Tony Hawk’s one-part pro Skater and one-part Micro Machines, Skatebird is a bit like a Photoshop Friday pun parody brought to life; they’re extremely small birds that straddle tech bridges over small-scale stunt ramps scattered around a messy bedroom, as well as various places around an office. Underneath the joke is an ambitious attempt at a 3D arcade skate 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 quite raw, light on content, and regularly irritating to play.
The general vibe is as if someone has brought up the aforementioned legendary Birdman and someone other sprang from their empty pint glass and exclaimed, “Birds, man!” – only instead of tinkering with a raw JPEG of a pigeon doing a 900, they spent several years building a real video game based on a loose gag. Developer Glass Bottom Games has obviously injected a slew of bird-themed touches, but the studio is largely sticking to the Tony model: big air, wild tricks, and an assortment of cards dotted with to-dos and letters and letters. bands to collect.
The key influence appears to be Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, where Neversoft ditched the iconic two-minute timer in favor of letting players scour the maps in search of individual mini-missions. Like THPS4, Skatebird does not provide an overt list of challenges before each level and with each race; you have to skate around the environment and find NPCs – or NPBs in this case, I guess – scattered around the map to find out what challenges you face. While the challenges themselves are timed, the lack of a countdown to general exploration suits the relaxed nature of Skatebird – an atmosphere that is served very well by its catchy roster of original, themed tunes. birds.
The soundtrack itself is by far the most polished part of Skatebird, and it’s filled with relaxing, skate-friendly earworms, full of bird calls and samples from nature filmmakers too. zealous from public domain documentaries. It’s very well done; even the birds take advantage, hopping while skating.
Make a Chickflip
Unlike THPS4, however, Skatebird doesn’t highlight other birds with missions to assign to you in a particular way, so skating in search of the next mission can sometimes be a punishment. They are not hidden, but you just have to walk around until you meet them. Also, sometimes the birds disappear after you complete their mission, and sometimes they don’t – but there is no distinction between the birds that remain on the map after you complete their mission and have no nothing else for you, and those who have a new task for you. This meant that I would often find myself skating up to (and directly through) birds without a lens for me while painting the map for whoever did.
The tasks are generally very easy and the time limits for Skatebird to collect items and create scores are mostly very generous. The items and letters required for individual objectives are often placed quite close to each other in a single area of the map, but even if they are more scattered, an on-screen marker will take you there. Unfortunately, this tends to make many Skatebird challenges surprisingly boring, with collecting more of a formality than a challenge (except whenever a shady hit detection decides you haven’t grabbed an item. even if you literally hit it with your beak, or skated through it several times).
There were a few challenges that I held onto for a few more attempts, but the headache in those cases was mostly related to the bad mood of the camera and controls. The camera often struggles to smoothly follow the onscreen bird action, and there have been numerous occasions where I’ve been temporarily trapped in 90-degree corners or other random parts of the level, sending the camera spinning. It is also a little trying to come out of a difficult situation; having the birds fluttering to light up in place might sound authentic, but in practice it just makes it cumbersome and slow.
Little hawks know skating
There’s a tremendous amount of imagination in Skatebird, from greasy pizza box ramps to fake issues of Thrasher magazine ‘Thrusher’ bent into quarter pipes, to plastic straws serving as an adaptation, though the overall art style is a little basic and angular. It’s cute, too, and there’s definitely something to be said about a game that lets you be a galah wearing a piece of bok choy for a hat, or a cockatoo cosplay as the first guy ever to get done. stop at a music festival.
Glass Bottom Games leaned heavily on Skatebird’s feathered framing, and I certainly can’t accuse it of lacking originality, even though I’m far too old to make satirical misspellings with zooming in on words like “birb” and “screm”. Once the novelty of birds on toy skateboards wears off, however, the skating itself turns out to be pretty rough. It’s pretty easy to do a few flips and grabs, but the tricks seem pretty limited and they’re not very exciting to watch or easy to distinguish from one another. Grappling hooks in particular are annoying, and the way birds instantly snap into stalls makes them visibly unfinished.
Plus, there are also only five levels available, including a small, sterile, boring roof level which is disappointingly simple and really a bad showcase for Skatebird’s shtick. Without multiplayer and minimum cards, there really isn’t a ton of play here.