The King’s Bird Review: First in Flight
Kalvin Martinez / Mar 4th, 2019 No Comments
If you’re asked what super power you would have, would your answer be the ability to fly?
Flight is something we all dream about. There is something alluring and forbidden about flying. It is unfathomable to imagine what such unfettered freedom would be like. The King’s Bird gives players a small taste of that freedom.
The game is visually arresting due to smart level design and striking imagery. It also presents engaging precision platforming with unique and compelling gameplay.
Precision platformers thrive on a healthy mix of panic and relief. The panic comes from knowing that one wrong move can result in failure. Relief comes from successfully completing a challenge and the satisfaction that results from exerting mastery. However, panic and dread is always paramount to the experience — as is swearing and being on the verge of destroying a controller.
It’s rare when you can consider the precision platformer experience to be relaxing, but that is exactly what The King’s Bird is. Unlike other similar games, The King’s Bird never elicits a sense of dread or panic. However, that does not mean there isn’t a challenge. The game is plenty difficult, but it never feels frustrating. Much of this is due to how tranquil and zen-like gameplay is.
The King’s Bird is predicated on both precision and momentum, which means that, not only do your moves need to be thoughtful, but you have to ensure that you’re using the game’s physics. What makes the game so tranquil is your ability to fly.
Flight in this game is absolutely serene. The combination of precision and momentum in flight can be challenging to master, but flying feels so good that you won’t really care if you die over and over again.
Movement in the game is fluid and beautiful. Moving through levels is like performing a gorgeous interpretive dance.
While flight is the most eye-catching part of The King’s Bird, it isn’t your only form of movement. The game is still a platformer, so jumping is the foundation of your moveset. By extension, wall jumping is very important. However, jumping alone won’t get you far, and in many ways, neither will flight.
In order to best the multitude of platforming challenges you’ll encounter in The King’s Bird, you need to master the skill of dashing. Dashing is limited, but it gives you a fantastic burst of speed to launch into a higher jump or scramble up a wall. Most importantly, dashing is how you build momentum. Combining your abilities to dash and fly helps you conquer wide open spaces with no platforms to grab.
Level design in The King’s Bird is cleverly done. Some levels will leave you scratching your head on how to best complete them.
The game is split up into different kingdoms, with each kingdom having various shrines full of levels. Early levels are more straightforward and require traditional platforming. These levels typically feature gaps to jump over and spikes to avoid.
However, the deeper you get into each kingdom, the trickier the levels become. As you progress, you will find that the increased difficulty isn’t so much about the platforming, but rather about the unique elements of gameplay. These latter levels force you to understand how to build momentum and leverage flight to soar to new heights. For example, there is a late level that features no checkpoints. It forces you to perform a large series of wall jumps into diving flight in order to reach the top. It is extremely tough, but that makes it more rewarding to overcome.
Another way the game eliminates frustration is by having an excellent checkpoint system. You’ll never be punished too hard for failure. Nothing is more annoying than having to start all over when you’re only having trouble with a single section of a level. This doesn’t make the game any easier, but the smart design choice leaves you wanting to overcome your struggles.
The King’s Bird is a mesmerizing experience with stunning visuals. It creates a sense of weightlessness through its breathtaking flight mechanics. In terms of gameplay, it provides a good challenge with clever level design and a necessity for precise platforming.
The King’s Bird was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.
tags: Graffiti Games , review , The King's Bird , The King's Bird game , The King's Bird Review