“Some birds are not meant to be caged. Their feathers are too bright.” said Red from The Shawshank Redemption.
He was so right. How many times have I wondered what it would be like to feel the wind beneath my wings and the sun on my face as I flew across the sky without a care in the world. Admittedly, I think this a lot when stuck on the tube or in a traffic jam on the M25. But fear not because now with Bird Game + on Xbox One I can feel all of that and much more. But how does it play?
This is a very simple game where you play as a white bird flying through the air. Bird Game + runs in the third person and is an ‘on rails’ type of game as the landscape of the world travels past, leaving you to negotiate the nippy little bird through obstacles while trying to avoid the creatures intent on killing you on your way. There is no narrative or back story for this little bird. Where is it going? What is its purpose in life? What does it think about the European single market? None of these questions are answered through the short piece of gameplay on offer.
But then sometimes, things don’t need answering.
In Bird Game + you have a number of options available to play. You can tackle the main campaign which takes you through a number of linear levels resulting in a boss fight with some huge bugs or frogs. These stages are quite tricky to navigate at times, as you have to work out where exactly your bird is in this 3D environment. The first boss battle is a bit of a nightmare to be honest… die, repeat, die, repeat, die, before lucking in at the end.
In order to succeed you’ll need to make the most of a small arsenal of moves that are at your disposal, stopping you from being killed. The first – actioned by pressing the X button – makes you fly faster, whilst using the trigger buttons allows you to initiate a barrel roll to the left and right. You can pick up some items and interact with levers to open some doors, as well.
As you travel through the main campaign – which it has to be said, is very short – you will find yourself taking in a healthy number of checkpoints, whilst keeping an eye on a health bar at the bottom of the screen. Navigating your way through safely is all you need to worry about, and that’s about it. Bird Game + is a very simple game, providing a short piece of enjoyment. It is however very cheap.
Bird Game + won’t make you want to whoop in the air with joy, nor will it challenge for any game of the year awards, but I liked it. There are moments when the mechanics don’t feel right and you can’t work out how you’ve been hit by something, but looking past that and it all comes across as alright. The enemies – the bugs, butterflies, spiders, and plant life – come at you with ferocity and you’ll certainly be left dreaming about creepy crawlies long after playing through things. But that said, the pace of the game is very stable and a bit familiar at times; it could certainly do with a nice jolt or change in dynamics every now again.
You can also play through Bird Game + in a special dark mode. I’m not really sure why you’d want to do this, but if you muck about in the settings, the option is there to bring a bit of a visual change. Further still, you also have the option of partaking in the endless mode, which does exactly what you expect it to.
Thankfully then Bird Game + is as cheap as chips – if those chips are brought from a trendy deli in south London run by a man who dips his trendy beard in daisy oil. But it is very good value for money, allowing for a little bit of gaming fun and the collection of some big Gamerscore in the process.
It looks pleasant too, with a nice 3D hand-drawn animation style which is very pleasing to the eye. In fact, it’s quite beautiful at times and I have been left suitably impressed, particularly by the bosses and the overall tone of things. The soundtrack is a nice little addition too – at least to begin with, but very soon it becomes that particular type of earworm where you want to burn your own lobes off.
Bird Game + on Xbox One is a very cheap game that brings just enough fun for a couple of hours. The achievements are easy to get and it’s very nice to look at and a bit different in terms of gameplay. But it does get very samey after a while, and for that reason your attention will be short lived, especially as at times it doesn’t feel as precise as it should be.
But what you will get is that sublime feeling of flying through the air without a care in the world. What could be better, eh?