Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is an outlandish, over-the-top 2D shooter in the very best possible way. It’s exactly the kind of fun palette-cleansing game needed late in the year, when big studios release ambitious marquee games to sometimes mixed reviews despite insane sales numbers. Featuring platforming and puzzle elements, a fitting original soundtrack by New World Revolution, and an impressively polished appearance, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken packs more personality into a single game than most fast food corporations pack mystery parts into processed “chicken patties.”

As the eponymous Hardboiled Chicken, a gritty beast of a bird on a mission to take out the evil Putzki and his militaristic penguin regime, gamers use a cache of firearms and explosives to mow down scores of enemies. The run-and-gun platforming levels provide a satisfying experience, but they also highlight the game’s stiff controls which can be taxing until you get acclimated to them. Once you get used to the shooting and platforming mechanics, Rocketbirds becomes an enjoyable combination of farce and John Woo fantasy.

Breaking up the platforming levels in Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken are some of the most surprisingly smooth flying sequences I’ve played in years. There’s nothing quite as ridiculous and devious as dodging homing missiles launched by penguins with propeller backpacks only to lure the explosives right back into their faces. These levels retain the same high intensity as the game’s grounded sections, as the colonies of penguins can still shoot you down if you don’t go on the offensive quickly. With these particular groups of dangerous gun-toting penguins though, it might be more appropriate to refer to them as a murder… a murder of penguins.

If you enjoy your games filled with loads of action and shotgun-toting chickens oozing 80’s machismo, then you will have an absolute blast playing Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken. This campy action title doesn’t take itself too seriously, adding to the overall charm that draws players in despite a sometimes spotty control scheme. Aside from that minor gripe, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a fun time that shouldn’t be rocketed past on any platform.

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is available now from Ratloop and Reverb Communications Inc. on PC, PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita.  (This review was done for the Steam release of Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken)