Bart Bonte's entry into the second Casual Gameplay Design Contest (CGDC #2), Chicken Grow, once again showcases the mosaic-like artwork we have come to love from games such as The Bonte Room, Free the Bird (from CGDC #1), and the recently reviewed Loose the Moose. The game centers around one impatient-looking chicken, waiting for you to feed and water it. Doing so requires you to solve two puzzles—one to turn on the water and the other to release chicken feed from a machine.
Given only a month or so to design and submit Chicken Grow, it is understandably shorter and less complex than most of his prior games. Unfortunately, the trickery and originality that we have seen before from Bart did not carry over into Chicken Grow. The puzzle to unlock the feed machine is just a flash implementation of the famous Klotski puzzle, which requires 81 moves to solve—if you know exactly what you're doing. Someone could easily spend half an hour (or more!) moving those maddening little blocks around before finding the solution. The water puzzle shows more creativity, but is rather short and leaves the player hungry for more.
Despite the weak gameplay, there are things to like about Chicken Grow, such as the artwork and the atmosphere. We're always glad to see games from Bart Bonte, and we hope to see another for our third CDGC coming up.