With the advent of Smartphone downloadable games, many portable gamers have become well accustomed to quick-fire, pick-up-and-play titles that cost relatively little yet provide a short burst of entertainment for those short bus rides or queues to get somewhere. Although Nintendo and Sony's portable machines still primarily concentrate on retail cartridges that on average offer meatier experiences akin to that of couch-based console play, a number of smaller games have begun to take centre stage in their downloadable shops. Teyon, a multi-console developer, is getting in on this newer focus with Bird Mania 3D. Is this title a mere shadow of a certain popular bird-related Smartphone game or a unique breed of its own?
Much like other small downloadables of this calibre, Bird Mania 3D leaves plot presentation as an afterthought and gets players straight to the core of the game, with control given to a small blue bird named Mojo, who after oversleeping has to try and catch up to his flock, which is travelling South for the winter. This is done in a left-to-right 2D screen-scrolling manner, with the player required to guide Mojo under and over obstacles, all the while collecting stars and knocking bees and balloons out of the sky to earn points. In a nutshell, this sums up the entire game; it is a score attack effort that as the screen gradually starts to scroll faster, essentially it means you're doomed to lose. However, by delving deeper, there is more to see.
Although Bird Mania 3D's narrative is given less priority, its visual level certainly has not been. The game only truly makes use of one environment type that scrolls into day and night cycles, but as far as eShop games go this is certainly one of the most colourful and striking games on there. The 3D in the title serves as more of a cosmetic addition that helps the colours stand out even more whilst not really adding anything different to the gameplay, but even with the slider switched off this is one pretty game. The music is incredibly limited as there is just one track used throughout the main game, but it is catchy and pleasant to listen to so it doesn't negatively affect the game as you might expect.
Teyon has implemented a number of additions that serve to spice up the game to varying degrees. A number of control options that let you pick from either Circle Pad or D-Pad for movement, the face buttons for left-handed players, and even the touch screen itself let players choose how to play depending on tastes, though it would be safe to assume the Circle Pad's analogue movement is more precise than the face buttons, but the flexibility is welcome. The High Score table included in the game keeps track of the score, and although it isn't online-enabled it is still a useful tool for seeing top efforts logged. The Achievements system is most likely what will keep players coming back, however, with a varying number of tasks like points and distance goals requiring lots of practice and patience. Bird Mania 3D isn't without issues, but for £1.80 it's difficult to argue the value of what is offered.
Precise and engaging with a sufficient number of control style choices and reasons to return. The core concept is given little variation but is solid enough to stand on its own.
Bright and colourful with a 3D effect that serves to highlight the visuals even more. Animations are thin on the ground but used well when they are.
Extremely limited in choice but the sole backing theme is not one you'll grow tired of listening to in a hurry.
Depends entirely on your gaming preferences. High Score enthusiasts and Achievement seekers will be in digital heaven with this game, but those looking for a meatier experience had best migrate elsewhere.
Not quite the Angry Birds clone that some may believe at first glance, and it isn't without issues, but for the asking price Bird Mania 3D fundamentally holds true to what cheaper quick-burst games need to be to succeed; fun, inimitable, and packing in that 'one more go' factor.