on a level is more difficult than it needs to be. Allowing just a couple of animals to die can really affect your grade on a level. Forgetting to place a tower somewhere without any money to place any more towers can result in having to restart a level. When it comes to the animals, it’s also difficult to tell when animals are as big as they can get.
Another frustrating aspect of the game is your starting money which I felt was too low and thus limiting. It just makes the start of the level more difficult than the end of the level. Once you get past the hurdle of not being able to afford towers, the game then becomes more laid back and turns into “let’s make these animals as fat as possible and ready for slaughter.”
An Affable Abatoire
It’s not all as grim as it sounds though, for instance the game will often not make the act of feeding animals steroids or antibiotics a big deal, it’s just an established part of the game. It nonchalantly has you doing these things to animals while also providing a cheery, American farm country soundtrack with kid friendly visuals. The art style is purposefully sparse and cartoon-y which helps make the game’s tone more delightful. It’s surprisingly effective in masking the horrible nature in which you have to succeed in this game.
I found Fat Chicken to be a startlingly desensitizing experience. At first I was a little horrified by what I was doing, but then I soon realized that it’s what facilities do every single day to provide us with meat. This game could have been a great marketing tool by a company like Foster Farms, because it does a great job of turning reality into an enjoyable game.
You’re A Strange Animal I’ve Got To Follow
Fat Chicken is a unique tower defense game; it makes the concept of animal slaughter an oddly enjoyable experience because of its presentation. At the moment it has a couple of balancing issues that bring it down, but I’d still recommend it to fans of the genre who are looking for a challenge and thematic twist.