Does this game break away from the pack with it’s fine feathered protagonist, or is it just fowl? Find out after the jump.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a game about a bad ass chicken masquerading as a Rambo stereotype. Hardboiled is taken by the evil penguin regime as a child and raised to be stronger, faster and bigger then any of his fellow fowls and released upon them. Now playing for the good guys after literally seeing the light; he sets out to raise a little hell.
That is the premise going into the game and what carries you through guns a-blazing till the end. It may not sound like the greatest set up but the universe, characters and artwork are the highlight of the game and elevate what would be a mediocre game to a decidedly higher level. In addition to the phenomenal presentation is a great soundtrack provided by NWR (New World Revolution).
The tracks are perfectly timed with some of the flash cut-scenes that appear throughout the game and sometimes just before your really ready to lay the whooping on those penguins. I’m still debating about the voice acting though. Either it’s just bad or on purpose bad to parody action movies. I still can’t figure out which.
Previously only available on the PC the PSN version adds additional levels, a co-op mode, new weapons, new modes and new movies. A side-scrolling action game with a few puzzles is the filling of the delicious artwork pie. There are a few spots where you’ll be searching for key cards or stacking boxes but the puzzles are simple and mostly sidelined by blasting penguins into oblivion.
As Hardboiled you do so by a variety of weapons that, to be honest, were a little disappointing. The shotgun, assault rifle and the pistol are the only weapons that actually fire differently that you receive. You’ll also be given the standard grenades and my favorite of the bunch: brain bugs.
Tossing one of these bad boys lets you take over any penguin it explodes upon. Once in control of your enemy you can blow away others, open doors for your hero and when your done with him have him commit suicide. About the time the brain bugs came in the game I started thinking I knew exactly what to expect from Rocketbirds so they were a pleasant surprise. The weapons can only be aimed straight in the direction your facing and jumping and running felt slightly unresponsive at first. After a little while I no longer noticed but it is enough at first to warrant mention.
Rocketbirds does a good job of breaking up the running and gunning with jetpack battles. Strapping a giant barrel onto your back and blasting into the air to fight helicopter and rocket penguins and destroy zeppelins never got old in the time I played. Once you scrap with the enemy in the air you land on their zeppelin, go inside, and destroy it from the inside out. I always enjoyed these breaks in the action and have gone back and played them a couple times since beating the game to grab some extra trophies.
Speaking of trophies if none of the above manages to catch you trophy hunters out there this PSN game comes with a platinum reward. That’s right netting all the other trophies in the game will hook you up with a shiny new platinum trophy for your collection. The awards themselves are varied enough and fun, without being overwhelming. I managed to get most of them in the four or so hours of playing. Which brings me to my least favorite thing about Rocketbirds.
For the price the single player campaign may be a tad on the short side. However if you have a few friends the fun can go on a little longer. The multiplayer portion features a cast of budgies, Rocketbirds parakeets, called the Half Dirty Dozen. These pint sized birds are fashioned after stereotypes from popular war movies and they are some of my favorite parts of the game. Each one packed has a ton of character packed into their design and I feel they outshine even Hardboiled himself.
The Half Dirty Dozen are sent in as the best of the best to rescue the general’s daughter. They play through the same general levels as single player with slightly different layouts and puzzles. In addition to that the budgies are half the size of our main protagonist and as such you actually stack them on top of each other to reach higher areas.
The top budgie acts as a turret of sorts aiming and firing and the bottom budgie navigates and jumps. Having a second player on top lets you grab higher ledges then you can on your own and the top budgie will pull both of you up. Even though it reuses the assets from the single player campaign I still had a blast playing through this mode and was glad that Ratloop Asia added it for the Playstation iteration.
In the end it was a difficult decision on the score to give this game. The mechanics of the game, while done decently, would make another game mediocre. However the greatest draw here is the fantastic personality that Ratloop Asia have infused into ever square inch of this experience and especially into the addition of the Half Dirty Dozen. Anyone who enjoys a good action romp could do far far worse then this game which was triple nominated at the 2010 Independent Games Festival. I think I see why.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.