Thanks to Limited Run Games for the review code
Title: Revenge of the Bird King
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 12/27/2018
In this action adventure game, you take control of a bird who’s the last of his kind, and must set out on a quest to defeat evil and avenge his fallen friends! It’s a story with some basic humor thrown in along the way, but there’s not much to it.
Using a similar art style to Super Gunworld 2, Bird King looks pretty decent, going for a similar pixel art look while also sporting bright colors to go along with the look. Unfortunately, the animations and a lot of other aspects of the visuals are rougher, with scrolling looking pretty weak and the overworld coming off as a disjointed mess. Combine that with a pretty terrible soundtrack and this is a presentation I feel isn’t quite as nice as Gunworld 2.
Bird King tasks the player with exploring a Zelda II style overworld and going through differing levels to find upgrades, items and bosses. The controls are a bit strange to get used to at first, with X being used for your sword attack, B used for your jump, and A used for planting your guns. Yes, you actually plant them like flowers, and when you pick one up you can then use it with Y for a period of time. Depending on how long you hold down A, a gun can even become an auto-firing turret if you so wish, which can help for taking out enemies. You can do a dash with the ZR button while grabbing onto curtains with the ZL button.
Progressing throughout the game, you’ll gradually gain new gun types that can open access to new stages or allow for discovering a secret in a previous stage. Unfortunately, the progression is the main reason I just couldn’t get into Bird King, as while it should have been an easily enjoyable game due to its tight controls and interesting concepts carried over from Super Gunworld 2, (a decent platformer I did find myself enjoying a lot more) the overworld here is just a mess.
Sometimes it’s not clear where exactly you’re supposed to go, and at times you’ll end up traveling somewhere only to die or get stuck because you don’t have an item that would make the section a lot easier. On the other hand, you can end up not even knowing where to go to advance the plot since you can’t tell which levels are meant to be done in order. While you can buy helpful items such as respawn eagles that allows you to create your own checkpoints, knowing when to use them can be very annoying due to the open ended nature of the game. It’s almost *too* open-ended and despite spending a good 2+ hours trying to get somewhere, I managed to only clear three stages in that time despite exploring the world several times over. It doesn’t help that at rare times exploring the overworld can make the music act as if the game’s imploding on itself, repeating the song a few times at once before going back to normal.
In conclusion, Revenge of the Bird King is an interesting spin-off of the Gunworld series with some ideas in mind, but it’s not really that fun. Tight controls and the sense of speed you can get with this game are one thing, but if the level design and the overall structure isn’t good to compliment it, then you aren’t likely to even get anywhere without a guide or dumb luck. It’s an annoying experience for sure, and unfortunately one I cannot really recommend compared to its predecessor.
I give Revenge of the Bird King a 4 out of 10.