Cheeky Chooks is a ranch simulation game where you hatch chooks, and make sure they have space and resources necessary to live. It is a very fun game when you play it, but its reliance on rewards for not playing incentivizes you to, well, not play. It has a nice aesthetic, it is easy to play, and is full of chicken facts, a day/night cycle, weather, and a whole list of objectives to keep you busy, but fails to keep you constantly engaged.
The gameplay is quite simple, you buy farming infrastructure, and you incubate eggs until they hatch, and then you wait for them to lay eggs for you to sell. The chooks that you can incubate come in three types; normal, rare, and golden. Normal eggs make regular chooks, while rare and golden eggs affect the overall quality/price of the eggs that you sell. You sell eggs and complete a list of task for each tier your farm is in, and then you upgrade your farm which gives you more space and a larger selection of stuff to buy. It is fun, but you always reach a point where you have to stop and wait for the chooks to lay eggs to progress.
This part of the game, the reliance on not playing to progress, was pretty disappointing because caring for the chooks was a fun experience and I wanted it to continue. I wanted to never leave my ranch, and just continue completing tasks and upgrading my farm. The rewards were great and seeing the happiness meter, a meter that shows how happy your chooks are and affects how quickly they lay eggs, fill up was very satisfying.
While waiting you can also encounter mini-games, such as a pumpkin smash event where you frantically click every pumpkin that appears on the screen and you are rewarded with more money from it. These events were pretty fun the first few times but lost their charm later on, much like the song that plays 24/7.
The only music that Cheeky Chooks has is one song that plays constantly, and for the first five hours I was fine with it, moving my head to the fun melody that was playing, but it got pretty old when I was playing for a very long time. That said, since the game is designed to only be played in short intervals during late-game, this is not a very bad issue.
Cheeky Chooks does a lot of things right despite my distaste for its wait-to-progress system. Its art direction, for example, is very cute and I love the colors. Everything is very delightful to look at, and the overall tone of the game is very happy and it is very relaxing. Cheeky Chooks also has a very nice and simple HUD that is very easy to look at and understand.
Another great thing is that Trilum Studios, the developers of Cheeky Chooks, seems to recognize its design flaws and they are implementing features such as training chooks to be involved in chook races, and are also having themed events, with the most recent one being a Halloween event called The Cluckening which provided more mini-games and new features to keep players engaged and continue to play the game.
Cheeky Chooks has a formulaic problem that stops me from constantly playing it, but the problems are being addressed with added features that make the future of Cheeky Chooks look very bright. I am excited to see how the game improves and I definitely recommend it for anyone who is looking to have a pleasant game they can play in small play sessions. People wanting a longer game with more interaction should look elsewhere.
You can download Cheeky Chooks here!