Somewhere out there, a mighty business consultant strides across the land. Brilliant, ruthless, and handsome, he’s the only man who can save the struggling Cock-a-Doodle chicken restaurants. You don’t play as that guy. You play as his inexperienced nephew Danny. But when brilliant Uncle Richie needs someone to impersonate him while he’s recovering from a car crash, you’re it.
You’re the Chicken Mogul! uses the traditional elements of a time management business game. You scurry back and forth between four screens: a restaurant, a farm, a chicken ‘grow house’ on the farm, and corporate headquarters. You’ll hire cooks and servers, upgrade equipment, and switch promotions on and off for maximum profit.
Please talk to the chicken for service.
All this activity advances a typical ‘zero becomes business tycoon hero’ story. The dialogue and plot are a little awkward, and it’s hard to get emotionally invested in a ‘final showdown’ level when failure just pops up a retry button. We would also have liked to see characterization of minor characters like the servers and cooks you’re staring at for the most of the game. That said, the story is entertaining enough to follow to the end, and completing it unlocks two zany bonus levels.
The challenge of the game is building a consistent supply chain from hatchery to grow house to cook and server. If the chickens are flowing steadily, the cash piles up, and it’s easy to complete the level’s objectives. What’s more likely– at least while we were playing– is that the hatcheries will be contaminated, the chickens will be shrinking due to lack of feed in the grow-house, and the servers will be fighting with the customers. (It’s a great advertisement for a career in fast food. It’s also completely unrealistic, because chicken restaurants don’t own chicken farms.)
Straightening out the supply chain is fun. The little tasks added to distract you are not as much fun. You’ll spend a lot of time shaking out chicken feed and discarding waste cooking oil, but the task that drove us mad was constantly adjusting the temperature regulator in the grow house.
Fun fact: Meat comes from slaughtered animals!
Fortunately, the game shop sells items that eliminate the annoying tasks. The game’s premium currency is golden eggs, which can be purchased within the app or earned by completing achievements. We were glad that by playing normally, we completed enough achievements and earned enough eggs to buy a better thermostat and end our temperature control problem forever.
Some of the distractions are more entertaining. An ‘arcade’ opens every Sunday, offering a rotation of gambling minigames. The games are rigged in the player’s favor, and we were able to follow the coin flips and three-card monte shuffles and pick the correct choices. Mastering these minigames is essential to jumpstarting cash flow at higher levels, so go right on down to the ‘arcade’ and gamble the company’s money.
The minigames and tasks can get a little tiresome. Some levels take more than an hour to complete, and the difficulty curve shoots up near the end until you’re likely to repeat levels. It’s frustrating that you can complete the objectives without scoring high enough to unlock the next level, but that creates another opportunity for players to spend eggs to move forward.
When the game is going well, though, time passes quickly. There is a lot of satisfaction in mastering the systems and doing everything just right. If you don’t like time management games, You’re the Chicken Mogul! will not change your opinion, but fans of the genre will have a good time becoming chicken kings.