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Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken Review (PSN)

Game Review: Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken (PSN)
Release: October 18, 2011
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Ratloop
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3
Players: 1-2
MSRP: $11.99
ESRB Rating: Mature
Featuring improved visuals, additional levels, and plenty of other new features, Hardboiled Chicken is a port of the PC release of Rocketbirds. Part platformer, part adventure puzzler, with a few dual-joystick segments thrown in to boot, Hardboiled is a solid PSN release held back by a few minor issues. Despite these snags, its still a great throwback to classic adventure platformers.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken isn’t exactly Braid, and that’s a good thing. The game has a paper-thin story, but that’s not really the point. The point of the game is running and gunning through hordes and hordes of Imperialistic Penguins. Rocketbird himself has old, mysterious ties to the Penguin Empire and its top enforcer. The plot unfolds through quirky animated segments that separate the levels, and there’s never really a dull moment. Hardboiled is a tightly-paced title that moves you from beginning to end in a fairly compelling manner.
The game play is traditional left to right platforming/exploration and progression. As mentioned earlier, there are hints of the Oddworld series, as well as titles like Prince of Persia and Flashback. Three jet pack segments break up the action, and transition the game into almost a dual-joystick shooter. I say almost because really you’re firing in whatever direction you’re pointed. So really, these segments become about your jet’s thrust, and timing your button taps so that you’re lining up with enemies as they go flying by. Light puzzle mechanics enter into the game in the manner of brain-bugs that allow you to possess out of reach Penguins. Taking them over allows you to unlock doors, line up crates, or just mow down the poor guy’s cohorts.
The animation of the characters and the highly-polished nature of the world is easily Rocketbirds highest quality. Put simply, the game just looks pretty. Add to that tight controls and fun run and gun game play, and the game makes for an easy sell at twelve dollars. While the story may be almost non-existent, there’s a great tone to Rocketbirds. It’s one of the few games that is actually funny. Considering how hard humor is to get right in games, this is no small feat. And, without meaning to mention this last, the soundtrack is just as odd and quirky as the game itself. While you may not think so at first, the two make for a perfect fit.
There’s lots to like with Hardboiled, but it’s not a game without faults. As can be a problem with smaller titles, repetition can become an issue. After the second jet pack sequence, a third felt tacked on and unnecessary. Also, outside of the three main mechanics of run and gun, puzzle solving, and dual joystick segments, nothing else was added or refined to the game. It is what it is, and while no one part overstays it’s welcome within the four to six hours it will take you to complete the game, by the end you’ll be ready to part ways with it.
In the current gaming landscape, the idea of odd is fast becoming an outdated concept. For this reason, in addition to the great experience it provides, Rocketbirds is an easy recommendation. It won’t change the way you look at games, but it’s a great ride you’ll enjoy from start to finish.
+Beautiful presentation and character animation.
+Funny, quirky tone that is rarely seen in gaming these days.
– Short and slightly repetitive in nature.
8 out of 10

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