The King & # 39; s Bird Review - Screenshot 1 of 6

Some video games gently pull you through a narrative experience and offer the player everything he needs on the go, without any obstacles or hassle. Movement is unlimited, the environment is an ally and there is no question of failure or time in sight. And then there is The King & # 39; s Bird.

Developer Serenity Forge has thrown his hat into the precision platformer ring with a game that involves no lack of challenge or skill demand. Those who live according to the "git gud" mantra can feel at home here, although there are a few notable wrinkles that prevent The King's Bird from to derived from similar indie outings.

The King & # 39; s Bird Review - Screenshot 2 of 6

The adventure begins when a female figure awakens and makes her way to a short, heated confrontation with a royal father figure; or at least, presumably, because & # 39; dialogue & # 39; is delivered through musical sound effects and no text is heard at the control panel. Further directions for the underlying story can be found in background murals, and perhaps in considering the general non-pristine state of the world.

Our titular bird gets a flowing white scarf, together with the power of flight (or gliding, more accurately), and thus begins her journey. The tutorial intro offers sections to practice its platform skills, together with background art that displays push buttons and its position to match. She can run on ridges, she can jump on the wall, she can slide down, she can rust down sloping ceilings. This is a game of momentum – building, preserving, controlling.

The protagonist can shoot with RZ and glide in the air with LZ. It is from these two moves that its repertoire unfolds and the player will form chains of button commands to traverse the dozens of upcoming stages. The sliding feels great, something that looks like the cape Super Mario World, and constitutes the highlight of The King's Bird – speed and launch in the air, gently steering over and under the features of the landscape, offers a real sensation.

The King & # 39; s Bird Review - Screenshot 3 of 6

The King's Bird tries to distinguish itself from other platform players with this floating mechanic, but what may be more interesting is another, more subtle movement: not only can the main character jump on the wall, but also when using a dash in contact with a wall she will run up a bit against the wall. This is constantly used for passing through the levels, and by gaining height this is combined with gliding to unlock new vertical possibilities. The design philosophy is to connect double-jumping with wall contact, instead of having it freely available, and this distinction creates a number of very tight, nervous little spots with an intense challenge.

The control of these movements by the player is put to the test in four worlds, ie Kingdoms instead of: Forest, Lake, Air and Fallen. Each of these worlds has a hub area, where doorways can be unlocked to access smaller groups of four levels each. If you defeat a foursome, you unlock a new passage until the player has gained access to an altar that adds a ripple to the story and moves to the next area. At every individual level the goal is simple: reaching the goal at the end.

Although the Kingdoms vary slightly in theme, this game takes a minimalistic approach to graphic detail and narrative weight. The visuals with a limited palette and high contrast are just the ideal table for a stable diet of every possible permutation of the dash, glide and jump trajectories. The design is very tight, with very little room for error – some areas especially – and especially against the endgame.

The King & # 39; s Bird Review - Screenshot 4 of 6

The only enemy of the player is in a certain sense himself, because there are no hostile characters. Death comes from the hand of bottomless wells, or water, or always-presents thorns that dot and spot and relate to this world. Fortunately, checkpoints are enough and the respawns are almost immediately up to the last achieved score. An external observer may think that some of these control points for lampposts are comically close to each other; although you will be grateful to everyone when actually playing the thing.

Another aspect of the game is the collection of collectibles with the name Spirit Birds, which populate every stage. If you touch them, they can follow you for the rest of the level, which becomes a beautiful sight if you have more than one. The problem is that they are small, compared to a rather small protagonist and are easy to lose sight of against some of the lighter backgrounds. In the end, this does not mean much because they do not influence the progress, but gathering them all to unlock a little more narrative taste is probably too difficult for most to deal with.

The King's Bird has a pleasant soundtrack, gracious about how melancholy melodies never dominate what happens on screen, but accompany them with a consistent, pleasant sense of rich arrangements. Between that and the inconspicuous plot, combined with the somewhat minimalistic graphics, at least Bird makes clear his intentions. This is an accurate platform game through and through, from head to toe, and the player has to accept this wholeheartedly if they want to succeed.

The King & # 39; s Bird Review - Screenshot 5 of 6

In later sections, the player will be asked not only to defy gravity, but also to beat his mother and to call it annoying names. Some parts have almost zero room for errors and can do a lot a lot of try to conquer. We imagine that many players will swear under their breath during this game, but learn to laugh at the unexplained and unexplained deaths can be the key to improvement. The vast majority of the spaces in this game have only one way out and it is up to the player to go through the method with good trial and error. This can certainly be an irritating headache.

The King's Bird is a game built for speed runners and players with a high score. If there is any doubt, it should be noted that the majority of the text in the game takes the form of showing the player his best time per stage. The message here, even when completing it, is trying and improving again.

However, there is one saving grace that needs to be mentioned, an addition to The King's Bird that really adds a valuable dimension: Assistance mode. For those who want an easier playthrough, or are stuck to a particularly difficult passage and need a little help, Assistence mode can be activated and some game parameters can be changed. You can opt for longer glides, or no longer be damaged by the prickly surfaces, or even all the way to the next check point. There are several options to turn on and off in any combination the player would like to create an experience that is better attuned to their taste for challenge. The Assist mode is the invigorating cherry on top of what would otherwise be a torturous slog, although even with all its assistance the player will probably still have problems with the final part of the game when the whole formula suddenly changes.

The King & # 39; s Bird Review - Screenshot 6 of 6

Although The King's Bird sometimes reaches difficulty levels, it does so at least in a transparent manner, and offers prospective gliders a simple question: can you train yourself to take on this challenge? Ultimately, the answer is & y; yes & # 39 ;, but whether or not you want to spend the time depends on how much you enjoy the genre.

Disclosure note: During our playthrough we encountered a number of different bugs with progress in the lategame. We came into contact with Serenity Forge and they could help navigate these places. We understand that they have a ready-to-use patch and that they have to solve all problems with the crash of games later across the board.