Game: Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken
Developer: Ratloop Asia
Publisher: Ratloop Asia
Available on: PlayStation Network, Windows PC
Reviewed on: Windows PC
Do you hate it when people call you a “chicken”? Well, Ratloop Asia have developed Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken in a way that, by the end of this review, the meaning of “being a chicken” will be flipped on its head… or beak.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a game about some real angry birds (get it?) that will make you laugh, cry, and spend long minutes in the main menu and in combat just to hear the awesome soundtrack. The game also manages to make chickens look like the most badass creatures on the planet. So let’s break it down and see which one was first, the egg or the chicken?
The story is a simple one. Penguins rule Albatropolis and their uber-evil leader, Putzki, has managed to turn everyone into mindless soldiers that run around like headless chickens if their leader asks them to do so. The main protagonist is Hardboiled Chicken, who’s story and motives will unfold throughout the game, and as the self-appointed hero of Albatropolis, we have to free the flock of this great nation and have a worse impact on the world’s penguin population than global warming. Of course, this includes the elimination of Putzki who won’t be as easy to eliminate as one would (at first) think so.
Visually, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is actually really nice and they help to sell the story by giving the right feel and and theme at all times. Of course, the whole idea was to mimic the communist ideology in the design as well, so most of the levels are going to be either in buildings that resemble some of the buildings from the communist era or, when it comes to the air areas, destroying Hindenburgs driven by (you guessed it) penguins. There’s an option to switch to 3D mode which is a nice addition but, then again, we’re talking about a 2D side-scrolling shoot ’em up. The character animations are nice and have a good feel almost all the time, except when the characters are rolling.
The sound is most definitely the best aspect of the whole game. The general sounds are nice and fitting, with just the right amount of comical effects to them. The cream of the crop is certainly the soundtrack made by New World Revolution as it fits so well that it’s hard to describe without actually experiencing it. A plus point goes to the development team for this, and for the fact that these songs pop up just at the right time, giving you both the “Let’s make them penguins fly!” feeling as well as highlighting the importance of the fights. Unfortunately, the game has some rather serious bugs left in it that makes you do an instant “facepalm” as soon as they appear. For example, at the very first cut scene, there’s no sound in the first few seconds; infuriating.
Chickens can fly! As well as penguins. In this game, they are actually capable of flying which should be only obvious after seeing them using guns, vehicles and other stuff that they shouldn’t be able to. There are about 2-3 sections in the game with a change in the gameplay. Hardboiled Chicken attaches his favourite jet pack and takes to the sky like a true Rocketbird. These sections are nice and fun and give you enough variety that you won’t get bored of the game before finishing it. The normal 2D platformer side of the game is just like all the other 2D platformers, which is satisfactory enough. There’s one thing though that needs to be changed if possible as it doesn’t make sense and only makes things difficult. This one thing is the use of a mouse. While in the 2D platformer sections, you can shoot and switch weapons with the mouse but you cannot aim. So why couldn’t Ratloop Asia just assign a button for shooting and a couple more for swapping weapons? The only place where you have full control of the mouse is when you enter into these flying sections where it works perfectly but, in all honestly, these sections could be done by using only the keyboard too.
There’s one big and general problem with the game. It assumes that you know how to operate it. There’s a huge lack of descriptions in the menus, when acquiring your first new weapon, when finding ourselves a new kind of obstacle… etc. It is full of these. Unfortunately, the fact that the designer made the mouse icon look like a half-egg with some paint on it, doesn’t mean that we understood what options are available for us. Of course, all of these must be way more obvious in the PSN version of the game which might only mean that at least some of these issues are port-related rather than actual bugs in the main game.
VERDICT: Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a good little game. It took us 4.5 hours to complete the single player campaign and the co-op part of the game can take up a few hours of your time, depending on you and your partner’s skill. Due to the lack of players online, this mode is not really the best for those looking for a great online co-op gaming session. Looking past these annoying little issues, the game’s graphics, style and sounds are very nice and enjoyable. There are some ideas that keep you entertained but nothing too special. Of course, you can play with a controller as well but people tend to play on Steam because they want the keyboard & mouse-combo experience, nevertheless, it’s nice to see that the option’s there. Of course, considering the price tag on the game and the great aspects of it, it’s still worth buying for those with the love for 2D side-scrolling shoot ’em ups.