Rocketbirds 2: Evolution is the hatch-ling of the fan favorite Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken developed by Ratloop Asia for the PS4 and PS Vita. It is the type of game that clearly does not take itself too seriously and attempts to set itself apart from what you’re used to playing. Here are the ingredients to success according to Rocketbirds 2: Take a chicken, put a gun in his hand, and add some absurd humor to the mix. But is that enough to make this game a success? Let’s chat.
You are Hardboiled Chicken also known as the “Cock of War”, who can best be described as an 80’s action hero in a Chicken’s body. The story picks up where the first iteration of the series left off, with you at war with an army of pathological Pigeons led by their demented yet hard to kill leader Putzki. As with most villains Putzki has plans for world domination and wants to forge the world into his Pigeon image and it is up to you, the Hardboiled Chicken to put an end to his evil schemes. The Chickens and the Pigeons have a distinct racial like hate for each other. There are some adult elements to the story but it is mostly filled with comedic moments that if you’re not paying attention can come off a bit bland. Much of the humor comes from listening in on soldiers and henchmen as they stand guard discussing their mundane lives. It’s funny, yet pathetic at the same time.
Some of the issues I had with the story was that a few character interactions seemed to drag on and were simply irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Also the overall story seemed to be all over the place and never came into a real focus. There is little to no real character development and while some of the characters have the potential to be interesting, none of them make you care about who they are or what they are doing. This is not something that gets in the way of the overall fun factor, but my thing is if you’re going to have a story in a game at least make sure it is relevant.
Rocketbirds 2 starts off a bit too slow and took too long for it to pull me into its core gameplay elements. The formula is simple to a fault, you travel from one place to another and find yourself locked in a room full of enemies and can not proceed until you defeat all the enemies. They range from dullard pigeons, to big overpowered heavies, to terminator like robots, they even throw space owls into the mix. The variety of enemy types does break up the monotony of the gameplay and do in fact offer a formidable challenge. Another important element to the experience is the puzzles you will need to figure out in order to proceed in many of the levels that are not really a challenge to figure out, but they are quite entertaining. One type of puzzle in particular is when you use “mind control” on a henchmen by calling him on his cellphone and when he answers an electronic pulse surges through him and causes you to take over his body. You then use him to unlock doors that you do not have access to in order for you to proceed. I also found the boss battles interesting and very entertaining, even though I did get frustrated a few times it still provided me with some great gameplay moments.
The “Cock of War” also has a huge variety of weapons at his disposal, from standard assault rifles and shotguns, to grenade launches and laser weapons. Having this variety is most welcoming however the firing mechanics ruin the experience a bit. The aiming is terrible as the controls feel too loose and it is almost impossible to directly aim on a target in most scenarios. You basically have to point in the general direction and shoot. This is the case with most of the weapons and it becomes quite frustrating, especially when facing more challenging enemies such as bosses. Overall the gameplay is fast paced, fluid, and exciting. I never experienced any frame rate dips or anything else that got in the way of the flow of the game.
The multiplayer is a delightful treat indeed. It is coop based with up to 4 players controlling random chicken soldiers and agents working together on several rescue missions. The only flaw is that the gun mechanics are just as loose as in the main story but, it is a blast nonetheless playing with friends and randoms alike. The fast paced action thrives well in this setting as you must work together to overcome overwhelming odds in the fight against all of the enemy types presented in the main game. There is a loot system where every enemy drops money and that money can be used to buy new weapons and upgrade those weapons and abilities. This gives you a sense of reward that keeps you striving to earn more. The multiplayer takes teamwork a bit further as you and your buddies are able to hop on each others back making a totem chicken pole where every player can freely fire with the player at the bottom in control of the overall movement. The multiplayer definitely offers a much needed jolt to Rocketbirds 2 and gives the game added replay-ability .
The soundtrack is the driving force of Rocketbirds 2 which has the alternative rock band New World Revolution at the helm. The electronic guitars and heart pounding drum beats get you pumped up as you’re taking on every single enemy that is thrown at you. The music fits the awkward theme of the game very well along with every combat situation. Walk into a dark room and you hear the somber sound of the keyboard and electric guitar, when the lights come on and enemies begin to swarm all around the music amps up and adds the drum mix combined with insane vocals that inspire you to go absolutely mad on every single Pigeon in your sight. It is truly a magical moment!
You won’t find over the top impressive detail in Rocketbirds 2, but the graphics fit the side scrolling 3D world very well. Let’s face it, this is a game that features Chickens, Pigeons, and Owls so you can expect for the graphic style to match the colorful and sometimes somber themes within the game. Various environments you travel to such as the forest briefly show off some beautiful bright colors. While other areas such as underground bases express dark backgrounds with bright neon lights magnifying the environment. I was also keen on the particle effects that came from certain laser weapons and the detail in the gore as I decapitated Pigeon heads as a result of lucky head shots was a nice touch.
I had some good times, some dull times, and some over the top exciting times playing as the infamous “Cock of War”. Rocketbirds 2 was entertaining for the most part however it is not the type of game I can see myself playing for a long period of time. On one hand you have a few exciting action sequences that offer some great entertainment, on the other hand you are getting sidetracked by the lackluster story within the main game. The multiplayer shines bright and allows you to enjoy the elements of the game and offer a lot of replay-ability. Is Rocketbirds 2: Evolution for everyone? No, but if you are looking for something you can pick up and play that can offer you a few exciting gameplay moments along with some weird, yet funny dialog then I say go for it.
*Reviewer finished and/or played the game to such an extent to give an informed opinion on the game and its content.
*Review copy provided by Ratloop Asia