Rocketbirds 2: Evolution (PC) Review

By Leo Epema 09.02.2017

Review for Rocketbirds 2: Evolution on PC

Rocketbirds 2: Evolution is a twin-stick shooter that promises to give players a high-octane experience that will leave them wanting more. However, this doesn't quite deliver their 'Cock of War.' Instead, it leaves us clucking our tongues with concern. Read on to find out why.

Starting in the menu screen, Rocketbirds 2 promises something that looks fairly professional. A chicken decked out in space gear stands in front of a futuristic backdrop. He looks ready to kick some ass, all the while staring at the screen unimpressed. The reality couldn't be much farther from the truth.

The game starts out with an awkwardly brief and laggy intro that does not explain any of the events of the previous instalment. The hero simply finds out through the news that an evil penguin lacking a unique personality is still alive. At the start of the game, a taste is given of the unimpressive humour. The first enemy (a rifle-wielding penguin) takes out a smartphone, talking about how he's got a new number and should really stop talking as he doesn't want to lose his job. Whether or not this is supposed to be funny is unclear, but the theme of penguins using phones comes back throughout the game. There might have been some cheap laughs in it if the penguins had trouble using them, considering they have no hands, but that's not the case. The humour comes across as the kind of humour an old, out-of-touch grandfather or corporate leader would come up with. It's filled with tropes, but the tropes aren't turned on their heads. No, a simple evil laugh should suffice, it seems. Clearly, no comedians were hired to create a funny script.

Screenshot for Rocketbirds 2: Evolution on PC

Moving to the first indoor area, a rather strange 2.5D effect assaults the senses, with the far background moving more than elements at the front of the screen. It makes everything look out of kilter. That said, the environments look quite detailed and have nice contrast and vibrant colours. Occasionally, the backgrounds even contain posters or signs to read, adding to the game's charm. Thankfully, the voice acting is fairly good, with characters hitting the right pitch, putting the right amount of emotion and kind of emotion behind things. This at least softens the blow dealt by the lack of a storyline other than 'penguins versus chickens.'

The combat is no better than the hit-or-miss presentation. Aiming feels a little awkward, with there being both a reticule and a dot-shaped mouse pointer. Having separate functions for aiming and directional movement is odd, considering most games simply allow shooting in the direction the character is facing. The problem here is that the mouse pointer doesn't stay in front of the character; it remains in the original spot on the screen if the mouse isn't touched. That can get annoying in group fights when trying to face one direction with the pointer. It necessitates constant moving of the mouse, and if it's in just the wrong spot, Hardboiled Chicken will point spastically in any direction.

Screenshot for Rocketbirds 2: Evolution on PC

The pointer is useless anyway, considering there is already a reticule showing how high Hardboiled Chicken is aiming. There is no point to moving the pointer farther to the left or right (horizontally), because it doesn't change what Hardboiled Chicken can hit or what he's aiming at. Worse still, if the mouse is moved only slightly when the pointer is just over Hardboiled, he will aim in the wrong direction or to the ground. The developer should've removed the pointer and used the fixed reticule instead. Thankfully, the controls are at least fluid and very responsive.

The weapons are very simplistic, with none of them adding much to the replayability of the game or its dynamism. The game revolves mostly around shooting in the right direction, while evading bullets by jumping and running. The vast majority of weapons are automatic rifles, alternated with the occasional shotgun or single-shot rifle. All of them will hit the enemy provided they're aimed in the right direction, there is no skill involved in using them. One might think the weapons would vary in terms of how much recoil they possess. It wouldn't be out of the norm for a game like this to include weapons that need to be aimed very precisely to hit something with them. Unfortunately, it's all just a game of knowing how far away to be from the enemy. Provided Hardboiled Chicken is in range, it devolves into knowing when to jump and when to run.

Screenshot for Rocketbirds 2: Evolution on PC

The thing is, this wouldn't be so bad if the environments offered some kind of strategic element. Destructible things, things to use for extra platforming to outsmart the enemies, anything would greatly add to the overall experience. As it is, a game focused on repeatedly pressing the left mouse button can only go so far. It's sad, because this game has much promise. Aside from the sometimes-annoying mouse pointer, the weapons themselves look nice and sound decent. The starting SMG does low damage, but has a large clip and a high rate of fire. Another rifle even has the added effect of pushing enemies back. The spread of the weapons could've been more unique per weapon too, as many weapons simply fire accurately in a straight line. That means crowd-control is almost non-existent with some weapons. It makes the choice between two equally accurate weapons arbitrary. If one weapon is just as accurate but does more damage, why keep using the old weapon?

It's not all bad, though, because the developers got the basics right. Want to take out a powerful enemy from close up? Use a shotgun. Want some more crowd-control? Well, you're going to have to use a grenade launcher (or a shotgun for close range), but at least there is an option for crowd-control, right? It's just a shame there's so few enemies to kill in each area - it renders most fights a dull affair. On a more negative note, it seems grenades and a cover system were usable in the previous instalment, but not in this one. When there's so little spice, removing the powder from the keg just isn't good. Boss fights are only decent, with the first boss only able to be wounded if shot in a specific appendage. While the boss can hurt himself if his guided missiles are led back to him, there isn't much to the battle otherwise. It doesn't even go through different difficulty stages.

It's good that there's no huge amount of backtracking, but the platforming is too basic. It's about controlling enemies to open doors or make lifts go up. There are no secret areas, no Easter eggs, and no alternate routes to circumvent things. It's a missed opportunity, which describes this game well.

Screenshot for Rocketbirds 2: Evolution on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Rocketbirds 2 suffers from hit-or-miss presentation, with nice rock music in the background occasionally, but an awkward intro. The humour is insipid, focusing on 'funny voices' and tropes. The combat, while getting the basics of weapon types right, never amounts to more than 'shoot and dodge,' and dodging doesn't involve skill or focus. A dearth of enemies and banal platforming focusing solely on enemy manipulation to open doors and such doesn't help. This mediocre game won't entertain the pros, but serves as an okay intro to twin-stick shooters.

Developer

Ratloop Asia

Publisher

Reverb Triple XP

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
RudyC3

There are 1 members online at the moment.