Step into the light
I love violence and gore as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s good for one’s mental health to indulge in something totally cute and innocent. It was for this reason that I found myself falling in love with a cute and colorful little indie gem called Bird of Light.
Buying out the farm
The game places players in the boots of a young girl named Tara. Her family moves to a farm and she’s initially overjoyed at her newfound life and animal friends, but it’s not long before things take a decidedly more sinister turn. The animals start disappearing and young Tara can’t fathom the reason. Escaping into an abstract, mental projection of the farm in a bright and vivid sky setting, she seeks the council of talking animals and the eponymous Bird of Light to help her make sense of things.
The game is, at its most fundamental, a runner. But it incorporates various ideas and mixes different genres in ways that set it apart from its ilk. Upon loading up a new level, you’re presenting with a top-down, overhead representation. Here, players can plot a course towards the level’s end. However, the levels feature a series of disconnected islands which may be joined together by a limited number of puzzle-like pieces. It’s a cinch initially but before long you’ll need some strategy.
Cloud skipping, hopping and jumping
This is compounded by the fact that players need to meet assorted criteria in order for a level to be considered beaten. The exit is locked and players will need to plot a course to a key. Also, each level has eggs to collect, requiring multiple playthroughs a practical necessity. These earn the player medals, which help them progress further and ensure their place on the game’s leaderboards.
Like all runners, it calls for a degree of twitchy reflexes. You’ll need to jump quickly or turn a corner on a dime if you wish to see things through to the end. It can be quite difficult and you can rest assured that you’ll make plenty of mistakes, but the game never feels cheap or unfair: when you run smack into an obstacle, it’s always your own fault. And it’s impossible to get mad at a game so relaxing and innocent.
Your flight of fancy
Bird of Light began life as a mobile game, and it shows. The visuals, presentation and controls all would have been welcome on a touch screen device. While it’s going to head that way in the near future, it is however perfectly at home on a PC and it looks and controls great. Players may initially be taken back by the surprising difficultly, but trying to determine good paths, collecting eggs, acquiring tokens and trying to get your name on the leaderboards all ensure an experience with a high degree of replay value.
It’s tempting to look at the cute visuals and cheerful music and dismiss it as a child’s game, but don’t be fooled: beneath the innocent exterior lies a clever little gem that’s out to test both your mind and your reflexes. Your kids will enjoy it, but so will you. Get it at its Steam page now.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (reviewed). Publisher: Black Shell Media ; Developer: Roach Interactive; Players: 1 ; Released: July 15, 2016.
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Bird of Light given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.