This isn't free--it's something you have to pay for.
Every once in a while, fellow Staffer Patrick Barnett offers review codes of digital eShop games, and for some reason, against all better judgment, I take the bait. That's how I ended up reviewing that vampire-themed "I Spy" game. This week, against all better judgment, I raised my hand to Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D. I am a masochist.
Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D is essentially a light-gun shooter. The problem is that it takes place over a single, panning landscape, which never changes. You have 90 seconds to score as many points as you can by moving around this landscape, shooting bottles, gold coins, Jolly Rogers, shark fins, and yes, crazy chicken pirates. The chicken pirates look like some something out of Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, Pirates), but without the charm or personality. Mainly, these chickens just fly or run past your crosshairs. Shooting them, and virtually everything else onscreen, gives you points. You reload by tapping a "reload" icon on the bottom screen, which actually penalizes your score. The idea here, I assume, is to avoid letting players go hog wild and shoot everything all the time. Strategery!
Doing certain things, like shooting all the gold coins or all the Jolly Rogers, gets you bonus points or more time. Shooting other things a certain way, which really just wastes precious seconds, nets you MORE points… theoretically. There's one event that might take points AWAY. Crazy Chicken Pirates' in-game manual explains all the different events and how to score Big Points. Reading the manual is actually more fun than playing the game.
Your high scores are saved, but there aren't leaderboards or anything. There's a crappy bonus stage you can unlock if you manage to get an amazingly high score in a mere 90 seconds. That's the one unlockable, except it's not accessible at any time—only when you achieve that pie-in-the-sky score. Once your time is up, that's it, folks! Try again. Try the exact same landscape, with the exact same layout, again. Endlessly! It's so much fun!
Except that it's not. The game looks OK, but how could it not? It's a static image with some random chickens animated here and there. The music is serviceable but ultimately forgettable. It's a bad game—that's the bottom line—and you shouldn't spend a dime on it.