All cuteness aside, this little gem developed by Klik Games (FastBall), has the workings of a compelling and thought provoking puzzle game. It even left me scratching my head a couple of times, more than I like to admit, when trying to solve some of the difficult puzzles- and I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent. So if you’re looking for challenging puzzles Birdie in Trouble has 75+ levels of them in spades!!
“I can fly! no wait……..I can’t! AHHHHHHHHH“
As puzzles go, the object of Birdie in Trouble is a relatively easy one (or so I thought). All you have to do is get from entry nest to exit nest. In order to make it to the exit nest, you can only hop on one leaf platform at a time, no doubt carefully considering which leaf platform to jump to next. To do this you simply tap on one of the leaves growing on the tree and your little birdie jumps on them as if they were platforms.
Unfortunately your little birdie hasn’t exactly learned how to fly just yet, so hopping across the leaves is all it can do to make it to the exit nest. This sounds simple enough, except that each leaf platform can only be landed on and jumped off only once. After that the leaves get super shy (quite possibly being overwhelmed by the cuteness of the little birdie) and decide to instantly un-grow themselves, disappearing back into the tree leaving nothing by an empty space where they once were.
To make getting from entry to exit nest even more “challenging”, these shy leaves also have many different generic effects. On some of the leaves you will notice arrow icons (amongst others) floating over them. These icons indicate the kind effect that will occur when you hop onto that leaf.
If you hop on a leaf with a “down arrow” icon floating over it for example, the leaf will disappear under your birdie and you will fall down one leaf, or off the tree entirely if there are no leaves left to land on.
On the flip-side though, a leaf with an “up arrow” floating above it, will boost you up one leaf platform then instantly disappear back into the tree afterwards. There are also many other kinds of effects to be aware of too, such as: a simple boost up and to the right effect, another effect that will cancel out a pattern of other leaves, and a bounce one leaf to the right effect; just to name a few.
Trust me these leaves have mind bending effects
I really tried to like Birdie in Trouble with its cute cartoonish art style, the catchy music, the flawless integration of OpenFeint, the simple controls and a somewhat interesting puzzle gameplay concept. But in the end I really couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it as much as I would have like to.
There’s lots of potential here, but the developer decided to throw in a requirement, one that should give many gamers pause (unless your a hardcore puzzle loving fanatic), before purchasing this game; even at the .99 cent price point.
This requirement really turned what felt like a pleasurable puzzle game experience, into a complete nightmare for me, in a way that honestly doesn’t make much sense. Not only do you have to make it to the exit nest without falling by jumping across leaves that may or may not have effects (easier said then done on some of the levels), but you also have to land on each and every leaf platform before completion of the level is granted to you.
Even if there is a way to safely make it to the other nest without having to hop on each leaf, you will still fail the level. The only way to progress to the next level is by hopping on ALL the leaves in a carefully considered pattern or be left hanging with no way to get to the exit nest. Where all you can do is hop off the leaf and fall off the tree into the abyss of failure.
So close, yet sooooo far away
I can see how this requirement of having to “land on each and every leaf” would be appealing for hardcore puzzle loving fanatics or as a stand alone difficulty setting “a hard mode” so to speak, maybe even a bonus challenge that some of the later levels of the game could have. But being built right into the core gameplay, in a way that isn’t very obvious at first, and isn’t explained well in context, will only serve to frustrate casual gamers. Those who are just looking for a quick fun puzzle game experience beware, what you have here (on some levels) are puzzles that will punish you without mercy, unless careful consideration is put into each and every jump (especially the first one).
In all honesty, Birdie in Trouble has the potential to grab some New and Noteworthy action, if not for some odd game design choices. It’s got a lot going for it and most of the issues could easily be resolved with future updates. But as is, I can’t recommended this game to anyone but hardcore puzzle loving fanatics. If that sounds like you, and your all about challenging puzzles, then this this game has you covered with 75+ of them. However if it’s a fun and casual gaming experience you’re after, this is one birdie you should probably leave alone.
iFanzine Verdict: Its cute cartoony art style, catchy music, OpenFeint integration and simple controls could easily land this Birdie of Trouble in a cozy position to grab some “New and Noteworthy action. However, some very odd game design choices turn what could have been a wonderful and fun casual puzzle game experience into a complete nightmare.
Score: 4 out of 10
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