Format: PS3 (Downloadable)
Developer: Ratloop Asia
Publisher: Ratloop Asia
Perhaps one of the most famous platformer characters in 2D gaming history, once you get past all the plumbers, hedgehogs and other unlikely heroes, has to be Earthworm Jim. His was a game so original, so different, that in 1994 when it came out, the depth of the levels could never be truly represented by the box art.
I wonder how many people passed up on the chance to play such a classic at launch because of a cartoon-like anthropomorphic worm.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is going to suffer a similar fate. Despite having fantastic visuals, interesting gameplay and a platinum trophy (the cheapest new platinum I’ve come across), you play as a chicken taking on an army of what are, effectively, Nazi penguins.
A remake of Rocketbirds Revolution, this PSN release boasts added features including new levels, a co-op mode and 3D support. That last option is quite impressive, giving you a choice of compatible glasses including the red and green that you no doubt have lying around your house somewhere.
The 3D is supported by absolutely perfect graphics which fit the world completely. Even with the 3D off, you can see where it would be most obvious and it works to a certain extent glasses-free. It’s also fair to say that, on top of the great range of colours available, the locales in the game are well made and enjoyable to traverse.
But Rocketbirds is a game that cannot live on graphics alone. A 2D action platformer, like the disappointing Blade Kitten, you’ll be fighting enemies, exploring a little bit, fighting more enemies and reaching the end of the level. There’s enough to collect and do that the £7.19 price tag is a joke, but you’ll have to have the patience to really explore. With that said, you certainly don’t have the freedom of other similar games in the genre. The presentation sometimes leads you to believe you’re playing a game on the scale of Shadow Complex and it’s a let-down when you reach the end of an area.
On top of that, combat can be a hit and miss affair. With an obscene amount of bullets, you’re encouraged to hit the shoot button as fast as possible, with little chance of dodging enemy bullets or making it to cover. This takes away any tactical element to the platforming parts of the game and you end up repeating the same thing over and over again.
But then you come to a “Jetpaction” level, a chance to try out the Rocketbird portion of the title. Flying is good fun and tightly controlled, allowing to really take advantage of enemy heat-seeking missiles and your own weapons. This is where the real fun lies.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a decent game with an interesting story to tell. The animation, both in-game and during cutscenes, is fantastic and is really worth seeing. The gameplay for the most part is enjoyable. It’s a game that’s hard not to like, but ultimately comes as something of a disappointment. The first few levels are brilliant and the later levels do nothing but boost the number of enemies you are against. Well worth a play if you’re interested (or if you’re a trophy hunter), not so if you’re easily bored.