This game from Ratloop Asia was originally a PC flash title that back in 2010 was nominated at the Independent Games Festival. Now it has been brought over to the console world with some additions and improvements. We managed to get hold of the Playstation Vita version of this fun, bird brained puzzle platformer.
It is your job to find and assassinate the leader of the regimist penguin foes. You must take out the enemy and free Albatropolis from oppressive control. Doing this involves going into Albatropolis and hunting down the enemy commander. From time to time you get a little help from other bird brethren who offer advice, and direction. It is not the most original story out there but its done in a nice way with a fun yet mature theme.
You play as Hardboiled Chicken, one very, very tough piece of poultry! This is one chicken that has flown the coop and has decided that revolution is the answer. The character moves about the screen well and feels quite smooth. Jumping, crouching and shooting are all very easy to get to grips with. Talking of shooting, Mr Hardboiled has a host of delicious weaponry in which to aid his revolutionary ways. Pistols, SMG’s, menacing shotguns, grenades, etc. are available throughout the levels. All of these work fine and help to give your character a hard as nails feel. As the game progresses, you are shown a host of cut scenes between levels depicting the history behind our faithful hero and how he came to be the feathery fighter he now is. I enjoyed these as it helped to give the character depth rather than just being told that this is who you are and this is what you have to do, you now know why you are doing it as well.
The graphics are very clean and crisp. The Vita really helps to show off the fantastic artwork that has been put into this game. The creators have gone for a strong contrasting palette of darker backgrounds with the main character and friends looking brighter giving you a strong focus on where you are at all times. The backgrounds are static yet have a nice level of depth to them that helps give this title a nice quality feel to it all.
The music that accompanies this title is fantastic! When I first turned this on I was half expecting the usual gameplay music that seems to come with so many other titles but not with RocketBirds! They have signed up an indie band called New World Revolution to create some amazing music for this. The opening sequence feels more like a full on music video than a start to a game. Throughout the gameplay more music pops up which works perfectly with the feel and tone of the game. The Vita’s audio capabilities really shows off just how good this soundtrack is. More games should take note!
The tilt function that they have added is an interesting feature. On the PS3 this will be available in stereoscopic 3D but as the Vita isnt 3D they have done something a little different. By tilting the Vita back, forth and side to side, you are able to see slightly different angles of the surrounding area. This is a nice gimmick to begin with but after a while I found it to be a little redundant in some places. I think that it gives the game a deeper sence of depth with a 3D like feel. This works better on some levels than others and when you spend a longer time on one level due to a challenging part of a puzzle it can at times feel a bit disorienting. It’s a nice feature that adds a little to the game and certainly doesn’t take anything away from it.
Puzzles usually involve searching the level for different coloured keys to open doors. As the levels go on, the difficulty increases with more enemies, trickier puzzles that are more complex to figure out and the use of some critters called brain bugs to take control of enemies to your bidding is needed. Some puzzles were more of a challenge than others and a couple of times I did find it an issue as to know just what to do but, after a while with a bit of trial and error experimentation, they did become easier. The key is to remember just what you are able to do and what is around you. The puzzles could do with a little bit more explanation in places. It does feel that sometimes you are dropped in with very little clue as to what to do or where to go. That said, this is a puzzle platformer and you wouldn’t want the puzzles to be too easy, would you? Sometimes putting the Vita down for a while then coming back with a fresh mind was all that was needed to quickly work out what I needed to do.
Gameplay sections are broken up at times with some JetPaction (their phrase not mine… but I like it). Its simple, fun jet pack action which re creates some classic ‘dog fight’ air play. The developers have put a couple of nice little touches into this game and the jet pack levels have one which although may seem small, added to the feel for me. This is the acceleration push from the jetpack. Other games I’ve played using similar physics have just had the acceleration constant but in RocketBirds they have added a nice jolt and then boost feel to it. It might not seem like much but it makes it feel better thought out for me. RocketBirds is full of these nice little touches that really add something fun to the game. Some of these include penguin guards chatting to each other about different things and funny signs littered around the levels, etc. All of this really helps to make this feel like a well thought out game with a team behind it that knew just what kind of audience they were aiming at. A great little bonus is hidden in the options. They have added the concept artwork for a sequel and from playing this title and seeing these pieces of artwork, I’ll be playing for certain.
To top it all off there is also the ability to play co-op with a friend in both online and ad-hoc modes. This will give the game an extra added sence of fun and longevity to RocketBirds as in co-op mode you get to play 10 levels of new puzzles to test your bird brain as well as new combat for you and your friend. New characters are also available just for that added sense of individuality.
Rocket Birds is a fun, enjoyable title that keeps you interested with great graphics, challenging puzzles and a fantastic soundtrack. The Vita helps to show this title off at its best and it is one that I think will find its way into many game collections.
Clucking Good Fun
Images and Game Courtesy of Premier Communications