Nintendo has already thrown a vast amount of low-priced content onto the DSiWare download service, either in the form of the Art Style series, excerpts from retail titles, or even brand new games aimed at the wider audience. Now the developer has crafted another simple-yet-addictive release for a mere 200 Points, Bird & Bombs. Cubed3 takes a look at the European version that hit the service today, 26th February.
The story kicks off with a SPOTTO Trooper being enlisted to help out in a grave situation at the behest of the President. Therefore, without delay the little duck-like character, complete with regiment helmet and bombs at the ready, goes charging into an eerie mansion haunted by ghosts all as part of a rescue mission to ’fight against fright’ in order to save the President’s daughter, who has been unexpectedly apprehended and could well be in mortal danger. The premise is simple in Bird & Bombs, yet at least developer Intelligent Systems (Paper Mario, Fire Emblem, Advance Wars) has added a pleasant amount of purpose to the proceedings.
There is a Story Mode available from the start, where stage after stage must be completed. However, quickly going through the Tutorial first is a handy little option located on the title screen for those wanting to learn the ropes before diving into the thick of the action. Here players are taught how to rotate the on-screen dial using the stylus in order to change the angle of an arching dotted line that stretches from SPOTTO upwards onto the top screen. This line dictates the trajectory the bombs you are about to unleash will travel in. Hovering around the screen are some strange-looking ghouls that very kindly leave their mouths wide open, almost inviting you to throw bombs down their throat. Once you have what you believe to be the perfect alignment, tapping ‘Go’ will launch the explosive up and over, and with any luck it will land in a spirit’s mouth and blow it to pieces. Upon despatching an enemy, and following on from the cute cry of “SPOTTO!”, another bomb is added to your collection, and the aim is to clear a stage of ghostly apparitions before your supply diminishes.
Standard bombs are not the only ones available in Bird & Bombs, though, with the option to tap on a Special Tile in the bottom-left of the lower screen. This allows the player to throw a ‘Special Bomb’ that when lodged in a spectre’s stomach will shatter into several bomb pieces that scatter randomly around the level, and should any of those also get swallowed, they too will multiply until the whole stage has bombs bouncing around and all the spirits quickly removed. Ghosts will sometimes drop Special Tiles, so when the initial three run out, there is no need to worry too much as some may well become available very soon after. Not all ghosts remain stationary, however, with some floating around to add more of a challenge. There are also obstacles dotted in various places during certain stages, all in an effort to test your skills in projectile firing to the limit. Other items can also be blown up, such as floating toilets that deposit Special Tiles when destroyed. The trick is to not always look for a clear path for reaching your goal, instead looking to cleverly bounce bombs off other items, bringing into play a modicum of pre-planning, just as in Q-Games’ recent DSiWare game Reflect Missile (Trajectile in the US), which Cubed3 reviewed here. After a set number of stages have been completed, a boss battle will commence. There is no way for SPOTTO to die, other than running out of bombs, so it is more a case of landing a certain amount of bombs in a large creature’s wide-open jaw, waiting for it to float into an easy-to-reach position, or indeed re-open its mouth after a few seconds of it being closed.
The lack of time limit makes for an enjoyable puzzle effort that avoids unnecessary frustration, and comes with a chirpy, war-like soundtrack, and cute 2D visuals that are reminiscent of the hand-drawn graphics found in Yoshi’s Island on the SNES. Once the Story Mode has been played for a while, the Stage Select option opens up, along with a Challenge Mode where players can hone their firing skills, completing as many stages as possible before running out of bombs. Starting with ten, the remaining ones are carried over to the next stage, with play only ceasing when your supply has completely been wiped out. For a mere 200 Points, just as found with Pyoro (Bird & Beans) and Paper Plane (Paper Airplane), Nintendo has yet again delivered a superbly cheap and addictive gaming experience for the masses. With 50 levels to play through, this is indeed one of the bargains of 2010!
As with Q-Games’ Reflect Missile and titles like Bust-A-Move, the idea of obtaining the correct angle before firing up and over obstacles proves highly addictive and mentally challenging.
Cute, simple visuals that are easy on the eye and are quite reminiscent of the hand-drawn graphics found in Yoshi’s Island on the SNES.
Chirpy, upbeat tunes that have a war-like theme to them, whilst not carrying across any dark, military overtones.
A mere 200 Nintendo Points for 50 main stages and a Challenge Mode definitely make Bird & Bombs fantastic value for money.
DSiWare owners will have seen exactly how addictive some of these smaller Nintendo releases can be, and as with its predecessor, Bird & Beans (Pyoro in Europe), this new title proves to be equally as addictive, brain taxing at times and thoroughly great value. Bird & Bombs is most certainly a must-buy for strategy and puzzle fans alike.
Nintendo's having the same success with this here in the UK that it had with other 200 Point games, such as Pyoro and Paper Plane!
Bird & Bombs has just entered the UK DSiWare Top 20 at No.7, with Flight Control climbing up to No.5. For reference, Pyoro's still hanging around at No.11 and No.4. There is no dislodging the web browser and Flipnote from No.1 and No.2!
i want to get this game or trajectile but i cant decide, this one is cheaper but trajectile looks better and more fun