Revenge of the Bird King Review


Browsing the Nintendo Switch eShop to seek out deals has become one of my new hobbies. Sometimes I find quirky curiosities like Clock Simulator, and other times I find fun games like Ninjin: Clash of Carrots. However, sometimes I find games like Revenge of the Bird King, a game that I thought I was going to absolutely adore. It drew me in with its retro sensibilities, but unfortunately, that isn’t always enough to make a game worth playing. That being said, there are some joys to mention about the game, but I have a feeling the cons will overpower them.

Cool Mechanic and Fun Gameplay

Revenge of the Bird King is a sidescrolling, action platformer where you play as a character named President Eagle. While you’ll be doing a lot of traditional platforming, President Eagle utilizes a gun harvesting mechanic that is a refreshing twist on the genre. The idea here is that you throw a seed on the ground to grow a plant, allowing you to harvest its gun to use against your enemies. One neat thing that you can do is hold down the button while throwing seeds to grow a turret instead of a harvestable gun. This turret can be used strategically to take out the enemy without sacrificing health, or to add some extra firepower against bosses.

Speaking of bosses, you’ll unlock a new gun for every boss you beat, however, these new guns have limited ammo that you must buy from vending machines. There are some neat guns to unlock; there’s spread shot gun with leafs for bullets, a gun that fires bees that can be remote controlled, and other guns with movement functions such as a double jump, and a gun that defies gravity, giving you the power to levitate across large gaps. There are certain portions of the game that can’t be accessed until you have some of these guns. You’ll also pick up some items along the way that can help you with things such as reducing knock back, or increasing your damage output.



The level design and boss fights here aren’t terrible - not counting the awful final boss encounter. I wouldn’t say that this game is on par with some of the best sidescrolling platformers, but it does take advantage of all the guns and movement options President Eagle has, and does it well. You’ll not only be jumping and shooting, but you’ll be sliding around, doing rolling jumps that let you jump farther, and utilizing a large knife to climb designated areas. Stringing these moves together feels good and can make for some great, fast-paced action. However, the game has plenty of cons that must be discussed.

Its Cryptic Nature is Disappointing

This game is sometimes too cryptic for its own good. After completing the opening stage, you are thrown into a world map - that looks like it’s straight out of Zelda II - where you’re free to go wherever you please. This open world structure is a nice touch, however, I found it difficult to know if I was actually achieving anything. You are told that you need to beat five bosses and collect five feathers. However, even though you receive a feather for beating each boss, these aren’t the five feathers you need to find. It turns out that you don’t actually need to find the additional five feathers, you just need to beat each boss to unlock every gun, so you can then make your way to the final battle. I actually beat the game without even realizing it, but the ending was so short, anti-climatic, and confusing that I was convinced that there was a better ending to find. I accidentally completed the game before finding the five additional feathers, so I set out to find those.

These feathers are hidden behind challenge levels that can be found by using a mystery medallion at challenge pillars hidden somewhere in the world. These challenge levels are a lot harder than the normal stages, but they are OK, I guess. However, they are not worth seeking out, as there is no good reward for doing so. You do get a new gun for accomplishing this, but having already beat the game, it was of no use to me. I beat the game a second time afterward and was rewarded with the exact same ending.

There are two other cryptic things to be found in the world, but it seems that there is no way to actually see these two quests through. One is a key hidden in a wall, but there is no way to actually get this. Seems to be a tribute to the ice key in Banjo-Kazooie. The other is a door that is locked behind a gate, however, there doesn’t seem to be a way to actually get to the door. You can step on a switch to open the gate, but when you step off the gate closes and you can’t get past it in time to go through the door.



The last cryptic thing here is the game’s leveling system. As you play through the game, you will notice the words “Level Up” will flash across the screen from time to time. You do in fact level up and gain more health and power as you do, however, this seems to happen randomly with no way to tell when you’ll be seeing your next level. This is just another thing to add to a list of things that weren’t well thought out when designing this game.

An Unpolished Mess

If the cryptic nature of the game isn’t enough to turn you away, perhaps its many bugs and glitches will do the trick. The game has a variety of bugs that could probably have been ironed out before release. One bug that you may notice right away is losing the ammo you’ve purchased from the vending machine. I could have sworn that I purchased a lot of two types of ammo, only to go back and buy more to then lose the first set of ammo I bought. This only happened once to me, but this has apparently happened a lot more to others. Another common bug you’ll find is when a stage plays its opening intro twice. This is harmless, but it’s annoying when it happens. I have also experienced enemies getting trapped in walls frequently. One of the last big bugs happens on one particular stage. Not only does the stage play its opening intro twice, but it also slows down to a crawl once you’re allowed to play. This stage also features a nifty bug where you don’t die when you fall in a pit and you’re forced to ]reset the game. All of this screams of a game that didn’t receive enough playtesting.



Its Overall Presentation is Quite Average

Continuing a trend here, you’ll also see that the game’s overall presentation is just average. In terms of visuals, I have a mixed reaction here. Most of the backgrounds in the game are easy on the eyes, and most of the sprites are fine, however, a lot of the game’s platforms look like a garbled mess. I know this is NES level graphics were talking about here, but I feel more effort could have been put in. Speaking of garbled mess, this game’s overworld map is downright ugly and I cringed nearly every time I had to walk to another area. Making things a bit better are parts of the game’s soundtrack, however, there are a few moments of ear scratching high-pitched noises. Nothing really stands out as memorable, but they at least did a decent job here. Overall, though, there really isn’t anything about the game’s presentation that feels polished.

Conclusion

Revenge of the Bird King starts off as a promising action platformer, but it soon becomes apparent that the game was either rushed, or the developer decided to skip the polishing phase. Honestly, it feels as if the developer just kept adding things along the way with no real plan in place. Adding things as you develop isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a good idea to polish and wrap up the entire package in a presentable, coherent manner. Despite playing this game for around 4 hours, I can’t recommend it in its current state.

Final Score: -1

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