Published on February 21st, 2017 | by Justin Giza0
If the name “Rocketbirds” sounds familiar to you, you may recall a Flash game from 2010 involving a very badass Chicken soldier and a lot of gunfire. This was later given a full redux with the release of Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken, which saw release on consoles as well as PC.
Building upon the same characters and formula, Rocketbirds 2: Evolution has proven to be a nice improvement over its predecessor, amping up the pace of the action and continuing the story where the previous game left off. Rocketbirds 2 alternates between a run-and-gun platformer and puzzle game. The backdrop of blood, war and gore makes for an odd juxtaposition with a lead character named “Hardboiled Chicken,” but it all kind of clicks together. Despite the kinda’ goofy setup, the game has a pretty dark tone, overall.
Between chapters, Rocketbirds hops into 2D cut scenes to further advance the plot. The art will definitely take you back to the heyday of Newgrounds, when flash animation was at its peak popularity. While the puzzle segments are overall a little lacking, they do include some very cool elements for players to noodle around with. Hardboiled can tap into enemy cell phones and give orders, and eventually is able to mind control unsuspecting lackeys. Being a big Abe’s Oddysee fan, this was a fantastic throwback to me.
Where the game really shines is when you’re presented with a whole mess of bloody encounters in a row. You’ll run into a lot of similar enemies early on, but the boss fights try to throw you for a loop. Special achievements can be unlocked for pulling off fun stunts, like tricking an enemy into firing a missile at himself. Wave after wave of goons keep you firing in all directions.
Many of the guns, sadly, feel same-ish. You won’t notice much of a difference between your starting automatic gun and the next automatic that you pick up, aside from a significant damage boost. When you are presented with a wholly unique new weapon, it’s easy to be intimidated about using the ammunition, which feels limited. That’s a shame, because these weapons give a new dimension to combat.
A super cool thing to mention is that they got a band to score the whole game, and it works really, really well. Guitars blare as you cut through waves of nefarious penguin soldiers with guns and grenade launchers.
For those looking for a co-op experience, good news! The game is divided into two Parts, the second of which features a co-op story mode. Solo players, never fear – you aren’t obligated to bring a buddy. In this mode, you’ll be able to select from a wide range of unlockable characters, and even customize your weapons.
Rocketbirds 2 is a surprisingly good, bloody, well-stylized time. You can find it on Steam for only $9.99, and you’ll have a great time with it. Its shortcomings may be roadblocks to those looking for bleeding-edge graphics or super-deep mechanics, but this game has some heart, and the developers have clearly poured in a lot of love.