Developed and published by Glass Bottom Games, SkateBIRD is a single player skateboarding game, but with a difference. It is currently available on Windows PC, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. For this review, I will be talking about the Nintendo Switch version, which I was playing in handheld mode.
Think Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater meets Micro Machines but with cute little birds. Here you have tiny birds rolling around on finger skateboards inside a bedroom or different office locations.
The character creation at the beginning is actually quite fun with so many different species of bird to choose from and lots of different accessories to kit out your little feathery friend with.
The story starts when a bunch of birds are trying to help out their “Big Friend” (their human owner) who seems to be feeling a little bit down with their work. They are trying to figure out how to get him to come back home. The writing is good fun and a bit silly with a lot of amusing recurring characters. You are totally free to skate around the map as you wish and when you feel like you want to take on some challenges, you need to talk to other birds who are dotted around the map to get missions to complete. The other birds can be very difficult to locate, there are no hints as to their location so this can sometimes feel like a mission all of its own. The challenges are generally as you would expect in a skating game with the likes of “grind this ledge”, “jump this gap” or “collect these items” to complete before the time runs out.
There is no questioning the cuteness of this game, however the novelty wore off after about 3 minutes of gameplay when I actually had to try and move my bird around the course. The controls were familiar to me having grown up with and loving Tony Hawk's Pro Skater but the feel was definitely not familiar. They feel very loose and really quite frustrating in every way imaginable. I never felt like I was in complete control of my wee bird as I was trying to guide them round the level. If you add in the horrendous camera on top of the annoying controls, it pretty much makes this game unplayable for me. Any time you get near a wall, a corner or an object such as a table leg or a bowl the camera goes into a crazy spiraling flappy meltdown. There were so many times I found myself stun locked in a flappy mess on the floor because of this, it made playing this game a total chore for me.
There is not a great variety of tricks which can be performed so even when you do get a brief moment where you aren’t fighting with the camera, the joy is short-lived due to the lack of depth in the gameplay.
On paper, I thought that this was a great idea for a fun little game but it really has not been executed well at all. There is a lot of imagination and creativity gone into the level designs with old greasy pizza boxes being used as ramps, straws have been made into ledges and even magazines have been folded up to create quarter pipes. The soundtrack also left somewhat to be desired with some of the tracks sounding like they would be right at home inside a low budget 80s adult movie. You can create your own mixtape which is a great touch but most of the tracks require you to collect cassette tapes around the level to unlock and add to your collection.
I gave this game 2 hours of my life and I can honestly say that I did not enjoy even one single second of those 120 minutes. I had hoped this would kickflip its way into my heart but in reality, SkateBIRD face planted heavily on the cold hard concrete, skinning its knees in the process.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 0.5 flappy birds out of 5.
For more information on SkateBIRD please use the following links...
Many thanks to Stride PR for the Review Key.