Skatebird Review – IGN

Skatebird in one part, the diminutive Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the Micro Machines in one part, Skatebird is a bit like a parody of the Photoshop word game brought to life; They are extremely small birds that travel on Tech Decks on small-scale stunt ramps scattered throughout a messy bedroom, in addition to various locations around an office. Underneath the joke is an ambitious attempt at a 3D arcade skating game, and it’s heavily inspired by the early Neversoft Tony Hawk games. The result is cute, serious, and undeniably eye-catching, but it’s also pretty unrefined, light on content, and regularly irritating to play.

The overall vibe is like someone mentioned the legendary Birdman and someone the rest he jumped out of his empty pint glass and exclaimed, “Birds, man!” – only instead of improvising a crude JPEG of a pigeon doing a 900, they spent several years building a genuine video game based on a loose joke. Developer Glass Bottom Games has obviously injected a host of bird-themed touches, but the studio sticks heavily to Tony’s template: big air, wild tricks, and a variety of maps peppered with tasks to complete and letters and. tapes to collect.

Developer Glass Bottom Games has obviously injected a host of bird-themed touches throughout, but the studio sticks heavily to Tony’s template.

The key influence appears to be Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, where Neversoft dropped the iconic two-minute timer in favor of allowing players to navigate the maps in search of individual mini-missions. Like THPS4, Skatebird does not provide an open list of challenges before each level and time in each race; You need to skate around the environment and find NPCs, or NPBs in this case I guess, scattered around the map to discover the challenges you need to complete. While the challenges themselves are timed, the lack of a countdown clock in the overall exploration suits Skatebird’s laid-back nature, an atmosphere that fits well with its catchy bird-themed original song list.

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The soundtrack itself is easily the most polished part of Skatebird, and it’s packed with soothing, skate-friendly earworms, filled with birdsong, and samples from overzealous nature filmmakers of public domain documentaries. It is very well done; even the birds enjoy it, hopping while skating.

Do a chickflip

However, unlike THPS4, Skatebird does not single out other birds with missions to assign to you in any particular way, so skating in search of the next mission can sometimes be punishment. They are not hidden, but you have to scroll until you meet them. Also, sometimes the birds disappear after you have completed their mission, and sometimes they don’t, but there is no distinction between the birds that remain on the map after they have completed their mission and have nothing else to do, and those that have a new task for you. This meant that I would often find myself skating towards (and directly through) birds with no targets for me while searching the map for the one I had.

Tasks are generally very easy, and the time limits Skatebird provides for collecting things and building scores are mostly very generous. Items and letters required for individual objectives are often placed close together in a single area of ​​the map, but even if they are more spread out, an on-screen marker will take you directly to them. Unfortunately, this tends to make many of Skatebird’s challenges surprisingly boring, with the pickup closer to a formality than a challenge (except when some dodgy hit detection decides you didn’t grab an item even though it literally did. hit with the pick or skid through it). repeatedly).

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There were a few challenges where I forced myself for a few extra tries, but the headache in these cases was mostly related to camera shake and controls. The camera often struggles to seamlessly follow bird action on the screen, and there were many occasions where I got temporarily stuck in 90-degree corners or other random parts of the level, causing the camera to plummet. It’s also a bit tiring to get out of a tight spot; making the birds flutter to spin on the spot may seem authentic, but in practice it just makes it cumbersome and time consuming.

Tiny hawks know how to skate

There’s a wealth of imagination on display at Skatebird, from the greasy ramps of pizza boxes, to the fake issues of Thrasher’s Thrusher magazine folded into quarter-tube, to the plastic straws that act as a cap, even if the General art style is a bit basic and angular. It’s cute too, and there’s certainly something to be said for a game that lets you be a galah using a piece of bok choy as a hat, or a cockatoo disguising itself as the first guy ever to get arrested at a music festival.

That, or all the test cricketers of the 1990s.

That, or all the test cricketers of the 1990s.

Glass Bottom Games has leaned a lot toward Skatebird’s feathered framing, and I certainly can’t fault it for lack of originality, even if I’m too old for the zoomer’s satirical misspellings of words like “birb” and “screm.” However, once the novelty of toy skateboard birds wears off, the skating itself is revealed to be pretty tough. It’s easy enough to throw a few turns and grabs, but the tricks seem pretty limited and aren’t very exciting to watch or easy to distinguish from one another. The handles in particular are boring, and the way the birds instantly enter the stalls makes them feel remarkably unfinished.

Plus, there are only five levels available too, including a small, sterile, and boring rooftop level that’s disappointingly simple and really a poor sample of the Skatebird gimmick. Without multiplayer and minimal maps, there really aren’t a ton of games here.