By: Jeff Cater
It turns out your last mission was a failure, because that damn bird Putzki is still alive and developing his maniacal plot to get chickens to be a world-wide food product. Once again stepping out of the coop, HardBoiled Chicken intends to exact revenge in Rocketbirds 2: Evolution.
I’m not quite sure why some of the decisions about the controls have been made. At first, the game is a snappy and responsive twin-stick shooter/side-scroller. Aiming and moving Hardboiled around is certainly easy, but things hiccup when you’re trying to pick up an item off the ground.
Rather than pressing a button to pick it up, the game wants you to move the left stick down in order to grab an object. This means if you’ve had your controller for more than eight months then you’ll probably slide to the left, then to the right, as you’re trying to grab the item on the floor. That can be insanely frustrating, even more so because it breaks up the otherwise fast-paced action.
Rocketbirds 2: Evolution does feature some pretty snazzy visual effects. Each level you enter is presented in 2D but actually features drastic depth. As you move about any given stage, the level itself somewhat shifts according to your position, letting you often take a peek into a background room or around a corner. The weapon effects are well done, as are the silly characters you’ll be interacting with and dispatching.
Weapon sound effects are also spot-on, as is the voice work. Each of the dopey henchmen that you come across will usually spout some pretty humorous lines of dialogue before you kill them, but they also give away plot points and hints if you listen carefully enough.
As Hardboiled Chicken, it’s your mission to stop the evil Putzki from creating a monopolized food industry around chickens. You’ll run and gun your way through several levels, using vicious submachine guns and shotguns. Finding key cards or tricking the dumb pigeons into unlocking things for you is pretty fun at first, but there are dialogue-heavy moments that quickly end up feeling too forced.
As you run in guns blazing, you’ll often have to reload or pick up an item; both are actions that severely dampen the pacing. Sometimes enemies just felt like they were simply taking too many bullets, too.
This problem is magnified by the fact that the enemies have a bad habit of melee-locking you, and by the fact that they’ve got the utmost discipline with their weaponry and fire with great accuracy, leading them to waste very few shots as you throw away many.
Through the remainder of the adventure, you’ll take Hardboiled Chicken to secret labs, have him don a scuba suit, or even grab a jetpack for some flying justice. But none of it makes you forget about how awkward it is picking things up with the damn left stick…
There’s also an up-to-four-player mode with its own heroes and stages, but I was only ever able to get only one extra chicken to play with me at any given point. You can stand on one another’s heads though! So that’s something.
Rocketbirds 2: Evolution definitely isn’t a terrible game, it’s actually quite humorous and fun to play for much of the time! Unfortunately, a few shortcomings really screwed up the pacing.