Skatebird review for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Glass Bottom Games
Developer: Glass Bottom Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I can?t imagine anyone hating Skatebird. It?s an adorable game about birds who like to skateboard, and they do so in tiny little worlds filled with everyday objects. It?s easily one of the cutest games I?ve played in quite some time.

Unfortunately, while I can?t imagine anyone hating Skatebird, I also can?t imagine anyone liking it all that much, either, for the simple reason that it?s not very fun to play.

It tries, though. Much like the little birds in the game, Skatebird tries so hard to be fun. It gives you decent-sized skateparks to explore, each of them filled with small everyday objects that look huge next to your bird. This means that you skate on pizza boxes and cushions, around pop bottles, and up little, tiny, bird-sized ramps, pulling off ollies and nosegrabs and grinds and all kinds of other tricks as you go.

That?s the idea, at least. In practice, your bird is the weakest skater imaginable, barely able to muster up any speed before it falls off its board and rolls around on the ground waiting for you to reset him. Again, while even that looks adorable beyond words, it?s not the most enjoyable experience. Even at the easiest, most forgiving difficulty level, it?s still impossible to chain together many tricks without wiping out. Couple that with controls that aren?t exactly tight and a camera that doesn?t take sharp turns very well, and you can see where the whole thing falls apart.

I wish it didn?t, though. From a purely aesthetic perspective, Skatebird has so much going for it. Not only does it have delightful visuals (especially as the birds wear ever-more-outlandish costumes), it?s backed by a fantastic lo-fi soundtrack that it?s easy to imagine grooving along to on a skateboard.

But grooving is next-to-impossible in Skatebird. Everything is next to impossible in Skakebird. It?s the sort of game that you?ll want to love — right up until the moment you play it, at which point you?ll just be left saying, ?But it looks so cute!? Ignore the cuteness, focus on the gameplay, and skip this one altogether.

Glass Bottom Games provided us with a Skatebird Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C