The King’s Bird – review
Follow Genre: momentum-driven platformer
Developer: Serenity Forge
Publisher: Graffiti Games
Platforms: PC
Tested On: PC

The King’s Bird – review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Fun gameplay, beautiful artwork, amazing music
Bad: Difficult gameplay, little differences in different areas
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Escape into a world kept secret by a tyrant, and discover the truth about your freedom. That is sort of all you will get from both developers Serenity Forge and platform Steam about the new game, The King’s Bird. Maybe it’s a technique they employ to tingle your curiosity. With a rather vague description of this platform game, you dive into a world that is all about the music and visuals. The team behind Serenity Forge worked on this project for over four years and are ready to let you jump, glide and fly in their magical momentum-driven game.  

Story

The story here isn’t very clear. In the very beginning some text is shown. These are the words or thoughts of a girl telling us she dreams she can fly in order to explore the world beyond her village. However, she tells us that in the end the cage always finds her. This cage seems to be some sort of radiant circle that prevents her from leaving her town. The girl is the hero in our game. When she wakes up and starts running around her hometown she runs into a man. It’s not clear what the relationship between the two of them is. However, they seem to be having an argument about the fact that he can get through the circle using some sort of magic and she can’t. The man depicted could just be the tyrant. She follows him and gets to another, way smaller radiant circle and when she enters it, she gets the power the man already possesses. She can finally go through the ‘cage’ that has trapped her and that’s where the journey begins.

What is interesting about the story is the way it is brought. No words are used, instead they employ music. Dreamy visuals and instrumental sounds describe them talking, yelling, etc. Even though the story is vague, this theatrical aspect really adds to the likability of the game. It’s performed beautifully and you can feel the emotions through the instruments. Even though it comes off as a little mysterious, the heart of the story becomes clear and the player can fill in the details as (s)he pleases.

Graphics

When it comes to graphics, the developers of The King’s Bird did a great job. Using 2D graphics, they gathered inspiration from ancient Mayan, Southeast Asian, and Roman cultures. You can clearly see this when you start playing. The different areas you explore look truly beautiful. It’s filled with bright colors and colorful silhouettes. The one demerit here is that lack of difference between the areas. Sure, they all look beautiful but the distinctions between them are minor, except for the colors.

Sound

You will hear no spoken words during your journey in The King’s Bird. As said before, the argument between the hero and the tyrant consist entirely out of visuals and musical sounds. You can feel the anger and disappointment in the produced tunes. Furthermore, the music used throughout the game is magnificent. It adapts to your movements, making sure it fits the gameplay perfectly. One might say it comes off as a little repetitive at times, but then again, you’re too focused on getting further in the game to be too indignant at this repetitiveness.  

Gameplay

The King’s Bird is a momentum-driven platformer. After a short introduction, you run through your hometown in some sort of tutorial. With there being no spoken introductions, you see pictures of how you should move along the way, shown in the environment. Glide your way through, jump to the highest tops, zip above poison ivy and fly for a few seconds using either your keyboard or your gamepad.

There are five unique worlds to explore, the first one being the introduction and tutorial. After this you have four more areas; The Forest Kingdom, The Lake Kingdom, The Sky Kingdom, and some sort of final area. The three kingdoms each exist of four levels, which also each contain four sub-levels. Next to finishing these levels, in every sub-level you can catch and collect Spirit Birds. Besides this, you can also see your time so you can challenge yourself and try to improve it. The thing is, you don’t need a specific time or to catch all Spirit Birds in order to get to the next level, you just need to get through the level. At the end of each area, there is a shrine. Here you get to see some sort of video or show, after which you get to continue to the next area.

You will meet no enemies in The King’s Bird (expect for in the finale). Instead of opponents there will be holes in the ground, but more importantly you encounter some sort of poisonous plant. Beware, it will be everywhere. Don’t fall into this, don’t touch this, just don’t. You get killed immediately. It’s a little disappointing that this is the biggest danger and that it stays that way. Besides the color and shape changing a little, the threat of the poisonous plant stays. The developers could’ve added a larger variety of obstacles to overcome in order to make the gameplay more interesting.

Even though the controls are rather basic and simple, they are pretty hard to master. The game itself sure as hell isn’t easy either. You will probably, on more than one occasion, fail your attempt before succeeding. If you find this game to be too difficult, you can always turn on the assist mode. As the developers themselves explain it, they want the game to be accessible yet challenging. The assist mode allows player to adjust their preferences matching their preferred difficulty. For example, if you turn this option on, you can choose to have no air resistance and have the possibility to skip checkpoints and change the game speed. Of course, give a little, take a little. In return leader board submissions are disabled.

To make up for the difficulty of the game, a lot of checkpoints are available. It won’t even take you a minute to get to the next checkpoint. These are depicted as lanterns that light up when you pass them, which brings a nice aesthetic with it. Every time you die, you will respawn at the lantern you last reached. Of course there are also save slots available, five in total.  

Conclusion

All in all, The King’s Bird has an enjoyable yet difficult gameplay because the controls are so tough to master. This makes it feel like you’re still trapped in the cage and it seems impossible to get out. The art style is minimalistic yet aesthetically pleasing. The bright and colorful screens are great to look at while gliding around. It’s a shame there are such little differences between the different areas. The sounds used instead of voices and the in-game music are beautiful. You can clearly see the developers put quite some work in this game, but it clearly still has some shortcomings. The developers are still working on the game, introducing new patches. Serenity Forge has released a great game already, but certainly hasn’t reached their full potential yet.

 

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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The King's Bird - review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Maui Vindevogel


23 year old based in Belgium with a passion for writing

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