King Of The Hill It’s amazing how something as simple as an amusing character, concept or quirk can transform an average game into a good one. It can’t plaster over all the cracks of lacklustre gameplay for very long, but it does leave a more palatable aftertaste when an otherwise average game gets shelved.
King of the Hill is a fine example of just such an uninspired game brought briefly to life by a lick of surreal hilarity. It’s worth pointing out at this early juncture that King of the Hill isn’t an adaptation of the cartoon – it’s using the title in its more established connotation as a children’s game centred around maintaining the high ground.
Anyway, despite the schoolyard nuance of its name, King of the Hill is anything but a child’s game - it’s an ancient, annual battle fought in the animal kingdom to determine the dominant species. Apparently. And so, you step into the shoes of a dog called Scunnie to fight for his species’ right to rule nature.
Dominance is achieved via a form of unidirectional dodgeball, using chickens instead of balls. Your opponent throws a stream of various sized chickens toward you, and it’s up to you to avoid any of these feathered missiles landing on your head.
Should a chicken attach itself to you, it hangs on tight and your balance becomes more precarious. Should you become too top heavy and fall over, the opposing species wins.
Make it through the short time limit on your feet and the roles are reversed, with you grabbing up chickens and aiming carefully to anticipate your adversaries' movements and land a foul beast upon them.
Pile them up with chickens until they stumble and trip, and the game’s yours. These other species are then unlocked for you to use in future games, though there's essentially no difference between them. As you can see, this is some pretty basic and unrefined gameplay, yet the surreal notion of chuckin’ chickens at rabbits, badgers, bears and cats is delightfully ridiculous enough to coat King of the Hill in an entertaining – if superficial – sheen. Graphically it borrows just enough from cartoon and manga styling to lift these weird characters off the screen, and the expressions on the chickens' faces are utterly priceless.