Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken (Vita) Review

There is a great deal of irony involved with me reviewing this game. In truth, I am allergic to chicken and must avoid eating it at all costs. Needless to say, I was very conflicted when faced with the idea of controlling a renegade chicken in this platformer, but I fought through my reservations to unearth a very interesting PS Vita game.

At a time where there is a lack of inspiring games on the Vita, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Rocketbirds. It was clever, humorous and most of all entertaining. The game was also released on PSN, but I feel as though it truly belongs on a portable device. It wasn’t extremely deep, so it lends itself more to being picked up on the go and being played sporadically.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Rocketbirds stars a Rambo-like chicken by the name of Hardboiled Chicken. He stands as the resistance in the fight against totalitarian Penguins who dominate the land. You are dropped directly into battle and along the way you must plow through countless penguins on your way to their leader, Putzki. Hardboiled is the only one who can stop him and you are charged with that task.

The game’s strength lies in it’s creativity. The landscape’s are alive and full of color, the dialogue is hilarious, the story is clever and the action is diversified. In terms of the landscape, the game heavily lends itself to Rayman Origins. The color schemes were similar, as was the layout. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Rayman Origins is one of the most creative platformers to date. The backgrounds are also alive as you can see fans working in the background and leaves flying around and it makes for very beautiful scenery.

The dialogue was hilarious throughout and is a major strength for the game. The cut scenes feature purposely terrible voice acting as the characters make terrible one-liners reminiscent of the movies they are based on. At one point an enemy in the game says “I will kill him…then I will eat him” and it’s lines like those that keep the player entertained throughout.

The story was a hilarious take on Rambo as you’re a renegade chicken who stands up to an army alone, and who is dressed almost exactly like Rambo. It’s meant to be comedic and they do a good job of conveying that to their audience. The game also features original music from Sci-fi rock band New World Revolution that is enjoyable to listen to during cut-scenes.

The action throughout was pretty damn cool. You have a variety of guns that you find throughout the game (Pistol, Uzi, Shotgun, Ak47) and you use them to eliminate all penguin threats. The animation’s of penguins being shot are not varied, but don’t seem to get old.Your character is only capable of three movements on the ground: run, jump and roll. It may seem as though that makes you limited, but it works pretty well in this platformer. You also can throw grenades and something called Brainbugs, which allow you to control your enemy to open doors or open fire on their comrades. You use the back touch pad to control them and this works decently enough.The killing of these penguins is a lot of fun and there are a few different ways to go about it.

There are certain chapters that are played in the sky by use of Hardboiled’s jet-pack and these levels are somewhat lacking. There isn’t a lot of variety to these missions and every time you rocket into the sky, you are essentially doing the same thing. However, it does offer a nice change of pace to the rest of the game.

The levels often require a bit of imagination and it keeps the player guessing as to how to get through certain areas. However, it is also the main issue with the game. Most levels are clever, while others can just be confusing rather than challenging. There were time where you need to jump to areas that are not visible. This can be frustrating rather than rewarding when you finally realize what needed to be done.

Also, the game doesn’t make full use of the Vita’s features. You use the back touch pad to throw projectiles and you can tilt your Vita to see different angles but that is essentially it. The Vita is capable of a lot more and this game may not have entirely maximized that.

There is also a co-op mode in this game that offers players the ability to play a separate story mode along with a friend. The idea is good, but you can only play a friend who has another Vita locally or with online friends. You can’t go online at any point and play with a random person. This makes the mode quite limited even though when it is played, it is a fun addition to the game.

All in all, this is a solid edition to the Vita’s library. Priced at $9.99, this game will not help sell systems, but it is a good value and will help to keep current owners interested in their Vita. The game also is not extremely varied from it’s Ps3 version, but it does seem more suited for the Vita than the PS3. The Vita needs to continue to come out with games like these along with big name ones, to establish a large and diversified game library for new users along with the early adopters.

Score: 7.5

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