Bird Game + review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, Switch, PC
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Bryan Tabor
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Bird Game + is one of the more frustrating games I?ve played in awhile — and not just because of what it is, but also because you can see the vast gap between that and what it aspires to be.

See, Bird Game+ is basically an endless runner. True, you play as a bird, and you?re flying through nature, but the gist of the game will be familiar to anyone who?s ever played an endless runner on their phone: you avoid obstacles, and you just try to go forward for as long as you can.

As I said up top, the problems with this are two-fold. First and foremost, it?s not a particularly fun game. The bird feels slow and clunky, and doesn?t move with any of the grace you?d associate with most birds in flight. Getting from one side of the screen is an arduous process, and you constantly feel like you?re fighting with the controls to get the bird to move where you want it to go. It also doesn?t help matters that, despite the nature setting, you?re essentially flying through a tunnel, and anytime you get to the edge of where you?re allowed to fly, you just stop moving in that direction.

In this respect, Bird Game + also isn?t helped much by its camera, which frequently takes the least helpful angles possible, and makes it hard to judge where you are in relation to where the game wants you to go. There are also random boss fights thrown in to shake things up a bit, but the reality is that even in these, you?re fighting as much against the lousy controls as you are your enemies.

The other part of what makes Bird Game + so frustrating is that you can plainly see it aspires to be so much more. It?s an artsy game where you watch as the world is drawn in front of you, and with all the motion — both of the bird and the world around it — it seems like it?s trying to evoke games like Flower. Unfortunately, coupled with the half-baked controls and a lousy camera, the end result feels less like an artistic experience and more like a partially-finished game that doesn?t do what it sets out to do.

In fact, it?s because of the existence of games like Flower or Entwined that Bird Game + goes from merely frustrating to outright disappointing. There?s a template for how this sort of thing could have been done correctly — and more often than not, Bird Game + misses the mark entirely.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Bird Game+ PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: D+