Of Bird and Cage – Review
Follow Genre: Story-driven first-person adventure
Developer: Capricia Productions
Publisher: All in! Games
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Of Bird and Cage – Review

Site Score
7.3
Good: Amazing soundtrack, Unique concept
Bad: Not the best-looking game, Annoying controls
User Score
5.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

When it comes to video games it’s not unusual for developers to try something experimental. This approach will always remain a risk, having the possibility of either becoming a smashing success that breaks traditional norms or falls flat on its face when the intended message fails to deliver. Of Bird and Cage is as experimental as a video game can get, actually being a music album presented to the player in the form of a narrative-driven first-person adventure where your choices shape the story. The result is interesting, though also a mixed bag in terms of how successful they managed to pull this strange experience off.

Story

The plot in Of Bird and Cage is a bit of a puzzle, partly because of how your choices drive the narrative. Similar to Telltale Games, there are a few different paths to go down depending on both your own decisions and on how good you are at QTEs. Up to four endings are achievable this way, with the game being rather short and having easy chapter navigation making it so players can go back and discover different outcomes.

Either way, the story centers around Gitta Barbot, a 25-year-old waitress slash aspiring musician who hasn’t had the best lot in life. She lives with her drunk and abusive father as she tries to navigate escaping from a traumatizing past that has left her a fundamentally broken person, made severely worse when she finds herself kidnapped by the mentally unstable Bres Lupus. What unfolds is part horror, part romance in the most twisted way you can imagine. The story often jumps around in time, making it so you’ll have to uncover the entire truth bit by bit.

Graphics

Of Bird and Cage admittedly doesn’t look the greatest. It’s abundantly clear from the get-go that this is a Unity game, and while effort has clearly been put into this project, there’s just no escaping the generic look of the assets used. The character models are a little lifeless, at times even creepy looking. Especially in tense or emotional moments, this can be a distraction. The game does somewhat make up for it by playing around with lighting effects and the abstract nightmare sequences that tend to be designed very interestingly.

Sound

As you might have guessed from the intro to this review, music plays a pivotal part in this game. Of Bird and Cage is entirely developed and shaped around the symphonic metal album of the same name. For those familiar with the genre, this isn’t just any album either as it’s a collaborative effort from many famous musicians, including legends such as Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Rocky Gray (Evanescence), and many more. So nobody should be surprised the soundtrack is top-notch and the way the game implements the songs and lyrics into the gameplay is extraordinary. The game does have some voice acting, which is sadly amateurish in comparison to the great soundtrack. That’s why we’re glad they’ve decided to cut down on dialogue and focus on the music instead.

Gameplay

Of Bird and Cage is a story-driven first-person adventure game. The gameplay is rather basic and doesn’t extend far beyond walking around and interacting with people, objects, or the environment. Sometimes simple puzzles need to be solved this way too. One of the main features is decision-making. The game will present you with choices that can alter the events of the game itself, marking this with a symbol whenever one such choice has been made.

Another main feature – and sadly one that doesn’t work as well as intended – is the inclusion of quick-time events. Usually, they pop up at high-stress moments, but combined with how janky the controls can be at times, this can quickly lead you to always fail them. The game also seems to experience some movement issues, with the character model sometimes getting stuck on invisible obstacles on the floor, which is not ideal while you’re getting chased. Since Of Bird and Cage is centered around a music album, a lot of segments are timed to stay in tune with the tracks playing in the background. These windows of time tend to be too short, making the game more frustrating than it needs to be when you don’t even have time to properly explore your surroundings.

The game has a bunch of collectibles, ranging from story-relevant items that will give you more details about the plot, to CDs that will reward you with a secret if you manage to collect them all. This combined with the different endings does manage to draw out the runtime of an otherwise extremely short game.

Conclusion

Of Bird and Cage set out trying to do something truly unique: presenting a music album in the form of a game. The idea behind this game is very interesting, and it does work quite splendidly thanks to the great soundtrack and how it interacts with the game. Sadly the very basic graphics and sometimes subpar gameplay really detract from the experience.

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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Of Bird and Cage - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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