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Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken Review

What is the concept? Building upon the critically-acclaimed Flash-based indie, Rocketbirds: Revolution!, recent PSN release, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken expands the title’s core concept, adding additional chapters, cinematics, a co-operative mode, as well as a handful of gameplay tweaks. Players assume the role of Hardboiled, a tough-as-nails rooster whose handlebar-shaped wattle and comb-covering bandana make the protagonist resemble a henhouse version of Hulk Hogan. After an aerial firefight renders Hardboiled’s jetpack inoperable, the hero lands in enemy territory, providing an escapade packed with both puzzles as well as perfunctory action.

In execution, Rocketbirds feels like an Oddworld game, albeit one where reoccurring protagonist Abe is packing heat. From similar friendly-freeing objectives, access puzzles, an ability to mind-control enemies, and even the same static jump distances, the inspiration is irrefutable. Smartly, Hardboiled discovers an increasingly powerful arsenal along his adventure, harmonizing the title’s exploration and key-card searching with a steady stream of gun battles. Periodically, players even take to skies in short sky-based battles which ditch the confines of the game’s moody interiors.

Would I like the game? While Rocketbirds admirably straddles the space between action-platformer and puzzler, occasionally the digression into each genre is overextended. While the title’s conundrums aren’t especially challenging, the sporadic crate-pushing puzzles can feel overly protracted. Likewise, gun fights with waves of identically-drawn foes don’t always feel satisfying.

That said, this console generation hasn’t offered a surplus of titles like Rocketbirds. Both pleasingly intuitive (with options for directional pad and analog-stick based input methods), and decently varied, the game is likely to please players who spent hours glued to their television playing cinematic platformers such as Blackthorne or Flashback.

What are the game’s strengths? Beyond a fifteen stage main campaign, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken also provides ten local co-operative which deliver brisk and succinct rescue missions. Swamping Hardboiled’s roll maneuver for the ability to stack two diminutive birds on top of each other, two player missions have their own distinct action-oriented vibe elevated by the game’s character selection options.

Visually, the title is consistently impressive, filled with pleasing hand-drawn backdrops and characters who animate with fluidity. Occasionally, the camera will zoom in for an close up, endowing the game with a cinematic flair. Regretfully, the perspective during the jetpack sequences are pulled bit too far, transforming Hardboiled and his foes into little more than bloodthirsty flies, buzzing around vacant aerial environments. Sonically, the game is elevated by a soundtrack by New World Revolution, which deliver a regular procession of Joy Division-inspired interludes.

What could have been improved? Unlike the Flash version of Rocketbirds, where foes are downed after a bullet or two, Hardboiled Chicket requires players to pepper penguins with a steady stream of ammo. Unfortunately, this change presents a problem when more than one antagonist is in the player’s line of fire. While one enemy is being juggled, the other baddie is free to shoot at the player. Although short bursts seem to alternate between adversaries, expect to take a few cheap hits. Occasionally, the game will respawn Hardboiled in a hallway with a readied penguin, putting players at a slight disadvantage.

Is it worth the money? With a three hour single-player campaign and a few additional hours of co-operative stages, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken doesn’t quite warrant it’s $11.99 price tag. Without an online component, level editor, and any similar superfluities, the title can’t justify its rationale for breaking the ten-dollar threshold, making Hardboiled Chicken a slightly pricey downloadable entree. As such, players are recommended to wait for a sale.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

24 comments

  1. I was curious about this one. So it plays just like the PC version, just with additional levels, then?

  2. Is this PS3 only?

  3. This and Payday got my money last week. Unlike the majority, I don’t regret the purchases at all.

  4. When Deagle gives a C, it’s best to stay away.

  5. “make the protagonist resemble a henhouse version of Hulk Hogan”

    Funny, I just studied alteration in my English class. I’m using this as an example.

  6. My friend got this last week. For me the shooting is cool ( I noticed the same thing about getting hit while juggling) but the controls feel really stiff compared to most platforming games.

  7. Samuel L. Asskicker

    You guys are soooo wrong on this one. Rocketbirds kicks ass, looks great, and is super fun to play. Playing co-op is a really nice bonus as well.

  8. Sounds a bit soft boiled if you ask me.

  9. Is this the long lost sequel to Alfred Chicken?

  10. Weird. I agree with all the criticisms, but I don’t think the game deserves a C+ More of a B-level game to me. I really had fun with it. And I can see the BlackThorne connection.

  11. It’s a PS3 exclusive and yeah, $11.99 is a bit too much. No reason why this isn’t $9.99.

  12. Rocketbirds was the first flash game that I ever bought. I always thought they were free.

  13. The screens make it look kind of cool. Not really sure if its worth $11.99.

  14. Any PSN demo for this one?

  15. “making Hardboiled Chicken a slightly pricey downloadable entree”

    I see what do did there.

    Good review, Deagle.

  16. Fun game and all but feels a little dated.

  17. Thanks for the review!

  18. Out of curiosity, how much is the PC version?

  19. Kind of a cheap demo, if you ask me.

  20. Let me guess- Nikes?