Adding to the burgeoning list of fowl-themed games is Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken, the sequel of sorts to the critically acclaimed Rocketbirds: Revolution! You may have previously heard of the game as one of the finalists at the IGF last year, bragging three nominations under its belt. As we reported early in July, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a PSN-exclusive version of the game, with new features and add-ons that are sure to entice new players to join the flock.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken (PlayStation Network)
Developer: Ratloop Asia
Publisher: Ratloop Asia
Release date: October 11, 2011
While the storyline pretty much remains the same, Hardboiled Chicken is not simply a port of the original. This release offers new characters, missions, weapons, cutscenes, unlockable videos and other brand-new content. By far, the most ambitious update would have to be the co-op mode, where you get to choose from an elite crew of Budgie commandos on a mission to save the General’s daughter. Props to the game for promoting another underrated bird species, I say.
Aside from the visuals, a huge part of what actually makes the game stand out is the music, which was produced by independent electronica band New World Revolution. Self-described as an “alternative space rock group,” their music sets a grittier, darker and more futuristic atmosphere than what you would expect from something involving walking, talking birds.
In fact, some of their tracks released within the game were especially written for it. During the cutscenes, the lyrics of the songs served to highlight the already existing narrative. In a new cinematic, we get a revealing look into Hardboiled’s past such as the story behind his name, which is more literal than you think. We also see how he transitioned from a clumsy, wide-eyed chick to stone-cold Coq of War. The song “Illuminate Me” adds a surprising amount of emotional depth to his story, especially in a scene where Hardboiled decides to turn away from his military operative roots and move towards his quest for personal redemption.
A lot of the enemies you encounter are actually clones of Hardboiled designed by Putzki. Seeing as they’re exactly the same as you, they also are able to roll around, or more annoyingly, hide before you can even shoot at them.
Fortunately, you can collect different weapons that help you in your mass-murdering campaign, such as pistols, uzis, MP5s, shotguns, and grenades. Basically the only things you really need to worry about are your health and ammo levels.
While the controls are fairly simple, there are also many puzzles to amp up the difficulty. Most of them involve moving around crates to reach certain areas, finding keycards for doors and searching for hidden items. There isn’t really anything new about the game in terms of the mechanics. In any case, with all the gameplay elements considered, it felt very gratifying to play — especially when you get to drill bullets into enemy penguins, who will be definitely bouncing up and down from the impact, feathers all aflutter. Clearly, having animated animals isn’t reason enough to cut down on the bloodshed.
While Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken has the premise of an action-film parody, through its art and musical direction, it becomes something more than just a quirky platformer. The music is tailored to the stunning visuals, and the style really sets a memorable tone for the game. Simple and yet elegantly clever, this is surely one of the games I’m looking forward to this October.