Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken – The Original Cock of War!

Feature Pic“Chickens shooting each other on jetpacks?  SOLD!”  These were the exact words I spat out before I purchased Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken and before my wife decided to take the kids and move back in with her mother.  I guess any other time her leaving would have bothered me, but the joke’s on her!  I have a game to play!

IT’S TIME FOR SOME JETPACTION!!!

2nd PicGame: Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken

Console: PSN

Developer: Ratloop

Publisher: Ratloop

Release Year: 2013

I wish I could take credit for “jetpaction,” but that delicious portmanteau comes straight from the protagonist Hardboiled Chicken’s manly mouth.  And I’m happy to report that the game has plenty more virile gems where that came from!  My favorite being this one:

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Reap it!

I have no idea what it means, but Hardboiled says it right before he blows the head off of his rival!  Studly!

Rocketbirds is kind of a weird game for a couple of reasons, the first concerning its gameplay, and the second its tone.  First, the gameplay.  It’s a strange mash-up of shmup and puzzle/platformer, or, to be more specific, it’s like you’re playing Asteroids and Abe’s Oddysee, except the asteroids have been replaced by penguins with jet packs and Abe’s been given an Uzi and a shotgun.  Obviously immeasurable improvements in both cases.

The shmup sections are few and far between, comprising 3 of the game’s 15 chapters.  Though completely underutilized and short-lived, these sections are definitely fun while they last.  Basically, you play as a tiny microbe that shoots at equally tiny amoebas until the giant blimp exhausts its amoeba supply.  Then, you go inside the blimp and take it down from the inside!  LIKE A MAN!

Dogfight

I don’t think the guy actually says that…

The shmup fights aren’t always in this teeny-tiny mode, but it’s annoying when they are.  After taking down the blimp, you’ll return to the puzzle/platformer sections that make up the bawk of the game.

Fog

That’s a joke, son!  Ya missed it!

And if you didn’t like that joke, how’s this for bad taste: Here’s one of the in-game trophies you earn if you kick ass during these blimp sections:

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Too soon, video game…

Getting that nastiness behind us, the platforming sections in RHC are everything you’d every dream from a game that plays like Abe’s Oddysee and Out of This World: Delayed as fuck.  It’s not so bad because the shooting is responsive and bloody and masculine, but I don’t know why these kinds of games (non-scrolling sidescrollers?) think that my pressing the jump button is a suggestion.  I missed plenty of jumps because of the stupid jumping delay!  Bitching aside, these sections are actually pretty great.  Some of the puzzles will make you scratch your head while the gunfights will keep you on your toes.  And, because the puzzles and fighting are spaced out and intermingled so well, neither overstay their welcome.  Plus, there’s a roll move you can do in the game that makes me laugh.

back-and-forth

My wife’s gonna be so pissed that she missed this!

Now, let’s get to the other reason that makes this game weird: its tone.  It’s easy to see the game’s aesthetic is cartoonish.  I’d also like to point out that the animation is awesome and I love the art style, but, despite its look, the game’s unapologetically brutal.  For instance, here’s a scene right after I shot a guy.  Spoilers: that’s not ketchup on the wall.

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Remember when I said I’d kill you last?  I lied.

And here’s a guy who get’s his head shot off in a cut scene:

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Don’t worry, dude.  He’s probably fine.

That’s some violent shit, right there!  But at the same time it’s kind of funny seeing such horrific things happen to cartoon birds.  I don’t know if that’s telling of me or of society as a whole… In any case, I’d say the most brutal thing in this game is how you can take control of a soldier’s mind (an ability you obtain in the game) and have him commit suicide.  It’s really awkward when you have someone do it on national television.

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“Chickening Out” is probably a racial slur in this game.

And sprinkled within all the gore are nuggets of comedy genius.  The enemy soldiers’ in-game dialogue is always great.  The best parts are when you take control of a soldier’s mind and encounter another soldier.  The stuff the unwitting soldiers say is dripping with so much dramatic irony that not murdering them would be a tragedy. (SUPER ENGLISH TEACHER JOKE!)

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This soldier continues to say stuff like this.  I’d never laughed so hard while putting a bullet in someone’s face.

If the odd combination of excessive violence and humorous cartoony graphics isn’t risqué enough for you, the game also delves into things like torture, genocide, cloning, and children armies.  Though, to be fair, these are all presented to you through music videos, which I’ve decided is the preferred way I’d like all my exposition given to me from this point forward!

The music for this scene is done by New World Revolution.  Their brand of depressing/pretentious punk rock works really well in this game and adds a lot to the experience.  A few of their tracks are played throughout, including a particularly kick ass track called “Double Agents” that plays while you fight the final boss/your rival.  It’s an intense fight that’s way more intense if you play through the game’s toughest difficulty, Hardboiled Mode!  During this mode, bullets are scarce, you get a knife, and your rival becomes a hulking monster.  It’s always awesome when a game rewards your tenacity and skill with a tough boss.  It’s so gratifying when you finally take the bastard down.  And the teabagging is always gratifying, too.

teabag

Always.

Ultimately, this game kicked ass!  Bringing down a totalitarian government is one of the manliest things you can ever do in your life, and Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken lets you do it with plenty of guns while riding a jet pack!  It doesn’t get any more badass than that!  I didn’t play the multiplayer mode because I don’t have friends, and, despite the jumping delay and the fact that having to use the Vita’s rear touchscreen to throw grenades and mind-controlling bugs are practices in frustration, the game is fun as hell and a solid single player experience.  I never got tired of sneaking up on someone and blasting them with a shotgun, but how could that ever get boring?

I’d also like to reveal that Ratloop, the game’s developer, gave me exclusive screenshots for the game’s sequel!  And by “gave me” I mean “included within the game as a reward for completing it.”  The game will be called Rocketbirds 2: Evolution, and it’s going to have Train Tanks!

rb2

HOLY CRAP MAKE THIS NOW!!!!!!!!!!

The shot of Hardboiled ramping on a motorcycle makes me want to punch things, it’s so awesome!  That’s the single thing they could have had him do to make him look manlier and more badass, and they fucking did it!  In order to keep Hardboiled as one of the manliest badasses in gaming, Ratloop needs to ditch the girly puzzle/platformer aspect and straight up rip off Contra for their sequel!  Make it happen, Ratloop!

Thanks for your Playing!  And don’t anyone point out the irony that chickens are female!  I’m well-aware of the fact.

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