Dale and Peakot (Full)
If you are going to nab all the fowls off the roost, make sure you leave no man and his chicken behind. Because once said farmer is armed with his shotgun and magic feather, he will team with the unlikely sidekick of a chicken sporting a few head-smacking powers of its own. Lock and load - it's time to take care of the Coyote Clan once and for all in Juicy Beast's action platformer Dale and Peakot.
If you are getting a strange sense of deja vu here, it's not because your synapses grabbing at straws. JIG has looked at this game before, back in December, and found it to be terrific. But I have to disagree, because back then the game was still in its beta phase. Now it's complete and it is terrific. Which means back then it was less than terrific. Or it was terrific and now it's perfect. But it can't be perfect, because that would just unleash a hoard of comments about its imperfections. I need to lie down...
Dale is a farmer, armed with buckshot, a hat and a determination to recover his stolen chickens. Peakot, controlled by a magic feather Dale finds, is a chicken that can stun enemies, make platforms appear, freeze into shields of blocky ice and more. Together they traverse through woodlands, snowscapes, caverns and more to rescue the stolen chickens, fighting coyotes, giant insects and what one assumes to be demented groundhogs. Dale is controlled with the keyboard, while Peakot is directed using the mouse, creating an odd challenge of dexterity... especially when the screen floods with enemies while you have to solve a puzzle.
Analysis: I could wax lyrical, but Dora's review of the beta covers most of the ground. Still, the final game has a lot of changes, and quite possibly more stuff I have missed. Stunned enemies now can't hurt you, infinite spawn zones (sections where enemies keep spawning until you solve a puzzle) are clearly marked, several levels have been overhauled or are brand new; the overall game experience is a lot smoother and perhaps a bit less frustrating. I won't call it easier, but I spent less time shouting at the whole of the final game than I did at the few beta levels I tried.
Dale and Peakot is the kind of game I'd show to people when they want to poo-poo web games or sniff at the idea of Flash as a platform. It looks exceptional, it is well-designed and it clearly has seen a lot of blood, sweat, trial and error. I could nitpick on some things; the combat feels a bit clumsy and one boss fight is just devoid of any pattern recognition when it comes to his raining bombs. But these things are quickly put aside with excellent platforming, fun level design, nice animations and the kind of game that Juicy Beast could sell if it wanted to.