Fowl Play: Rocketbirds Revolution!

By Kieron Gillen on November 2nd, 2009 at 8:08 pm.

This is the intro video, but it's really good fun

Always good to see a developer who knows exactly what they’re doing. I’ve clicked on the link to play the flash demo of Rocketbirds Revolution, and come away thinking “a modern Flashback, but with Chickens”. Going back to the mail and I discover that the Delphine-classic is the top of their list of influences. In other words, it’s in the line of the original Prince of Persia of slower-paced, “adult” 2D platform adventures. But with – er – chickens and assorted other fowl. The other thing to note is that it’s what I’ll describe as a premier flash game – in that while there’s a demo to play, you have to pay to unlock the full adventure, which you play on their site by logging in. The advantage is being able to play wherever in the world there’s a net connection. The disadvantage is requiring a net connection to play. I’ve only played the demo so far, and plan to go back soon, but this is an enormously slick and stylish experience so far. With chickens. Footage follows…

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29 Comments »

  1. Okami says:

    It’s not the first flash game that allows you to play a free demo, but charges for the full game. There was this SmashTV like game with the upgradable robot some time ago. I think you even linked to it on RPS. I don’t quite remember what it was called though.

  2. Teck Lee Tan says:

    Cheers, Kieron. Glad you’re enjoying it so far, and thanks for the pimpage. :)

    (I’ll be cutting a new trailer together in the next day or two. That one was a bit hastily put together during crunch. :p)

    • H says:

      Good God, that trailer looks so slick! And you cut that in a rush? I’d hate to see what you’d do given more time!

  3. CMaster says:

    Awesome intro, some gorgeous backgrounds.

    Unresponsive controls and unfair (or at least unfun) combat made for a real turn-off though.

  4. Big Daddy says:

    But internet flash games should provide short bouts of insta-fun. This seems to drag on a bit and takes a while to explain the simple controls and concepts. And why does everyone insist on unskippable cutscenes these days?

  5. kinglog says:

    Yep – the well thought out combat really made another world (and blackthorne) work. I don’t remember flashback’s combat very well. There’s not much to this combat system…

  6. James G says:

    Hehe, I gave a double take at the line “a modern Flashback, but with Chickens” and ended up having to click on just to make sure that we were talking about the same Flashback. We were.

    Incidently I quite like the song playing in the trailer, although its a bit outside my usual tastes.

  7. Sputnik says:

    Jesus, that brings back some memories. About flashback. Not chickens. I am so buying it.

  8. HexagonalBolts says:

    Reminds me a little of Abe’s Oddessy etc, although only judging by the video

  9. SmallIvoryKnight says:

    Frankly, I enjoyed the intro movie a lot more than I did the demo.

    Still a good use of a half hour, though.

  10. Blue says:

    Oh man, that looks slick. I’m interested that the footage isn’t just succeeding in the game, though, but getting shot – knowing how damage works and seeing potential issues (like getting super-bounced by enemy fire from 2 directions) seems like… I dunno. Honesty? Hinting that the game is tricky without winking and going “oooo this is HARD.” Although I suppose relating it to Flashback basically did that already, huh.

    Also, what’s the song in that trailer? I wants it, I does.

  11. BabelFish says:

    I’ve been unable to stop watching the intro trailer.

    Just judging from the combat in the demo, it feels like one of those games where you’re constantly balancing on the very edge of losing control. With the proper movements and reactions, the demo combat ended up being pretty easy (I’m assuming it’s the start of the game too) but when things go wrong they go REALLY wrong and you end up getting juggled to death by three penguins with SMGs.

    Likely going to pick it up regardless. I really like the setting and the gameplay takes me back to my childhood.

  12. Sobric says:

    Fun game. The intro is amazing, as are the backgrounds and animations. The combat is a little iffy, I’d prefer just one button to fire, but other than that good fun.

  13. Helm says:

    Flashback’s one of my favourite games ever and I generally love the ‘step platformers’ a lot (besides the Abe games that didn’t really appeal to me). I know this small quasigenre inside out, in fact, down to oddities like the Capstone Zorro game that ripped off Prince of Persia or the obscure Mega Drive game “Generations Lost” or even pc windows 3.11 curiosity “Bermuda Syndrome”. I’ve played them all.

    Sadly this – while enormously stylish – seems to have inherited some problems off of the Flashback movement model and made them worse without keeping a lot of the really important good bits, at least as far as I can see from the demo. The problems are: edge of screen abuse for fighting (also very pronounced in Blizzard offshoot, Blackthorne) which should be solved with more modern-day methods like well, there not being any screenflipping and perhaps range targeting probabilities for missing, and also consta-rolling around as the main mode of transportation. Flashback limited that because the level design was tricksy and rolling around usually meant rolling to your death but this isn’t very tile-based precise movement (as perhaps it should be) and there also seem to be a lot of straight lines to go through where rolling is faster than running through, which is criminal for the atmosphere. If you make rolling faster than running, people *will* opt to constant-roll. Even if the non-demo part of the game is all platformer hell where precise movement is more required, the roll is very short, just begs to be spammed. Also in Flashback after each roll there was at least a return animation to punctuate the effort with a pause (that is, if you had your gun drawn, otherwise it was rollspam as well), here it’s rollrollrollroll. I’m not convinced of the shooting-juggling mechanic at all as well. The joy of Flashback wasn’t just moving around, it was that the designers had put several specific bits into the movement code that once learned and mastered, made the moving around very flowing, seamless. There *is* some of that here (they kept the gunwalk-off-of-a-ledge-to-a-fight-position for example) there doesn’t seem to be at the level of sophistication of Flashback (runspeed automatic ledgegrabs, seamless gun pull from most falls, a very very needed close combat solution, grabbing a ledge and holding it, turning while falling from a ledge, different jump for stationary or running start … there’s just so much). If all of this sounds like absurdities that do not correspond to your Flashback experience, look at my video playthrough of the game and see what can be done in it: http://www.viddler.com/explore/HelmLL/videos/

    It seems to me that this game is borrowing the inexact tile movement from Prince of Persia/Out of this World, the gunplay mechanics and roll – mostly – from Blackthorne and the rest from Flashback, but these 4 designs were radically different in how they played and why they were made as they were and most importantly, they were not all equal! Flashback was perhaps thematically the most derivative of the loose series but its movement model was vastly superior to the rest of them, once you got the hang of it and once you unearthed the subtleties.

    I’ll buy this though because we don’t get many games of this type any longer so I’m very glad to support the developers, and also it seems to have other charms besides the technical. Just would hope the actual movement model of Flashback could have been elaborated on, not just respawned with some bad leftover genes.

    • toro says:

      Your video playthrough of the game is great and I think you are insane… partially in a good way.
      I considered myself obsessed with Another World, but I will probably never reach your level of obsession. :)

    • Helm says:

      Thanks. Another World is an amazing experience, but as a gameplay experience there’s not much to discover about it, the movement model is very simple, very elegant from the go. Flashback is a different sort of exercise, it has more in common with modern stuff like Mirror’s Edge, it’s about flow. This is why I am obsessed with it, because once you figure it out fully, it’s a beautiful thing to control, whereas Another World is a beautiful thing to experience. It’s an interesting range of success for Delphine.

  14. Lambchops says:

    Looks stylish indeed and the demo was certainly an enjoyable enough wee diversion.

  15. medwards says:

    It’s trash. Beautiful trash, but trash nonetheless. It was clearly created by artists because the controls are so atrocious and frustrating as to imply that they DIDN’T PLAYTEST ANYTHING. And I was amused when the subtitles said “Crates never get stuck” and then I stuck it up against a wall and was unable to proceed. Within 5 minutes. Trash. Watch the opening repeatedly and never play and you will be less disappointed.

  16. enzo says:

    I played the demo and bought the game and spent next to 6 hours completing it. Screen after screen of art and sounds with story is very addictive and rewarding format. Combat is fun, pacing is good and puzzles are face-palm smart. I had a good time!

  17. LionsPhil says:

    Rest in piece, Delphine. Sniff. Another World an Future Wars were both amazing.

    I know there’s a video one above, but it’s probably worth pointing out that Yahtzee did a Let’s Play of Flashback in pictures. With just a dab of his usual humour.

  18. LionsPhil says:

    And, wow, this has none of the fluidity of Delphine’s games. I thought the awkwardly looped running animation during the load screen might just have been a quirk, but apparently not. (Also: playing sillybuggers with twenty-odd respawning progress bars? Sod off.)

    It doesn’t help that they’ve gone and disabled the Flash quality menu (aww, I might look at your precious graphics without full antialiasing), which means it chugs a bit when doing a whole bunch of blends at once.

    • Helm says:

      Yup, then again it could be argued the fluidity wouldn’t suit this lumbering main character but… I guess that doesn’t excuse everything.

  19. Tull. says:

    Uhhh… quick question: It’s called “Rocketbirds Revolution”, implying that there are several of these rocketbirds about. Also, The website says something about leading a revolution.

    Does that mean that you sometimes fight alongside allies? Or is this one of those games where you are all alone, all the time, fighting a one-man war? Because I really, really hate those games. The trailer has some sequences where you seem to be assisted by some yellow-clad people, but I don’t really know what to make of that…