When I first saw this title, I thought to myself “oh please don’t let it be another Angry Birds clone” as this is the first impression this game gives.
So I installed it on my PlayStation Vita and fired it up, and boy was I wrong, not only was I wrong, but I was hooked!
I am talking about a little gem strangely called Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken developed by Ratloop Asia, which takes on a side scrolling shooter similar to games such as Mark of the Ninja, Deadlight and the fabulous Shadow Complex.
You play as Hardboiled Chicken, he’s a badass soldier, out on a mission to destroy the evil penguin leader and his troops in the region of Albatropolis, using your unique abilities with a vast arsenal of weaponry.
Hardboiled Chicken is also haunted by his rough past which drives him onward, which is illustrated with fantastically created cinematic sequences and great voice acting. I enjoyed the story which is told more visually than having a hefty dialogue to listen too (or read) and it has a dark humour to it that maintained its entertainment throughout. Hardboiled Chicken kept me playing to see what happens next which went hand in hand with the fantastic gameplay.
It’s a side scrolling shoot me up and adventure game with a little bit of puzzler in there too, and it plays like a charm. Hardboiled Chicken can use guns and grenades that he finds, and what is worth noting that I loved was the little clips of Hardboiled Chicken picking up weapons that he finds with a little rocking soundtrack.
As expected L is aim and R is fire, grenades have to be aimed using a trajectory before throwing and there is a jump button. At certain intervals, the gameplay changes to a jetpack section where players control Hardboiled Chicken with a jetpack strapped to him, holding X uses the thrusters and the left analog stick directs him.
These sections I felt were tacked on, but a nice change of pace, however, enemies were difficult to hit and they seemed endless. Hardboiled Chicken also has use of mind controlling grenades which when detonated near an enemy, enables the player to control that soldier to assist in puzzles or taking out certain enemies blocking the path.
A small feature which impressed me about this was the inclusion of a suicide action; players can perform this when they have finished using that enemy soldier. When used, the enemy puts his gun to his own head and blows his brains out before returning control to Hardboiled Chicken, very cool! Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken doesn’t really use the Vitas unique features apart from the gyroscope which is only used to move the background around, which gave Rocketbirds’ environments a bit of believable depth, but it didn’t do anything to enhance the already good gameplay.
I was impressed with Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken`s visuals; it mixed 2D characters with 3D backgrounds nicely, plenty of blood and gore to keep the morbid satisfied and a hell of a lot of character.
The protagonist is tough looking, which makes him a joy to play and the penguin leader is as sinister looking as bad guys usually are, all of which look amazingly sharp on the PS Vitas screen. The jetpack parts were the least visually pleasing but these sections are few and far between, and it’s easily forgiven thanks to the rest of what the game has to offer.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken sports an impressive 15 chapters full of action and not too difficult puzzles minus the mediocre jetpack sections. Rock band New World Revolution provides a fitting soundtrack which sets the tone perfectly with their indie rock gritty sound. Mean bad guys and meaner good guys, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken has it all and is one of my favourite 2D scrolling shooters now, the best I have played in a long time.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken
Developer: Ratloop Asia
Publisher: Ratloop Asia
Genre: Side Scrolling Puzzle
Release Date:13th February 2013
Story – 4.5
Graphics – 4/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Overall – 4.5/5