Developer Ratloop Asia’s Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken speaks to my inner old-school gamer.
It brings me back to the days when my mom couldn’t pry my hands from the NES controller at dinner time. It has a fair amount of challenge, great, hand drawn/painted graphics, and addicting gameplay. It’s reminiscent of Contra or maybe Bionic Commando without the swinging, and almost feels like an HD update of some long-forgotten NES title.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a Playstation 3 exclusive that builds upon the critically-acclaimed browser-based game Rocketbirds: Revolution! and expands upon it with new missions, characters, and puzzles. The game is set in Albatropolis, a land of birds that have been overtaken by a totalitarian penguin regime. The eponymous Hardboiled Chicken must rise up and assassinate the evil penguin leader Putzki.
The game throws quite a few gameplay curveballs to keep it from getting stale. You’ll fly a jetpack and blow up zeppelins, solve intricate puzzles, and use parasitic bugs to take over your enemies’ brains and control them. There’s even a bit of a cover system, which is neat to see in a 2D shooter. The puzzles are a huge part of this game; you’ll probably die more attempting different methods for solving a puzzle than fighting the penguin army soldiers. They can get very difficult near the end. One puzzle, involving box stacking, took a good amount of thought. Many others rely on the “brainbug” mechanic, and a turret puzzle near the end nearly busted my brain. However, there is a grand sense of accomplishment when you finally figure out what needs to be done. The game’s campaign is 15 levels long, and there is also a great 10 mission long separate co-op campaign.
You’ll get to handle a good amount of weapons in the Rocketbirds. You’ll find pistols, shotguns and Uzis, MP5s, M60s and AK-47s. You’ll blow up the evil penguin army with grenades, and take control of their brains with the awesome brainbugs. You’ll use nearly all of these while completing puzzles, as well.
The game also has a great sense of humor. The cutscenes are pretty funny, and the dialogue and situations you’ll find the penguin army soldiers in made me chuckle on more than one occasion. There’s also a sadistic humor in taking control of the penguin soldiers, using them to open a path for you, then making them blow their brains out.
The game features 100% hand drawn 2D animation, and it’s gorgeous. The backgrounds are highly dynamic, and move with you as you maneuver your character through the level. You can see god rays beaming in from the clouds, birds flying through the background, waterfalls, etc. It’s truly one of the best looking 2D games I’ve seen in HD, possibly even beating out BloodRayne: Betrayal. The environments are highly varied, as well.
Overall, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a fun action platformer that plays to the old school gamer in all of us. It features great retro gunplay, as well as modern puzzles. The challenge level can get a bit extreme on the later level puzzles, but the satisfaction of finally solving them will bring a smile to your face. If you’re looking for a return to the days of 2D side scrolling action, look no further than Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken. For the trophy fanatics out there, it should be noted that the game includes a Platinum trophy, which is great since the game only costs $11.99.