Bird Game + Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Bryan Tabor

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Release Date: 03/05/2019

Price as of Article: USD $4.99, £4.99 GBP

Game code provided by Ratalaika Games

Story

There isn’t really a story to speak of in Bird Game + so let’s move straight on to the gameplay section of the review.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Bird Game + sees you following an on the path of the rail as you fly through hoops, eat fish, dodge giant insects and fly through tight spaces as a bird.

You will be flying through this colourless world as it unfolds before your very eyes.  Everything looks hand drawn, and as you move closer, they are drawn into existence.

Keep on flying!

The Main mode in bird game + sees you moving through 3  levels and boss encounters. You’ll always be moving forward on a set path with a few secondary routes to take here and there, but for the most part, you will still be moving forward no matter what.

You have a few skills that make your life a little easier along the way, such as an ability to speed up, which help you fly through wind currents.  A barrel roll which can be performed with the L and R bumpers and also an interact ability that can be performed with the A button, this helps you interact with certain objects like doors or picking up bombs or other objects during boss fights.

You move your bird around with the analogue stick, and for the most part, it feels nice, flying through tight spaces or barrel rolling out of the way of approaching projectiles is satisfying.

However, while flying can be enjoyable for a time, there are few issues I have with Bird game +

This is no Feather!

From previous trailers, this looked like a unique flying experience similar to another on the eShop released recently called feather.

However, feather was more of an open world game, while Bird game + is more of a linear experience.   

There is no free roaming to be found here, which is a shame.

This is an on the rails endless runner style experience which of course sees you flying instead of running.

And while there is some enjoyment to be had here its lasting appeal is short lived.

My first issues from the get-go were the background and environmental objects that sometimes were unavoidable to dodge and quickly became annoying fast.

Countless times I’ve flown into mushrooms, crashed into vines and ploughed headfirst into enemies.  

And it’s difficult to judge distances in Bird game + because every enemy or obstacle is transparent it can be challenging to know how close the enemy is to you. I think a more colourful visual style would have helped in this department.

Am no rookie by any means when it comes to flying titles but I did feel as though this game wasn’t clear with its intentions at times and as a result of that I did encounter instances when I crashed straight into objects that I thought I had clearly passed.

Though I do appreciate the unique art style within the game. And the developers have made it really look like its been hand drawn which I do like.  

 I just feel as though the game is hindered a little by its art style, which can become just a little bit of an issue during gameplay.

It’s a dangerous world!

Each level has multiple different types of hazards such as;  huge flowers, rolling logs and vines as well as enemies to avoid such as dragonflies, ladybugs, massive killer snakes to name but a few.

Boss encounter do spice up the action a little bit with their attack patterns.  But its the core experience I felt a bit frustrated with. While there’s a lot of enemy variety and the levels have a lot of obstacles to overcome the black and white visuals led me to a lot of bumping and crashing into things that I thought I clearly had dodged.

There’s a speed ability in Bird game + which apparently works by pressing the Y button however I never felt any sense of speed while pressing it, and while some of the visual effects are nicely done such as the splashing of water or the wind currents, some details don’t feel as good as others.

Other visual cues that got old fast such as the less than impressive: damage taking, which makes your bird flash and receive a knockback effect.  I also experienced an issue where I was stuck on an obstacle after getting damaged. Even though I had clearly dodged the rotating leaves in my path, I somehow got stuck in limbo and had to hard reset my switch to fix the issue.

However, this only happened once though so I’ve put it down as glitch.

There are also the boss encounters that I mentioned early on, and while they are enjoyable, they suffer from the same issues  I had with the main levels.

An example being the boss snake encounter.  The snake can spit out dragonflies however even though I was using my barrel roll and my so-called speed skill to dodge these projectiles, I found my self still being hit as though my bird was tethered to the ground by an anchor and unable to dodge correctly.

No fly zone!

In Bird game + you don’t feel any sort of freedom while flying it all feel’s pretty mundane. The Colour palette is just too bland and though this was clearly the developers’ intention to create a unique art style it just doesn’t work all that well with a game such as this that requires precision flying.

I think a more colourful world would have helped alleviate some of bird games + issues.

I find the worst thing here to be that I usually really enjoy endless runners, and with this bird flight experience, I thought I would have been invested from the get-go.

However the game just isn’t very exciting sadly, minus some nice visual touches and the unique art style is excellent but leaves the core gameplay lacking

Endless…

There is even an endless mode for people who enjoy endless runners.  Here you’ll fly towards the horizon with obstacles and enemies appearing.

You can also increase your score by collecting tiny black diamonds that are scattered across each level.  

After a few minutes of flying, you’ll end up fighting one of the few boss encounters. At which point, you will continue on your never-ending story/run.

Leaderboards!

For people who enjoy comparing their score with others, there are online leaderboards that can be accessed from the main menu.  Here you can view top scores for all levels plus endless mode scores.

There also a few extra challenges in Bird Game +. There are 8 challenges to complete, and a few secrets to discover during the main and endless modes.

It’s a nice inclusion, but it’s nothing that I personally think will keep people invested for too long a time, but they’re here nonetheless.

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Audio

Audio in bird game + is peaceful and tranquil with soft notes and tones.

It nice to listen to while flying

Visuals & Performance

Visuals in bird game + are rather unique looking, with a noir style black & white palette that surrounds the whole game which looks nice and each object and enemy is hand drawn making them look as though they’ve been pulled straight from a storybook.

Performance has been ok apart from a few glitches such as getting stuck on obstacles and the previously mentioned issue requiring a hard reset.  Only happened once, and the rest of the time the game ran great.

The game also supports screenshots and video capture.

 

Switches icon!

Switches icon in bird game + shows king frog one of the bosses in the game sitting on a lily pad while our bird character flies towards him. The icon is in black & white too.  It looks little out place on my switches screen as most of my icons are bursting with colour.

Value

Currently, the game is priced at £3.99 while it is on sale on the eShop, its original price is normal £4.99.   Which I can’t complain about too much.

The game has a main mode, endless, online leaderboards, challenges to complete.   

Plus the games on sale at the moment so might be the best time to pick it up if you are interested!

Pros

P

Fly like a bird through challenging levels

P

Endless mode

P

Online leaderboards

P

Cheap.

Cons

P

 

Only 3 levels, boss fights

 

 

P

Visual can get in the way of flying