On paper, a mohawk-rocking pigeon on a skateboard sounds hilarious. It even sounds like it could rival the likes of Goat Simulator or any other animal-themed game out there in the wild. But in reality — it just doesn’t work. And people have most definitely caught on to the fact that, despite its gimmicks, SkateBIRD is, unfortunately, one of those ideas that just doesn’t gel well when it comes to putting paper to print.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater it is not. Nor is it even close to any of the Skate chapters, or The Simpson’s Skateboarding for that matter. In fact, it’s pretty much in a world of its own, leaps and bounds from most quality extreme sports games on the market. But having said that, what would we change if given the chance to steal the reins? Well, let’s break it down, shall we?
Okay, so the first port of call for developer Glass Bottom to see to is the actual controls that the game employs. Because let’s face it — they’re dreadful. And that’s not great, considering the game involves a variety of tricky manoeuvres and patterns. And yet, for some reason, SkateBIRD has quite the opposite of that, being a far cry from any level of fluidity at all, with most of the gameplay being an underwhelming clunky mess.
Play one of the Skate chapters and you’ll clock the satisfaction that courses through your head as you execute a combo. But in SkateBIRD, you’ll struggle to so much as ascend a ramp without bolting off into a series of inanimate objects. So, not exactly the most entertaining experience out there. A lot needs to be fixed, though the gameplay itself is definitely a priority Glass Bottom need to acknowledge before sinking any deeper.
4. Better Levels
Admittedly, SkateBIRD does have some well-built levels, and there certainly is an abundance of quirky features that flesh out the map. However, with that being said, the novelty of skating through a bedroom on books and shelves definitely wears off a little too quickly, leaving you to aimlessly soar without a second wind to drive you.
On the surface, SkateBIRD is a visually appealing game, with plenty of colours drizzled over its canvas and throughout its levels. But that’s about it. It looks nice, but when it comes to the soul of the environment — it lacks big time, leaving a colourful shell with very little content to be enjoyed within.
3. Pigeon’s Pro Skater?
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room for a second. SkateBIRD. It’s basically a template based on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, only with more Disney’s Extreme Skate Adventure infusions than Neversoft’s award-winning formula. And it’s because of this striking resemblance that players of the chic-based game can’t help but throw a bit of shade its way, sort of like an overly-protective parent guarding their firstborn.
It’s one thing to gather a few ingredients from a source, but to drain the entire vein dry and almost replicate it entirely is another thing, and one we don’t necessarily agree with. And yet, despite the blatant Pro Skater references, SkateBIRD is still adamant on living in the shadow of the gaming phenomenon. So, while the characters may be different and a world apart from actual human pro skaters, its actual structure is a disappointing rip-off that rings one too many bells. And that’s not good.
2. 150% Chirping
While the sounds of the board grazing the curb or the wheels locking with the concrete is completely natural, and music to most of our ears — having to endure the endless chirping from a bird trying to pop a chickflip, on the other hand, is far from satisfying. And believe me when I say — it gets old real fast. Like, real fast.
If the Pro Skater route was decided before the work started on the game, then we would’ve at least expected a quality soundtrack to drown out the tedious sound effects on launch. I mean, we’re not saying it needs Goldfinger in order to be a global success or anything, but if it’s already rolling down that route then sure — slap “Superman” into the mix and see what happens. Just please, no more chirping. Please.
Like Pro Skater, SkateBIRD has you rolling around completing a series of objectives in each unique area. Objectives like collecting a hidden video tape, or hoarding a bunch of letters that spell out a word. You know — everything that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater had, only without the harsh two-minute timer gawping over you. So more like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 then, basically.
Of course, there is a healthy number of additional missions to take under your wing along the way, though nothing that really stands out enough to make a lasting impression. Like a few random sprinkles peppered over a blatant rip-off, it’s clear Glass Bottom wanted to make a last-ditched effort of severing its connection with the Birdman himself. But despite their best efforts, it just wasn’t enough, and SkateBIRD, unfortunately, will continue to be seen as the lazy clone with a few minor tweaks until it finds its own two feet to stand on.
Do you agree with our list? Have you had a chance to play SkateBIRD yet? Let us know over on our socials here.