Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken Review (PC)
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a tough game to enjoy with controls that don’t feel fluid and a story premise that, at best, is paper-thin and full of innuendo and cliche. The game offers little in the way of reward as characters are bland and predictable.
Rocketbirds follows Cheeko, a renegade chicken determined to overthrow the fascist reign of the penguins by taking revenge on those who molded him in their image. The problem is Cheeko isn’t interesting at all with a personality as two dimensional as the world around him; he drives forward with reckless abandon and simply doesn’t come across as a character players will buy in to.
His nemesis throughout the game, a somewhat lackluster and poor imitation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, is baffling in his inanity; a character that stands for some communist ideology that hardly seems tight enough to hold a bag of groceries let alone a nation of penguins fighting for nonsensical reasons.
The most frustrating thing about Rocketbirds is the controls, especially when you consider the fact that 2D action games have been around for nearly twenty years and for the most part have controlled better than this. In general play discrepancies can be an annoyance but when you’re battling back hoards of penguins it will be downright infuriating. You’ll follow the exact same pattern throughout your time with the game; duck, roll and then shoot. Followed, rather quickly, by multiple deaths because of the amount of time it takes to complete this sequence and the lack of fluidity with which is it done.
You have the ability to air juggle your enemies with pistol fire which comes in handy as you’ll expend nearly an entire magazine to kill a single enemy. While air juggling can be fun it leads to a monotonous drill of piling enemies to the same side of the screen and hammering down on the trigger until they’re all dead and you move to the next screen where you’ll repeat the same action again.
Breaking from the monotony of the regular game, you do have a handful of jetpack levels that, while still hampered by control issues, are actually quite fun to plan and often leave you with a renewed sense of vigour for going back and playing the rest of the game. They’re fast paced, unlike the rest of the experience, and offer something a little more fluid to spend your time on. The controls still make this a challenge but nowhere near as bad as what you’ll experience when you’re on the ground once again. Spinning around the sky with a jetpack while being chased by missiles is empowering and the fist-pump you’ll do when you guide an enemy’s own missile back around to them in beyond comparison.
The music is loud and overpowering, and often overshadows everything else going on, making it seem as if the developers were extremely happy to have this band playing their soundtrack that they felt the need to put sparkles on it and make sure everyone passing through knew about it. It obnoxiously plays throughout the game and often drowns out what little dialogue there is.
Generous checkpoints throughout the game make Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken somewhat more palpable but that doesn’t excuse bad controls and no effort in the story; most of the game comes across as something you doodled during your lunch hour at school rather than a solid premise for a game.
Had either the controls or story been tighter (or more interesting) Rocketbirds could have been worth playing, but the dialogue is something you’d expect from a teenager and the action feels flat and identical with each encounter. The jetpack levels are worth seeing but unless they’re separated into their own game you will have to push yourself through a lot of trouble to actually see them and it simply isn’t worth it.Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken Review (PC),