A Cute Adventure for the Whole Family
After the great 2D Indie Action game Aggelos, PQube has once again put out another game of interest: Songbird Symphony developed by Joysteak Studios. Even though both are featuring the Sprite look they couldn’t be more different. Songbird Symphony sets itself apart by the cute main character Birb, which is just a sign of things to come because Birb isn’t the exception but the rule. Colorful and charmingly cute is a theme that goes throughout the game. Add to that the focus on Music you might even get a nostalgia trip back into the days of Disney’s hand-drawn animated classics. As you can already guess, it’s not an action game per se. Instead, it opts to be a Musical Platform Puzzle game. Worried that your cute Birb might meet an early end? No worries! Songbird Symphony is a World without dangers. Thus you have a perfectly family-friendly game that is suitable for those who’re ready to put hands on the controller. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Which leads us to the big question: Is it as good as it looks cute?
- Visually exceptional due to Sprites and Design
- Close to frustration free
- Great pacing without fillers
- Good Pricing
- No Map available
Who is Birb really?
Beginning with Birb hatching from his egg you start to learn that the Peacock Uncle Pea took upon himself to raise him. But not all is well because there’s something bugging our Hero. Birb doesn’t look like the other Peacocks. Leading us to the start of our avian Journey through the World of Songbird Symphony.
But where to go? Who else is better suited to have the answers than the wise Owl. Oh blimey, even he doesn’t know Birbs origin but do not despair it’s not the end but a beginning. He has artifact that could help to identify Birb. The catch? It requires the music notes of the other select avian friends and those are spread out all over the world from the deepest caves to the highest mountains. Luckily, Birb isn’t alone in this ordeal. He finds a trusty companion in Egbert later on. A still unhatched Egg that walks on its two feet.
Birb and Egbert are undoubtedly the Main Characters of this story. However, they are more like hosts that leads you from one Show to another. What do you mean by Show you might ask? For each avian kind you’re asking the assistance of will come with a Song that is presented as a Show. Therefore you could say that they are just as important as the Main Characters.
Gameplay & Controls
The controls couldn’t be more simple. You move with the analog stick and have only one additional action which is the jump and glide, the latter is done by holding the jump button. The rest of them like the D-Pad and Face Buttons are reserved for your musical performances. You don’t have the full gamut from the very beginning. They get unlocked as you make friends with more avian to ensure a steady climb in difficulty.
The exception is Egbert. Who is controlled by using a short special button sequence. The command consists of either Stay or Follow.
Pro Tip: The L and R shoulder buttons have the same function as Up and X (or Triangle on PS4). This should give you some relief when it comes to finger-twisting inputs.
Music that moves the World
Songbird Symphony isn’t your traditional Platformer. All moving platforms have their own tune and you have to mimic to make them move. Some of them require the activation of pressure switches before you’re able to move them. When multiple switches are present you know it’s Egbert time.
New Areas, New Notes, much to find
Each area has its own tune but there’s a catch. They are not complete. There are usually like 3 or more additional layers of music missing. You can activate them by doing small quests or puzzles. Most of them are optional and give you some extra incentive to explore the world. That’s not all.
There are also feathers and other secret avian friends out in the wild. So people who like to collect and explore will have the work cut out for them.
Boss Battles: A musical Showdown
Not only does each area have its own tune, but there are also special Shows awaiting you. You could technically call them Boss Battles. The thing is, you won’t be able to lose. What you can do is lament your bad rating when things get bad. Ergo, don’t worry about getting stuck. If you’re unresigned about a lower ranking, do try again and get better.
What makes these Showdowns so special are the different gameplay and presentation. Due to them being an actual Show! Clapping Chicken, Fireflies that act as spotlights and yes all of that on top of the usual cuteness.
You might have noticed that I mentioned nothing of about a difficulty choice. That’s because each Showdown Tune has different parts. Usually, the initial ones are there to ease you in. Once you get into the middle or later parts the kid gloves will come off. You will coordinate and push buttons like your life depends on it. Therefore, different difficulties are already integrated.
A gold statue will be set on the spot after the big show. Commemorating and giving you a chance to replay for improving your rank. No worries about having to remember them. After finishing the Story you’ll gain access to the Gallery. That’s where everything is at a single place and easily accessible for the quick itch.
Special note for Swith players: Since the Joycons can be separated, you could try to play it as a 2 player game with one Joycon each. Might make for an interesting, albeit also more difficult, experience depending on the harmony between players.
Short Summary: Gameplay
Songbird Symphony has some extraordinary Gameplay outside of the norm. If anything it’s like an interactive musical that keeps moving forward. The decision to make Birb invincible gives the game a steady pace. Only a monster would want to harm this cute little bird.
That does not mean there’s a lack of challenge. Puzzles or slightly confusing labyrinth map design can prove to be showstoppers. The latter is especially due to the lack of a map. It might sound frustrating. In my experience I was able to overcome these the moments frustration when that feeling started to arise. Clicking my tongue because it should have been obvious.
Graphics & Sound
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of sprites. Couple that with good looking AND cute ones you have a winner there in my book. What you see on the screens is what you get and more. It already looks good in stills. Now imagine it with fitting animations. It’s quite a sight to behold.
The areas themselves have some nice decoration enhancing your travel. I saw Chameleons, Deer and many more making the world feel alive.
As for the Music… It’s got some catchy tunes that are still hanging around in my mind. Obviously, this means your ears will be having a good time while playing it. No voices are used and it keeps it at emulated avian sounds, which in no way detracts from the experience.
Songbird Symphony convinces with cute characters, 95% frustration-free and pacifist gameplay, which makes it a perfect game for in-between for some relaxing moments like walking through a nice park or watching a small musical.
The moderate pricing makes it an easy recommendation. My personal playtime was about 6 hours and that’s just a normal playthrough without doing a 100% run. There’s still more to do.
I was thoroughly entertained while playing through it without any time for boredom to set in, proving the quality content it offers. The playtime was perfect it wasn’t too short and didn’t overstay it’s welcome.
Still undecided? I definitely recommend you to check out the free demo to get a feel for it. Get your rhythm back running and take a look!