Before iOS gaming took off in a big way, everyone thought of birds as plump chirpy things that woke you up in the morning with song, and occassionally left little white presents on the roof of your car. But since the advent of a certain title, people view them with a bit more suspicion than usual; they’ve become annoyed, frustrated, or just…angry.
But apparently there’s another type of bird out there, the angry bird’s more sangunie cousin. The Lucky Bird.
Lucky Birds City sees you attempting to guide birds who sit around on telephone wires by day into their nests before night falls. This is achieved by pulling down on the wire with your finger (or your toe, if you’re so inclined. Up to you), launching the birds into the air and hopefully straight into their nests. In order to manage their flight path, a thin blue line – nothing to do with the Police, you understand – appears in the direction the bird’s intended trajectory. Let go of the wire, and watch your sparrow, crow, pigeon or Phoenix (joke) darts upward towards home.
Now here’s a question: why can’t these fat-arsed fowls just fly to their nests? What’s wrong with their wings? Why am I having to help an overweight pigeon do something that should come naturally to them? What do these birds ever do for me? Do I for example, expect a red-breasted robin to drive me to work in the morning? Having fumed over these important questions for 13 seconds, I’ve come to the conclusion that birds flying to their nests independent of your control wouldn’t make for a very fun videogame. This is why I don’t make games.
To make things more of a challenge, obstacles are periodically introduced. You start off with the relatively simple task of guiding bird to nest in specified time limit. Easy. Then you realise you’ve got a limited number of moves, then multiple birds are thrown at you, bonuses that open up new levels appear, specific nests for each bird, worn out and hot wires, other birds who attempt to stop you getting home, teleports and spiked pieces of wood. I’m starting to wonder how lucky these birds actually are. Perhaps they should’ve titled the game ‘The Wire’. That would’ve increased day one sales dramatically. Until people discovered it wasn’t based on the hit TV series, of course.
The game does a great job of mixing things up and keeping you on your toes. It never flogs the life out of challenge before introducing a new one, and it’s definitely satisfying to complete each level to see which feindish trial comes next. It’s addictive in that you’re always convinced each new scenario is immediately conqerable before your bird trips off the wire and falls flat on it’s face (bizarrely bursting into a pile of feathers – is concrete kryptonite?)
The controls are straightforward, but do present themselves fiddly at times when the trajectory bar fails to appear quick enough. This isn’t a massive issue early on, but when you’re dealing with dwindling seconds on the clock before the sun goes down, an enraged bird hell bent on blocking your path to the nest, and an action hero with a machine gun pointed…hold on, I think I mixed my games up there. The point is, the more the game throws at you, the more you need the trajectory bar to appear before you’ve even touched the screen. If you know what I mean.
The quirky music and sound effects are cute and just about prevent you from banging your head against a wall when the later stages get tough. The art direction is also lovely. Graphics have a hand drawn feel to them, and look like they’re straight out of a comic book. The birds all look appropriately charming too (I’ve charmed a few birds in my time, but enough of that).
There also seems to be more content on it’s way soon, judging by the fact these birds couldn’t be lucky just anywhere, they had to be lucky specifically in the city. Who’s up for Lucky Birds Country, Lucky Birds Space, heck, what better place for birds to be luck than in Lucky Birds Casino? Maybe I should start making games after all. Or naming them at least.
Title : Lucky Birds City
Format : iPhone
Developer : Articul Play Dev Studio
Publisher : Articul Media LLC
Release Date : 02/05/12
*Articul Media provided SlimGamer.com with a promo code for a review copy.