Budgies can piggyback on each other, firing in both directions.
As you play you’ll pick up new kinds of weapons offering varying damage stats and rates of fire. Another cool feature is the ability to take over enemies by using a mind control grenade. You can use your mind-slaves to help solve puzzles or take out other hostiles. When you’re finished with them you can force a suicide by making them eat a bullet. It’s satisfying, in that boy-I-wish-they’d-make-more-Oddworld-games kind of way.
After playing through about half the levels of the single player campaign things were starting to get a bit repetitive. Not bad, but not great. Luckily, there’s a local co-op mode, and I found it to be much more entertaining.
The co-op story of Rocketbirds features six Budgie commandos chasing after a general’s daughter. You'll play as two of the squat, yet capable parakeets. Each has their own weapon specialty, which equates to game difficulty. The heavy weapons expert is for beginners, the submachine gunner is for average players, and the shotgunner is for hardcore players, etc.
This is the Budgie you're looking for. Unfortunately, she has a penchant for evading rescue.
You’ll basically be replaying ten of the fifteen single player missions with a pal. The difference is that you can’t change weapons, you've got no mind control grenades, and you’re half the height of Hardboiled. This means you need to jump on your partner’s shoulders (or vice versa) to reach higher platform levels.
This simple mechanic really adds a nice cooperative element to the game. Everything requires teamwork. If you’re feeling lazy, one player can “ride” on the other player through much of the mission, shooting backwards at enemies. Most fire fights will have one player focusing on the right while the other takes the left. You’ll have to work with your partner to solve puzzles, usually involving a locked door, a button, and a keycard. Once again, it’s a simple idea, but it works well.
There were many more enemies in the co-op missions, making the game feel more like an action title than a platformer. The mix of puzzle and shooting elements worked well, and it never felt frustrating. I do wish it was longer. The whole cooperative campaign can be finished in a single sitting. You can play through with the other Budgies for a more difficult challenge if you really want to get the extra bang for your buck.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is not nearly as action-packed as a game like a Contra, or Shoot Many Robots, but as a simple shooter/platformer, it works. I found the single player game was just a shade better than average, but I really enjoyed playing the co-op mode. Still, at twelve dollars, the game is very brief, possibly too brief for some. I think it is a nice light game to play before things get serious this fall.
This review was based on the PlayStation Network version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Select a pair from the dirty half-dozen Budgie commando characters and set out on a mission to save the daughter of a general in 10 co-op missions.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.