The city of Albatropolis lays in ruins at the hands of a fascist penguin regime. Led by the dull-witted Putzki, the penguin regime has run afoul, seeking to create an unstoppable army in order to dominate every winged creature of Albatropolis. A resistance has been slowly building against this feared leader, striking fear into the hearts of many a penguin. Among the ranks of the penguin army there is one name uttered in fear and astonishment- Rocketbird. Taking control of Rocketebird, players will bring about swift justice and remind this penguin regime why they should not take to the sky.
Rocketbirds plot is as ridiculous as it sounds. The is a clear sense of historical commentary within the story-line, however the game does not grow overly concerned with addressing these issues, and instead tries to create a narrative filled with outlandish, and funny characters. The game is aesthetically pleasing, with the enviroments and characters seemingly being from a Saturday morning children’s cartoon. However, a children’s cartoon this is not, as Rocketbird kicks, shoots, and blows up penguins in a rather bloody, and feather-rustling fashion. This is partially what makes the game so pleasing, as it aptly mixes childhood cartonnery with darker undertones, in which older gamers can appreciate.
While the game may be aesthetically pleasing, there is something lacking gameplay-wise. Thanks to experimentation, Rocketbrid has superior strengths and skills, as compared to other birds. However these superior skills, when compared to other adventure games, come off as rather formulaic. Rokcetbird rolls around, jumps, shoots, and tosses grenades, as would any other character in an adventure game. The only difference is, he’s a chicken. The most unique gameplay element comes in the form of these spider like devices, which when set off close to an enemy allows Rocketbird to take control over them. This adds some unique gameplay and puzzle elements, but once again, it is nothing new to the genre. Overall though, Rocketbird handles quite well, with the controls adopting a more classic sidescroller feel to them. This might be a step back for some gamers, as Rocketbird cannot jump and shoot, nor can he aim in any direction but forward, with the exception of a few missions in which you are flying around in a jet pack. While the gameplay may be suited to the overall game, it would have been beneficial to blend old gameplay with newer control elements.
The best aspect of this game lies in the music and sound design. I really liked the underplayed sounds of the guns, as well as the often comedic chirps of the birds and the overdone, maniacal voice acting for some of the penguins. The soundtrack is equally well done, with music from self described “science fiction rock” band New World Revolution. I often found myself bobbing my head to the music, and the soundtracks played during the cinematics, and particular gameplay moments really add to the whole action-hero vibe of the game. It is a great soundtrack that I highly recommend checking out.
Rocketbirds: Harboiled Chicken is a fun, simple, adventure. With some great visuals, and some catchy tunes it is a great way to spend a few hours. If you can look past the outdated controls, and enjoy the scenery, Rocketbirds is a quirky little game in which gamers even in the most fowl (get it) of moods can enjoy.
Overall 7.5 out of 10
*Note: This game is available on PS3, PS Vita and Steam for $9.99. It has also appeared in Humble Indie Bundle 9, which included the soundtrack, so it may appear in a future bundle.*
*Note 2: Sorry for all the puns, I could not help myself*