This anti-meat industry horror game was inspired by the death of the dev's pet chicken, and it's basically Abe's Oddysee plus Resident Evil but you're poultry

Finding a strange studio with a giant chicken in it.
(Image credit: QUByte Interactive)

Like Morrissey once said: Meat is murder. I strongly encourage you not to look up anything else he ever said, but the man had a point with that one. Whether you're a devoted vegan or a full-on carnivore, I don't think many would disagree that the meat industry is a bit of a nightmare, and that in general humanity's stewardship of the planet Earth has been—for all the beasts that walk upon it—a bit of a mixed bag.

I doubt anyone understands this better than Jean Lima, the single developer behind Saborus, the horror game in which you play a chicken, the demo for which I just got done playing. Lima was inspired to make the game "precisely because he had a pet chicken and suffered when his beloved pet died," which led to a lot of reflection on "on the daily horror that animals that are part of most people's diet suffer." 

(Image credit: QUByte Interactive)

Think 'Abe's Oddysee but you're poultry' and you're pretty much there. Saborus tasks you with guiding its fowl protagonist out of a slaughterhouse, stealthing past guys, uncovering dark secrets, and platforming your way to freedom. It's the premise, rather than the gameplay, that's most interesting though. 

In my hands-on time with its demo, the factory grew gradually more horrific as I went from a plain-jane factory to a room overflowing with chickens on the chopping block, before eventually ending up in a kind of laboratory where the Saborus corporation was growing giganto-chickens using some kind of spider-parasite.

So, yes, on top of being Abe's Oddysee but you're a chicken, it's also Resident Evil 4 but you're a chicken.

(Image credit: QUByte Interactive)

It's a great premise, and one that's pretty well-executed insofar as the game's oppressive themes and grim aesthetics are concerned, but the actual gameplay could maybe do with some more time in the, ah, oven. Chickens, you see, lack both Leon S Kennedy's bristling armoury of weapons, Abe's ability to hypnotise foes, and the height of both. That means—while the game's platforming sections are simple enough—when you actually have to start hiding from the factory guards, things get frustrating. 

Being so close to the ground means your spatial awareness just isn't quite enough to keep track of where enemies are, and once they catch you, it's over. Try as I did, I couldn't shake pursuers once they'd found me, even as I tried to duck into the hidey-holes scattered around the game's areas. I just ran around like, well, you know what, until I got beat to death with a truncheon. Not quite the Chicken Run experience I was hoping for.

(Image credit: QUByte Interactive)

Still, the premise is great, and I could easily see the game turning into something special with a bit more polish and tweaking. If you want to strike a blow against factory farming, you can follow Saborus over on its Steam page.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.