It's not every day that one comes across a game where you control a whole bunch of freshly-hatched chickens. Go! Go! Mile Smile, however, just happens to be one of those games. Developed by Fuuki, a company best known (if one could say such a thing) for the Asura fighting game series and not much else, Go! Go! Mile Smile hearkens back to the maze games of the early 1980s while still bringing something new to the table.
The story of the game involves two chicks named Mile (the first player) and Land (the second player). They are pursuing their dreams of money and love, when they are suddenly approached by a fairy who says that a princess has been kidnapped, and that they will get a great reward if she is rescued. Mile and Land jump at this opportunity, and go through 50-something levels to rescue this fair maiden.
The various levels take place within mazes with a border around them. In these mazes are crystals, enemies, and power-ups. Players move their egg avatar around this border using a joystick. However, the eggs themselves cannot enter the maze; instead, the player must find an opening into the maze. Once they have found that, hitting in the direction of the opening will create a line of chicks that go in the direction the player is pointing. These chicks can then collect crystals needed to beat the level, and power-ups to give the player an advantage. Collecting more crystals in a row yields higher points as the player racks up combos. If an enemy touches this line of chicks or hits it with a projectile, the player loses a life and has to make another line. However, the player can quickly retract their line by hitting the one button of this game. This creates a risk vs. reward set-up of the player either continuing their chain to get a higher combo with a risk of getting hit by an enemy, or playing it safe while possibly getting a lower score. Power-ups to help the players include a rainbow egg that gives the player's line temporary invincibility, a lightning egg that temporarily destroys all enemies on screen, and an egg with a clock on it that gives extra time. Food can also be collected for bonus points.
The game takes place across nine worlds, each consisting of a few levels with their own distinct theme. Each world has its own enemies at first, such as the theme park world having clown enemies, while the feudal Japan world has ninja enemies. By the eighth world, however, the majority of the enemies are reused from earlier worlds. Every other world also has a boss fight which pertains to the theme of that world. These usually involve the player having to make their line hit a number of switches in order to kill the boss, some which can be sometimes incredibly easy, while others are harder than it should be.
The graphics are quite bright and colorful, and perfectly show off the worlds they represent. Some of them also have some really cool background effects such as a giant Koi fish in the feudal Japan world. If there's any major problem with Go! Go! Mile Smile, it's that sometimes the enemy AI can get dumb and start going in certain patterns getting in the way of crystals, and the player may have to suicide themselves in order to weed the enemy out so they can progress through the level, assuming they have any lives left. However, for the most part, the game has a good balance of difficulty, certainly much better than most other arcade games. Go! Go! Kokopolo developer Keith Webb has also said that this game influenced his. Overall, Go! Go! Mile Smile is an interestingly unique title coming from the twilight of the 16-bit era, and is certainly worth checking out for anyone who likes maze games or wants something different.