I’ve been patiently anticipating Chicken Police: Into the Hive since its announcement last June. I loved 2020’s Chicken Police: Paint it RED, and was hopeful for a continuation. I got an early look at the demo, and it’s a pretty bland taste, but it’s not necessarily indicative of a problem.

I think it’s difficult to build a demo of any narrative-centric game. Usually, these sorts of titles have a slow build with character introductions, and they may not begin any meaty twisting until later in the game. Trying to fit both the context and the hook into a demo without giving away too much of the overall runtime can be difficult, and Chicken Police: Into the Hive isn’t the most impressive attempt.

It doesn’t do anything to sully my excitement for the full story, but it doesn’t really heighten it, either.

I do want to note that, as I played the demo, it was still undergoing some last-minute development, so some things that I note might not be in the experience you play.

Chicken Police: Into the Hive Dialogue Choice
Screenshot by Destructoid

The demo of Chicken Police: Into the Hive kind of skips the initial setup. Sonny Featherland has already been visited by someone and given a case to work on. If you’re told what the case was, it must’ve went by so fast that I initially missed it. I figured it out later on, but we’re missing the motivation. The case is a dangerous and unusual one, so how Sonny was convinced to take it on isn’t really explained here.

Instead, Into the Hive starts with Sonny tracking his partner, Marty MacChicken, down to his apartment, where his wife is throwing his drunken ass out. What led to this isn’t explained, either, but that’s intentional. Sonny even asked him during the demo if he got drunk and was thrown out or if being thrown out was the cause of his getting drunk.

Afterward, it’s to the police station where Marty and Sonny run into their foils, Plato and Moses. Moses was introduced in the Zipp’s Cafe prologue game, but the important details revealed there are covered here. They’re star detectives trying to escape the shadow of the Chicken Police. Obviously, they hate each other, but they’re set up in such a way that it seems like they’ll have to cooperate at some point.

Finally, Monica, the receptionist at the Police Station, makes a reappearance at the shooting range. Something obviously has her frustrated, and she’s venting it with a hand cannon, but she won’t tell the chickens what it is.

Chicken Police: Into the Hive talking about what they don't know.
Screenshot by Destructoid

Then, the chickens set out to the Hive, which is a fenced-off Ghetto at the edge of Clawville where all the insects of the city live. It’s, uh, uncomfortably topical, but I doubt that was intentional.

The Hive was glimpsed in the first Chicken Police title, where Marty and Sonny state their sympathy for the insects, but their stance is more that Clawville is a corrupt, rotting husk to begin with, and this is yet another injustice against its inhabitants.

Oh, right. The case that they’re on. As it turns out, the body of a murdered insect went missing, and they’re trying to find out why. Again, the part where we learn the significance of this is cut from the demo, so it’s a bit confusing.

However, we do get a feel for the (very light) puzzle-solving at this point. There’s also a drunken bird in the Distant Light Bar, where you can play a pretty amusing minigame against. Finally, you meet the Spider Queen, who apparently rules over the Hive. That’s it. The demo ends there, teasing you with an interrogation event and then snatching it away.

Chicken Police: Into the Hive Cobbler District
Screenshot by Destructoid

As I stated at the hop, this doesn’t suggest anything is amiss with the development of Chicken Police: Into the Hive. It just doesn’t really tell us much. I feel like, by cutting out the introduction and interrogation with the queen, the Wild Gentlemen might have trimmed out what might be needed hooks. Instead, we get a number of character introductions, and that’s about it. We don’t even really get to hear the motivation of the central characters.

That’s not to say the demo doesn’t have any value. If you didn’t partake in Zipp’s Cafe, it’s at least an introduction to the plot and characters of Into the Hive. The excellent photo manipulation is demonstrated to have returned. It’s still great, but I noticed that it seems a bit more out of focus when played in 4K compared to the crispness of the first game. I value that crispness.

An addition since the first game is the ability to play it in color. I prefer the old noir look of black-and-white, but I don’t see a reason to not have the choice to play in color. All the photos they had to take would have probably been in color initially. It even brings its own stylistic touches, as many of the colors have a striking garishness to them. It can be changed with the press of a button, so it’s a good addition.

The mini-game in the bar was fun, as well. You flick peanuts and try to bank them against the glasses to get the other person to drink. Paint it RED had some good diversions between all the dialogue, and that looks like it’s going to be the case here.

Chicken Police: Into the Hive drinking game
Screenshot by Destructoid

I’m going to repeat myself here and say that I’m not less excited to play the full release of Chicken Police: Into the Hive, but I’m also not more excited. It’s a bit of a strange demo the somehow doesn’t really present anything unique to really hook you. At best, it’s reassurance that this will be more Chicken Police. In that case, I’d just recommend playing the first game to see if you’d be into the second.

On the other hand, at least it doesn’t make my anticipation any more unbearable. I can just go back to doing… whatever it is I do.

Zoey Handley

Staff Writer – Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.

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