Review: Fluster Cluck‏ (PS4)

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Title: Fluster Cluck‏
Format: PlayStation Network Download (558 MB)
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Sony DADC New Media Solutions
Developer: LOOT Entertainment
Original MSRP: $14.99/$8.99 for PlayStation Plus
ESRB Rating: E
Fluster Cluck is exclusive to PlayStation 4.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Gameplay:
In Fluster Cluck you pilot flying saucers around picking up things and turning them into chikkins (yup, that’s how it’s spelled) while avoiding the other players. On the surface this sounds like fun, heck how could it not be fun with a title like FlusterCluck?

The game is trying to bring a great couch multiplayer experience to current gen systems. The problem with that idea is that there are already a lot of fun couch games on the PS4, games like Towerfall Ascension, Sportsfriends, Octodad, Fibbage, and Cel Damage HD to name a few, and to stand out you need to have some great gameplay.

Fluster Cluck - Desert Nights

The game has a single player mode where it’s you against three bots and a multiplayer mode of up to four players where it’s either free-for-all or team matches. As you progress through the game you unlock new environments, equipment, flying saucers, characters, and weapons. 

A basic game of Fluster Cluck is comprised of you piloting your flying saucer over to various objects on the map such as camels, cows, other player’s dead bodies, etc. and activating the tractor beam. You then drop off your cargo at the processing center that turns them into chikkins. Why chikkins? Why not? Maybe it’s because everything tastes like chicken or maybe it’s because the developers are big fans of Chick-fil-A’s commercials.

As you are flying to or from your cargo drops you can shoot your guns or special weapons at another player. If you manage to either kill one of your opponents or come across their dead body, you can carry their corpse to the processing center and get extra points.

Sounds like fun right? Well you would be wrong on that assumption. Fluster Cluck is a boring game to play that’s extremely complicated for casual gamers and too simplistic/boring for regular gamers.

Fluster Cluck - Four Players Alpine Stage

First, it’s a twin stick shooter, which can be slightly difficult for casual gamers to get used to. Next, the controls are overly complicated. How do you activate/deactivate your tractor beam? Just flying over an object should be sufficient for it to activate. Not that there is anything wrong with more complicated control schemes. Most couch multiplayer party games are more simplistic so that a greater number of people can play.

Since you need to keep track of not only your flying saucer, but also other people and objects that you are trying to collect to turn into chikkins, the camera is zoomed out to give you the greatest view. Unfortunately this makes it hard to know where you are on the screen. In my playing I was constantly dying because I was trying to help out other people with where they were.

For the more dedicated gamer this game also fails to deliver a reason to continue playing it. There are no deep strategies or combos to be found. It’s just a really boring game, especially given that there are currently a lot of couch multiplayer games out there in the form of both the PSN and PS4 disc-based games.

While playing this I was waiting for something fun to happen and it never did. There are special weapons that you can fire but no cool level interactions that forced me to change how I played. There just was nothing to keep me playing the game other than this review.

Fluster Cluck - Four Player Desert Action

Visuals:
The visuals are reminiscent of a PS2 game. The flying saucers that you control all look the same with minor tweaks. This makes it difficult to target not only yourself but also whoever is in the lead at the moment.

While there are several characters to choose from, they don’t really stand out as all that different. Games like this really need to stand out visually in order to draw people in. While I am not saying it needs to look like Shadow of Mordor, it is missing that hook to get casual players interested.

The shots fired from the flying saucers do look really good and have a glow to them that is really nice. It’s just a shame that the rest of the game didn’t follow through with that standard.

The backgrounds are plain and unimaginative and have little going on. It’s everything you don’t want in a party multiplayer game. It’s difficult to pick out which alien is yours when doing four player split-screen due to the need to have the camera pulled so far back so you can also see the things that you need to pick up to turn into chikkins.

Games like Towerfall Ascension get past this problem by having all of the action stay on one screen whereas games like Cell Damage HD are more zoomed in on your vehicle because you don’t need to pick things up other than powerups or health.

Fluster Cluck - Single Player Desert Stage

Audio:
The one place where this game is good is the audio. Besides the chikkin sounds, the game does a good job of using the speakers in the controllers. Other than that it is just ho-hum.

Imagine listening to the Great Gonzo and his chickens for an extended amount of time.  At first it’s really cool and funny hearing those clucks, then it quickly gets old.

Online/Multiplayer:
While the game aims to bring back couch multiplayer, all it did was drive people from my living room. Both the Free for All and Team modes played too similarly with my group of friends. Shoot each other and then harvest their bodies for extra points. 

If you do play this with four people I would highly recommend that you have a 60″+ TV, otherwise it’s really hard to tell what’s happening on your square of the screen. Things you unlock in single player can be accessed in multiplayer, which is nice.

It would have been nice if there were a lot of different types of gameplay modes to hold people’s attention. A keep away mode would have been interesting, pitting a stronger player against more casual gamers for example.

Even games with limited modes like Towerfall Ascension at least let you switch things up so that casual gamers can stay in the game longer. You can switch from most kills to last person alive.

Fluster Cluck - 4 Player Castle Stage

Conclusion:
As I have mentioned in other reviews, I have a group of friends that get together to have game night once a month. When we got together to play Fluster Cluck it did not last in our gaming rotation and I had to force people to continue to play it.

It’s too complicated for casual gamers to and too simple for more dedicated gamers. The most damning thing about it is that it’s just not fun to play. It tries to bring a good couch multiplayer experience to the PS4, but the problem is that there are a lot of better alternatives out there right now.

Score:
4.5

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

Written by Damon Bullis

Damon Bullis

I’m a gamer from back in the days of Telstar Arcade, Atari 2600, and Intellivision. I currently have a PS4, PS3x2, Vita, PSP, Xbox One, 360, Wii U, Wii, and a N64.

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  • London Rhodes

    I don’t care if it did get a 4.5. I want this game based on it’s name alone lmao.