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I guess I am the designated bird game reviewer in the TBG family now. Songbird Symphony is a rather unique game, at least to me, a cross over of the genres of Adventure, Platformer, and Musical Rhythm. The game beaked, I mean pecked, I mean PEAKED my interest the second I glanced at it.
Let’s be honest the game is cute. The colour scheme and vibrancy perfectly melds with what the game is going for. A story about an outcast similar to the ugly duckling, the relatable real-life search of trying to fit in and being comfortable with who you are rings loud and true no matter your age here.
Birb is an out of place young bird unsure of whom his parents are, what kind of bird he is and not accepted in his community of peacocks. Regardless, his Uncle Pea has raised him as his own since he found his egg during a storm. Restless, Birb decides to head out on an adventure to find his origins by seeking guidance from the Wise Owl. From there he is told to find the six lost notes from all over the land to awaken a forgotten artefact that will tell him all the information he seeks to know about his past.
There are all different types of environments to explore and bird species to meet. While adventuring from one area to the next the main feature of the game is platforming and block-pushing puzzles to get the help of birds. As the game progresses the block puzzles get a bit tricky but manageable. If anything is wrong with the later game puzzles it is that they go on for too long. Also, if you are having trouble timing a set of notes for movable blocks you can just spam all the buttons and it will still work almost all the time (just an un-pro tip/game hack for you).
The twist to the game is the songs though. As Birb traverses the land he will be tasked to prove his worth for each of the six notes by performing songs. The songs have lyrics on the screen that are meant to be sung by the player like karaoke for fun. In the breaks of the characters singing, directional and letter button prompts will come on the screen for the rhythm aspect of the game. The music in the game is great and original. I imagine all the notes and noises would be really annoying to anyone not playing or watching, but too bad for them I suppose.
Some of the later songs are beyond brutal, not precisely responsive enough and buggy, although, it does not really matter because you can just not press a single button and still advance in the story. The lowest grade you can possibly receive for a song is a C. As a result I have mixed feelings about this because part of me knows the game is mainly for kids so who cares, but at the same time what is the point if you can just do nothing at the main feature of the game and beat it. You can replay all the songs to try and beat your previous scores as well.
Perhaps a casual and intense mode to pick from would have made more sense. Casual mode would allow you to pass all the songs no matter what and Intense mode would actually require you to get a certain percentage of notes right to pass. There would have been no way I could have beaten the game if I was required to actually do well on the end game songs, to be honest. Some of the ways they are presented I found disorientating and not responsive at all. I fully acknowledge I am not much of a rhythm game player, not even that good at casual Guitar Hero, so I am not really going to knock the game on the difficulty for songs. However, it is a game geared towards kids so I am not too sure what Joysteak was thinking or going for exactly when they made the songs the way they are.
Ultimately, the perfect match for the game is a parent and their kid(s) to play together. I could imagine young ones mimicking Birb’s little butt swinging dance and singing the song lyrics while playing or when the parent is playing the more difficult songs. The music and visuals are both pleasurable and adorable. I think it is priced a bit too high and that the optimal price would have been $9.99 over $16.99 (£13.99). I ran into a bug on one of the later songs that had the camera zoomed in too much so I could not see the notes, but the developers responded to me on twitter that they were aware of it and working to fix it. Depending on exactly what the developers improve in future patches this game’s score could be bumped up to an eight out of ten.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 25/07/2019
File Size: 1.3 GB
No. of Players: 1
Developer: Joysteak Studios
Publisher: PQube Limited
Download link: eShop