These 2D side-scrolling games never strike as unique to me. They always end up resembling some other game in the genre. That’s not a bad thing, though. You can only innovate so much in the genre in the first place. Rocketbirds is an interesting new 2D side-scrolling game that reminds me of Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Shank for reason. While the art style and the general visuals may be drastically different, the core gameplay is very similar. Ratloop have managed to create a fun game however, as Rocketbirds is one hell of a budget game.
It has an interesting backstory, as the main protagonist’s main goal is to take down hordes of evil Penguins. Your goal is to take down their leader and free Albatropolis. This is pretty much out and out an action game, as you will be pretty much loaded and hardcore from start to finish. The difficulty is tough and will be extremely challenging as you try to clear the game’s 15 chapters. You really can’t go all guns blazing though, as the enemies can make mincemeat of you very fast. The main campaign is quite varied, as the art style really sticks out here.
The only way these 2D side-scrolling games can differentiate among themselves is via the visual flair and the clear unique combat. Fortunately, Rocketbirds manages to do this, as the developers here have tried to make it stand out as much as possible. There are some jetpack levels thrown in, which brings a good change in the pacing and is a lot of fun. You will be killing a lot of enemies here, as they come from both directions and you need to play with the crouch mechanic smartly if you want to survive here.
The game isn’t that long, but it is slightly above average for what a PSN/XBL game should be. It took me a while to finish the game, as some of the levels were slightly getting on my nerves, but overwhelmingly frustrating. There is also a co-op mechanic here, which is one of the best additions any developer can do. The settings are different however, so your experience in the main campaign doesn’t count here. Some of the levels are a real eye candy, so it’s certainly commended the way Ratloop have approached this game.
One of the best things about the game is the music. It’s composed by New World Revolution and features their new album, Karmakaze. Surprisingly, it got me really immersed in the game, so I can’t really argue with the choice to use this music in the game. Along with the spiffy art style and the cheery music, the game’s production values are much better than you expect from most arcade games.
The game is reasonably priced on PSN, so if you love 2D side-scrolling games that offer a good challenge and also try to attempt to distinguish itself from the rest of the games out there, do give this a try. There is also a demo available, so check it out if it matches your taste or not.
This game was reviewed on the PS3.
Challenging difficulty. Great music. Meaty content. Co-op mode. Beautiful artstyle.
It's still a 2D side-scrolling game that doesn't drastically define the genre. Funny plot and not in a good 'funny' way.