Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken PS3 Review

Publisher – Ratloop – Developer – Ratloop – Genre – Action Platformer – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a side scrolling action platformer that started out as a flash game under the title of Rocketbirds: Revolution.  Now it has been expanded upon and released via digital distribution on the PS3, bringing forth plenty of chicken and bird themed jokes from websites and magazines. In this review, I’ll try my best to hold my tongue.

The story setup of Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is amusing in the way that you play as a freedom fighting chicken named Hardboiled (the developer’s joke, not mine), who is sent in to liberate Albatropolis from the nasty piece of work that is Putzki (a penguin). Strangely, all of these bird characters speak normally on cut-scenes, but during the game speech bubbles are accompanied by some amusing bird inspired noises. The humour is likeable enough and the bird-on-bird violence is worthy of a chuckle.

The art-style of Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is attractive. The character designs of all the cartoon birds are brilliantly done, and when you kill the opposing birds, blood and flying feathers are amusingly left behind. The animations are a little stiff, most likely due to its flash game based roots, but they still do the job. If you have one of those fancy 3D TV’s, then you can also view the game in eye popping 3D, although I sadly wasn’t able to test this feature myself.

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a mixture of action, platforming and puzzle solving. As Hardboiled, you’ll be given access to a handful of weapons throughout the 15 chapters of the single player mode – seeing a chicken with a human-like body carrying a gun adds to the humour. Combat is very basic, and at times you’re able to take cover by hiding in the background. Enemies aren’t huge in variety over the course of the 3-5 hour duration, although you’ll have to mix your tactics up to defeat some of the tougher birds. Puzzles are meanwhile largely simplistic, but it is nice to be given something else to do other than all the bird culling.

You’ll be finding key cards, shifting boxes around and even making use of enemies to get beyond certain areas. Yes, much like Oddworld’s Abe, you can gain control of an enemy to perhaps get Hardboiled out of an area that he may be trapped in, and then when the bird has carried out his task, you simply dispose of him by blowing him up.

There are also a few sections in the game that have Hardboiled flying with a jetpack, which adds to the variation.  These parts are fun, but as things are shrunken down, there were times that I lost sight as to where Hardboiled was on the screen. Perhaps making both Hardboiled and his enemies smaller by zooming out the camera was a bad idea.

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken also has a separate cooperative mode, in which you and your partner will be taking charge of one of six colourful budgies (each of which have their own weapons). True, this mode does recycle levels from the single player, but cooperative elements are thrown in, making the mode feel fresher than it would have without them. The budgies can pass through smaller gaps than Hardboiled and they can team up to reach areas that would be completely impossible without the other perched on top of the shoulders of his partner. It’s all a nice contrast from the single player, but if you’re looking for online multiplayer, then you sadly won’t find it here.

If there’s anything wrong with Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken it’s that it doesn’t really offer much in the way of challenge. I did come across the occasional difficulty spike, but the AI is quite unintelligent and the puzzles didn’t take me that long to work out. Also, there are similar games that are better options out there.

But Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken has a lot going for it. This is a game that mostly offers good value for money and is charismatic, amusing and enjoyable. Yes, there’s similar action platformers out there that are better options, but for those who like these sorts of games I definitely think this is worthy of their attention.