SkateBIRD review – TheXboxHub
Skateboarding games have a certain pedigree to live up to. Tony Hawk’s professional skater has established himself as a staple in the genre, pumping game after game to set the benchmark. EA also has its name in the hat with its Skate games; I know we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that they actually do Skate 4. However, now there appears to be a newcomer, the new title from Glass Bottom Games, SkateBIRD. Will it be New benchmark for skateboarding games? Or will it fly away in a closed window, collapsing to the ground in a shower of feathers?
You play as a bird (or should I say birb, as the game repeatedly calls you) of your choice and you must work with your other feathered companions to find out why Big Friend, your human owner, has gone and left you. . It’s a pretty straightforward story and didn’t hold me back for too long. But let’s be honest, the majority of skateboarding games aren’t exactly built around hours of dialogue, in-depth storytelling, and lots of twists and turns.
You can fully customize your character (birb), able to choose from a truly surprising amount of bird breeds to play. There is a minor woodpecker, a kookaburra, a raven; the list goes on. You can also dress up your birb with headwear, backpacks and sunglasses. I’ll be honest and admit I spent a little more time on this than I want to mention. After a lot of fun deciding who to be and what to wear, I couldn’t wait to put my claws on a board and start skating. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of the fun ended.
No matter how long I’ve been playing as a birb, I’ve always struggled to understand the physics of SkateBIRD. Playing as a bird / bird is different than playing a human. You’re a lot lighter for one, but you also don’t push the ground with your foot and glide / float slightly. This makes browsing every area, frankly, beyond frustration. You see, in SkateBIRD you can’t seem to move slowly, but rather to the left to detonate the kilt in any direction. If you have a mission where some finesse is involved, I wish you good luck. Things can be tweaked slightly in the menu system, but I don’t understand why the game should even have this setting; just slow the damn bird down. I discovered that I had to reset over and over again as I was flapping my little wings wildly, unable to climb a ramp or unable to reach an area with my board stuck on the ground, for reasons beyond me.
The tips are also pretty straightforward. You can perform a small variety of flip tricks such as kickflips and impossible, you can grind, wedge and also grab your board, but since you don’t have an arm you grab it with your beak, unfortunately limiting the number of grips to your disposition. . This minimal array of tips ages quite quickly and within 30 minutes I felt like the whole variety had been seen. From that point on, everything feels the same in SkateBIRD.
The camera is also incredibly jerky, and the weird angles it offers can be incredibly frustrating. When you stop, holding the left stick, the camera will tilt 180 degrees. All. Time. This means that it takes you away from your location where you are on the map, immediately having to reverse to keep moving. It was getting more and more boring and I went out of my way to try never to stop completely. Obviously, this makes the whole speed / finesse aspect of the game even more boring.
The missions themselves are reminiscent of Tony Hawk’s early games; collect a number of items, find this / that, do combos, do tricks and so on. He’s certainly able to inject great feelings of nostalgia, reminding me of how many hours I’ve spent in these iconic skate games. It is, however, both a blessing and a curse. It reminded me of how many amazingly creative and fun challenges there were in other skating games that I had played before. SkateBIRD, however, is not like those. In fact, some of the challenges made me really quit smoking, get some rest, and come back with a clear mind; not because they are particularly difficult, but because the terrible control system and quirky physics make some of them so difficult to perform.
These challenges are brought to you by other * sighs * birbs around the map. However, as the birds are so small they are really hard to find! In other games of this genre, arrows / markers indicate the objectives, but SkateBIRD does not bring anything so clear. I have been left to google for how to find some of the other birbs and have come across comments from many people with the same issue. It turns out that when you pause the game and see a screenshot of the map you are currently playing, there is a small, very small, yellow dot on the map. This is where the birb is located which offers you your next challenge. This really needs to be fixed and made more evident in an update.
Plus, SkateBIRD’s visuals seem to be far from what you’d expect from something coming out in 2021. The colors are vivid but it’s a choppy, chunky experience, which comes with an incredible amount of texture. pop-in and bland surroundings. He won’t make me sing his praises.
There are some good things, however, and the level designs are quite fun. You’re smol (let’s get into the spirit of it) and find yourself squeaking pencils and keyboards, riding dirty pizza boxes, and folding “Thrusher” magazines into quarter pipes. It’s things like that that are appreciated. That’s one of the obvious perks of SkateBIRD actually, especially for someone familiar with old tech decks and the chance to relive those imaginary skateparks.
There are also five levels to choose from in total, so you can maintain the variety. Music is also a pretty fun touch; a mix of icy jazzy moods as well as ska, often covered with sound clips from ancient nature shows celebrating different birds.
SkateBIRD is a great gadget. It’s super fun creating a bird (I don’t call it a birb anymore) and the level design is really fresh. However, with its increasingly frustrating physique, repetitive challenges, and bland graphics, it’s ultimately a poor copy of other top skateboarding games.
Fly your way to the Xbox Store to retrieve SkateBIRD
Skateboarding games have a certain pedigree to live up to. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has established himself as a staple in the genre, pumping match after match to set the benchmark. EA also has its name in the hat with its Skate games; I know we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing they’re making Skate 4. However, now there seems to be a newcomer to the block, Glass Bottom Games’ new title, SkateBIRD. Will it be the new benchmark for skateboarding games? Or will it fly away in a closed window, collapsing on …
- Fun birb maker
- Really cool ideas for level design
- The music is light and different
- Horrible physics and terrible controls
- Graphics need a lot of work
- A bad copy of other games
- Thank you very much for the free copy of the game go to – Glass Bottom Games
- Formats – Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, PC, Switch
- Version reviewed – Xbox Series X
- Release date – Sep 16, 2021
- Introductory price from – Â£ 16.74