If you’re not familiar with the Crazy Chicken series, then you’re likely not from Germany, as Moorhuhn, as it is known in its native country, was a cultural phenomenon in the early 2000s. While rooted in obscurity to western audiences — and for good reason since they’re not particularly good games — what began as a simple shooting game on PC that had players blasting chickens with a mouse cursor became a successful gaming mascot that would later star in an animated series, some adventure games, and even a virtual pinball title. While the series’ popularity has waned, nostalgia-filled ports have been coming out on PlayStation 4, with the latest being Crazy Chicken Kart 2, which is yet another bad game, even by 2004 standards.
Thanks to the popularity of Mario Kart, kart racers typically rely on a cast of recognizable characters. The characters in Crazy Chicken Kart 2, however, are the crazy chicken himself, Moorhuhn, a mole named Hank, Pumpkin, who lives up to his name as a pumpkin, Turtle (no, not the one from Entourage), Frog, an even crazier chicken named Lesshuhn, and Snowman. Seeing how I was not raised in Germany, there’s no attachment here, but it is bizarre to see a racer with such generic characters. The frog isn’t even given a name beyond Frog! The lack of creativity is incredible, which makes the success of this series all the more baffling.
Once you’ve picked a character, which is important as there are no classes or difficulties beyond the racer’s stat points, you get to select to play one of the eight tracks or one of the game’s two championship tournaments. There are only a few options to choose from, like the number of opponents and how many laps a race is. To say this is a barebones title is an understatement. It’s surprising considering this is a sequel, making it hard to imagine how little the original Crazy Chicken Kart had to offer.
The courses themselves are rarely intriguing and are mostly comprised of generic environments. Some are based on areas in the Crazy Chicken extended universe, such as the farm where the first game took place and the castle stage, but others are just generic locales such as Winter, Island, Mine, Swamp, and Egypt; all of which are truly masterful level names. Out of the eight tracks, only Factory was interesting, as it was filled with alternate pathways that were tricky to take, and the Castle stage was relatively solid due to how large it was and how it encouraged players to actually look at the map to figure out where they should be going, a rarity in kart racers.
While the dull track designs don’t help matters, it’s the poor racing that really does the game in. There is no sense of speed, which isn’t helped by weird pauses where the game will occasionally stutter, and the drifting ability seems largely useless as it only slows the driver down since most corners can be taken without ever braking or drifting. There are some unimaginative items, such as oil slicks and a shield, but they don’t help spice things up much.
Most races are a total blowout, as long as you didn’t pick one of the slowest characters, especially if a race spans multiple laps. The lack of difficulty options meant I was nearly lapping my opponents by the end of the race and any sense of thrill that came from jockeying for position was gone by the end of the first lap. It’s a laughably easy game that can be finished in less than an hour.
Unless you’re from Germany and looking for a blast of nostalgia or are like me and trying to figure out how the cultural phenomenon of Crazy Chicken makes enough sense to have spawned over 30 games, there is no reason to check out Crazy Chicken Kart 2. It’s a poor racing game that would’ve been blown away by the likes of Crash Team Racing, Double Dash, and other kart racers of its era, let alone the newer releases that it now competes with. Plus, the inexcusable technical issues make it really a wonder how a nearly 20-year-old game can run so poorly on modern hardware.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 3 equates to “Bad.” Due to significant issues, this game feels like a chore to take in.