Despite its authentic announcement in 2018, adopted by a efficiently funded Kickstarter marketing campaign in 2019, I used to be first made conscious of Skatebird throughout final 12 months’s Wholesome Direct 2020, after I watched a spunky, fats, little chicken cruising round on its skateboard and grinding rails like, effectively, Tony Hawk. While the remainder of the video games proven off in the course of the Wholesome Direct had me excited, it was Skatebird that piqued my curiosity.
Sure, the thought of a skateboarding chicken wasn’t fairly as interesting as enjoying because the Hawkman himself (a need that truly grew to become a actuality later within the 12 months with the shock launch of the remastered Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2). However, contemplating that at the moment, we have been simply getting into a revitalized period of skateboarding video video games with titles reminiscent of Session, Skater XL, THPS 1 + 2, and the announcement of the subsequent Skate game, it solely made sense that Skatebird’s humorous spin on the intense sport would come about in some kind or one other. And for essentially the most half, it’s a welcome addition to skating’s gaming catalog. That is, relying on which platform you play the game on.
In phrases of its general gameplay, Skatebird places you within the skate footwear (talons?) of Birb – a home chicken who skates all through sandbox-like ranges whereas taking over missions and gathering hidden objects. Each stage has a distinct theme, reminiscent of a bed room and an workplace, the place Birb will kick flip and tail seize its approach over ramps, rails, and massive air jumps made out of on a regular basis objects like leftover pizza bins and straws.
Controls are about as simple as you will get. If you’ve performed any video games within the THPS sequence, you can be instantly aware of Skatebird’s single button flip tips, grabs, rotations, stalls, and grinds. You do, nonetheless, have a double soar capacity and a slower descent again to the bottom after catching massive air. You are a chicken with wings, in spite of everything. In that sense, the game is a superb entry level for these simply beginning to reduce their enamel on the skateboarding style. Don’t count on to be blown away should you’re already a hardened veteran of the style. While enjoying, I couldn’t assist however be reminded of a very, REALLY well-done remaster of 1998’s Rugrats: Search for Reptar ranges combined with 2000’s Grind Session (I promise it is a praise).
With that mentioned, I have to disclose that I’m approaching this overview a bit in another way than different evaluations, as I reviewed Skatebird on two totally different platforms at principally the identical time. I initially started my overview by enjoying the game on the Nintendo Switch, because it appeared to be the platform of alternative that was proven off throughout numerous gaming showcases within the build-up to its launch. Unfortunately, your entire Switch expertise gave me a bitter style in my mouth and had me able to hurl my handheld gadget out my second story window and onto the road under the place maybe a skateboarder would ollie immediately onto the gadget, shattering it into one million items. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, however with the typewriter and graphical points, together with the unresponsive controls (which I largely attribute to the terribly designed Joy-Con controllers), it simply wasn’t an gratifying expertise. I used to be about as non-zen as I might be whereas enjoying Skatebird on Switch – a stark distinction compared to our preview of the game.
Then, I had a thought. I had a sneaking suspicion that the game is perhaps higher on PC, so I gave it a go. Boy, am I glad I did. Skatebird is a much better expertise on PC than the Switch. Using a DualShock or Xbox controller is way extra suited to any skateboarding game than the Joy-Cons are. It actually makes a world of distinction, as I’m capable of management my chicken and it’s tips with higher precision.
Unsurprisingly, the game additionally simply seems higher on PC than the Nintendo Switch. This is sensible given the Switch’s technical limitations. However, Skatebird has a unusual graphical design the place the background of the extent is tremendous blurry till you skate nearer to it. This truly made me significantly nauseous whereas enjoying on the Switch. I’m nonetheless not an enormous fan of that design on PC, however at the very least I don’t get sick as I skate by way of the open sandbox-designed ranges, exploring each nook and cranny for unlockable beauty objects.
Whether you’re enjoying on Switch or PC, by far, one of the best function in Skatebird is its music. Featuring a very authentic soundtrack composed by Nathan Madsen, together with a handful of licensed tracks, Skatebird’s music is my favourite a part of the game – whether or not I’m mindlessly cruising all through the extent whereas listening to relax hop-style rhythms and melodies (which known as lofi Bird-hop by its creators), or bobbing my head alongside to the beat of a Ska monitor. If we’re at present dwelling in a brand new golden age of skateboarding video games, it’s solely applicable that Ska comes roaring again in as effectively. I’m glad that the staff behind Skatebird appears to share this similar sentiment.
I’m not going to say “buyer beware” regarding the Switch model of Skatebird. By all means, when you’ve got youthful players or Switch is your main gaming gadget, then enjoying Skatebird on Switch will in all probability be simply wonderful for you. However, when you’ve got the choice, go along with the PC model of the game, particularly contemplating that the game is coming to Xbox Game Pass subsequent month. Even although a lot of its tropes are a bit performed out throughout the style, Skatebird is a game that is aware of it’s foolish, and embraces it in a approach that makes it enjoyable to play (on PC).
A Nintendo Switch and PC copy of Skatebird was supplied to TheGamer for this overview, with the ranking being attributed to the PC model of the game. Skatebird might be accessible on September 16, 2021 for PC, Xbox Game Pass, Nintendo Switch, and Amazon Luna.
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