Recently I reviewed Kilk Games’ first iPhone offering, Fastball, which was a fun but ultimately run of the mill ball rolling on a platform type game. Thankfully their second game has a little more oomph to it. Birdie In Trouble is a puzzle game where you have to help a bird that looks an awful lot like Tweetie get across a series of trees. The visuals are cute, the music is pretty rockin’, and the puzzles are challenging yet fair. In short, I say “sufferin’ succotash – go get this game”.
The premise is simple. The little birdie wants to get from one door to the other in each tree, and you must help him do so. The path between the doors is filled with leaves, and each leaf must disappear (or be closed) before you can exit the tree. With the exception of safe leaves which never close, you simply have to jump onto a leaf and then back off to close it. Along the way you’ll encounter special leaves that have quite useful functions. There are leaves that will cause you to single or double jump in the direction of the arrow above the leaf. One type of leaf will close all the other leaves in the row with it (the exception being an “opener” leaf or a safe leaf), while it’s sister leaf opens all other leaves in the same row (including closer leaves). A different variant of the closer leaf will close leaves that are diagonal to it. Finally, ordered leaves must be closed in the order of the numbers hovering above them.
To make birdie jump you just tap above where you’d like him to jump. You can jump diagonally, to the left and right, and down, but you can’t jump straight up. You can a distance of either one or two leaves, depending on how you are jumping. The game seems really responsive, so if birdie isn’t jumping it probably just means you haven’t clicked the right spot. Keep in mind that you can jump to an empty spot, and it’s still treated like a leaf was there, so you really need to click slightly above the spot where the leaf was. It’s really easy to get used to, though. The game is OpenFeint enabled, and based on the achievements there are at least 60 levels, but sadly there are only 5 achievements to earn in the game. Hopefully the developer will expound on that some day.
Visually Birdie In Trouble is nice. The graphics are a bit on the tiny side, but everything is colorful and well drawn. There’s not a lot of animation going on, but what’s there looks sharp. I love the expressions on the bird’s face when it either falls due to a miscued jump or gets to the exit without having closed all of the leaves. Of course, in the second instance you also feel bad for it because the expression is so sad and pitiful. You’ll get over it quickly, though.
The sound effects aren’t bad. They actually sound like they came out of a cartoon, which suits the game well. My favorite is the little scream that birdie emits as he plummets of the screen when jumping to a leafless spot. The music is oddly mesmerizing. I can’t quite put my finger on what’s so special about it, other than it sounds like it should be coming from a Super Nintendo game. If you’re not a retro gamer or you’re not familiar with the system, that’s actually a compliment.
Birdie In Trouble is certainly a step (or jump, as it were) in the right direction for Klik Games. While there was nothing wrong with Fastball, it was “just another” in the growing sea of tilt to guide rolling ball games. Birdie In Trouble, on the other hand, is a refreshing little puzzle game that stands out amidst the crowd of match 3 clones and word games. The best part is that despite the cute exterior, there are some really crafty puzzles to be solved. If you’re a puzzle game fan looking for a challenge, I definitely suggest picking this one up.