Game Review #073: Revenge of the Bird King (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Frankie W.
Developer: Mighty Rabbit Studios
Publisher: Limited Run Games
Category: Platformer, Action
Release Date: 12.27.18
Buy Revenge of the Bird King from the Nintendo eShop here.
I Love A Challenge
When I acquired Revenge of the Bird King, I did not expect this game would have me absolutely glued to the screen, death after death, for hours upon hours. I love me some difficult platformers (read: I love me some Mega Man), and as it turns out, I also love the story of the son of a fallen bird king with a huge sword, set in a world where guns literally grow on trees. Revenge of the Bird King is a love letter to the Nintendo hard platforming style games from back in the day, with some modern polish.
Controls of the Bird King
The main gameplay style is side-scrolling platforming action. Your character has a big sword you can use to break through armored enemies' guard, destroy any projectiles that come your way, and demolish all kinds of walls you can find, including hidden walls. No wall chicken to be found here, but lots of treasure and hidden areas are in this world waiting to be discovered, and you are going to need every bit of help you can get to avenge your bird-dad! Your big ole' sword will also allow you to wall cling and rearrange certain tile sets which let you move about the stage in other ways. Of course, you can jump, and your character has a good jump that is completely controllable in the air. He also has a Mega Man-style slide, and in a totally unexplained bonus, jumping out of a slide will give you a HUGE spin jump that will help you out in doing things fast and fancy—my favorite way to play platformers!
I love that the game doesn't stop to explain this move, it's left for you to find out through experimentation. The input for the spin jump is simple enough that the game can assume you will naturally trigger it at some point, maybe even die because of it a few times, but quickly enough it becomes a vital part of your repertoire. During the spin jump, you can hit the climbable tile sets, and maintain speed as well, allowing you to do some SERIOUSLY fancy stuff when things are set up correctly. The basic run, jump, slide, and climb will only get you so far; this game's true potential for movement is unlocked when you use all of your moves in unison. It feels very rewarding to nail some segments or figure out some fancy ways to skip past troublesome areas with fancy platforming.
Prepare To Die…
You are absolutely going to die. A bunch of times even! From well-placed enemies to instant death spikes, this game will have you learning the first parts of every stage VERY well. Thankfully, it never feels defeating because the mechanics are so tight, you can always identify what went wrong and what you have to do to pass the order. There are no helping hands here for you to get a leg-up, you have to commit these stages to muscle memory. It never feels oppressive, however, and that kept me going.
The Seeds of Weaponry
The most defining aspect of this game has to be the quirky tongue-in-cheek world characterized by guns actually growing on trees. At the press of a button you can grow a tree with a revolver on it, or hold the button and it will spawn a turret plant that shoots to the left and the right at the same time. Your guns have ammo when you pick them from a plant, and you discard them once they are empty. Thankfully, the normal revolver has infinite seeds, and there is no shortage of that gun, or being able to set up easy kills with the plant turret. It really is a fun mechanic, and it gets even better as you tackle the main bosses. With each boss kill, you will unlock more and more items for purchase at the store where you spend your various pickups, including seeds for new kinds of weapons.
These special weapons are where your power really lies, even if you chuckle once you hear the names. Your powerful arsenal consists of a gun that shoots bees that you can control after you shoot them out, capable of quickly filling the screen with your "bullets" or for hitting a switch down a winding path. Beyond that, there is the leaf blower (yes, a leaf blower!) that shoots a spread shot of three leaves that can damage enemies the normal gun cannot kill. This shot will also go through most walls! Additionally, there is the dumbbell cannon, which essentially is the Castlevania axe, and is the only weapon that can destroy certain blocks. It launches a dumbbell in an arcing upwards angle, where it then drops back down. It does good damage and hits at an angle that other weapons cannot easily reach.
Don't forget, all of these you will purchase with the “seed” from the store, so they are in limited quantities. You can also make turrets using all of these, and let me tell you, it makes some of the bosses almost too easy if you have some money to blow. The weapon customization mechanic gives you plenty of ways to attack your enemies, and lots of fun platforming puzzles to solve.
Zelda II: The Adventures of Bird King
The game's overworld essentially follows Zelda II rules. You are on a huge overworld map where you can go to any area, and after you take a few steps, enemies will spawn on the map and start hunting you down. If they touch you, you will be taken to a battle stage where you have to fight your way all the way to the left or right to continue your adventure. There are caves to explore and secrets to be found, but your main goal is to get the 5 feathers of the Bird King from the enemies that stole them. There are some trading quests as well in another seeming Zelda reference, and you get some equipment that can absorb a hit and increase your damage, among other things. This game also features a system where you level up to gain more hearts or do more damage, so if you are having some problems with the game you could always grind it out a little bit and try again!
This game has a kicking soundtrack filled with beats that will have you humming along the whole way, as well as some great sound effects. I really enjoyed the music a lot in this game and how in a lot of levels, if you move at a good pace, it almost matches up to the beat. The music will ramp up as the action gets tighter, and as you repeatedly tackle the same levels, you will get quick enough that your movement gets even more synced up to the music.
I really had a blast with this game, and it held my attention for a good few hours before I put it down. I had problems remembering to save, and due to a glitch that moved me past an area I wasn’t supposed to be in, I had to reset the game and lost a good amount of progress. Other than that, the game ran great in the docked mode as well as in handheld mode, and I had no slowdowns. Revenge of the Bird King is a nice love letter to a few older games, picking some of the best parts of them and mixing them with their own innovations to make a charming product that fans of old and new games will love if they appreciate a tight platformer or a good challenge! I give Revenge of the Bird King, a high flying 8.5/10!
Final Score: 8.5/10
Buy Revenge of the Bird King from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided By Limited Run Games