Developed By: Joysteak Studios
Published By: PQube
Category: Rhythm-Based Platformer
Release Date: 07.25.2019
Songbird Symphony is one of those long-awaited indie titles that really shines and is one that I will never forget playing through. Do I have your attention? Good; because this is one you are not going to want to miss. This title is a platformer at it’s base, but with some incredible beat/rhythm mechanics that add a ton of fun to the monotony of general platforming. This journey is a roller coaster of emotion that will have you experiencing the highest highs and the lowest lows, and with an incredible cast of eccentric birds to meet and help along the way, you will find yourself immersed into an experience that you won’t want to have come to an end. Be prepared to live in the musical world of Songbird Symphony.
You play as Birb, the cutest little birdy you will ever lay your eyes upon. You live with your Uncle Pea, the peacock, in a community of peacocks where you just don’t quite fit in. You don’t look like them, or act like them, and thus you wonder where you came from and why you are here. You start your journey singing along with the power of the peacock song to begin and with it you make your way to the venerable Owl to try to find out if him, in his infinite wisdom, can help identify you and where you might find your parents. You learn that the only way to discover your true origins is if you help Owl in activating an ancient artifact that can only be used by a bird who has mastered all the music notes of the bird kingdom. With that, you head on your way to meet the vast array of flyers around this little world in order to help people along the way, make tons of new friends, and all in all learn the music that will allow you to finally conclude your journey of discovery. This journey is one I treasured being able to play through, and with a setting that makes you feel like you are watching a real like stage performance of a musical you will find yourself immersed into an experience that will hopefully give you as much fun and happiness as it gave me. Truly a top-notch story, characters, writing, etc. No complaints! Only praise!
Puzzles and platforming are the meat and potatoes of this title and are where you will find yourself travelling between the bits of story, song, and advancement. The basics of the gameplay loop consist of maneuvering through the various areas you will search through while opening areas or activating platforms through song. You can glide and jump and push boxes around in order for you to get around and complete specific puzzles. Beyond that you will also collect special music notes that will allow for completion of an area and can be used to open secret areas later in the game. You get these notes by helping the townsfolk or completing musical puzzles through your exploration. You also will find stray feathers about that belong to specific avian throughout the game. You will need to find these feathers in hidden and hard to get to areas and return them to their rightful owners. This all allows for some depth and interesting gameplay in even the most monotonous of parts of this title, and with it you are motivated to find and meet all of the quirky and interesting characters that you could otherwise miss if just focusing on plowing through the main story. I would definitely recommend a 100% run, as that is where you will find all of the charm and grace this title has in its exploration-based storytelling outside of its main line.
You will also engage in musical battles throughout the game where you must put your rhythm skills and mutton mashing to the test in order to fight off Magpies or help raise up a friend’s spirits. Much like you can expect if you are familiar with titles like Guitar Hero, or other music-based games, you must match button presses to the notes on the screen in order to get the best score possible on each song.
Luckily, for those who love the repetition of trying to max out and improve your score you can immediately replay all these battles as soon as you complete them and try for better scores. Also, for those who aren’t as talented as others as matching up in song you also won’t find your progression stymied by missing on the notes. You will have a low score, but if that doesn’t hurt your feelings then you can progress like nothing happened. Just try your best and have fun.
The world that has been built in this title in something of a wonder, as it has made an animal kingdom with tons of vibrant life, and fun parallels to our own world. Gondola-driving geese with Italian influences, fights for survival and food between rival factions of fowl, and much more grace this title, and show how even in an imperfect world you can find the light if you stay positive, and focus on helping others where you can. This game is inspiring and is a story that, although it may not surprise you of the outcome, is something that I wouldn’t have wanted to have missed now that I have had the pleasure of playing through it.
Lovingly crafted areas that are packed to the brim with life and a pixel-based graphic style that is common among indies, but rarely truly done right, is just a beauty in Songbird Symphony. You will find cut-scenes that are crafted in a style reminiscent of stage performed musicals, and extremely detailed characters and areas that are something to spend time looking at. Being a music-based title, the game features some good music, but honestly that isn’t even the part of the game that blew me away the most. If I had a gun to my head and had to choose one place to criticize, I would say the music in the rhythm battles is a tad overshadowed by the focus on getting the correct notes, but the music throughout the rest of the game is swell and laid-back. Sing-along sections added in are a plus.
Indie games are truly the brightest gems in this industry, and allow for, in my humble opinion, the greatest of innovations and experiences that we currently have the pleasure of getting to enjoy. We see many games being made these days, and all the hard work that goes into them is always appreciated, but when we see titles like Songbird Symphony come across that truly are the top shelf of the genre it is exciting to see. Games like Songbird Symphony don’t come out every day, and it is these few and far betweens that allow for that itch to be scratched while we wait for the next truly great indie. I couldn’t find a lot in this game to critique, as it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I would recommend everyone give a try to. If you dislike music games, this title could still be for you as it doesn’t force you to “get good” to progress. If you dislike platformers, then you can lean on the puzzle and music mechanics and jump headfirst into the story. Basically, this game is so well-rounded and takes on its various genres so well that even if you aren’t a fan of a part or two of it I will bet you can find something about it that will make it worth your time. TL;DR: Buy this game.
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