There has recently been a lot of attention given to platformers, most notably GRIS, due to their striking visual presentation and the ability to convey a rich and emotional journey with the absence of any dialogue. We will take a look to see if The Kings’ Bird offers a similar noteworthy adventure that all players will enjoy.
The story within The King’s Bird is definitely on the lighter side as the opening minutes introduces you to the main character, a young girl, who dreams of exploring the unknown world through means of flight, but a barrier placed around her city keeps the inhabitants concealed within. A sense of security for some, but a prison sentence for others, such as our silhouette character who remains nameless. Shortly after, a moment presents itself when an unknown figure, presumably a king or her father, returns from his travels and is followed by the young girl. Her rebellious nature leads her to acquiring the skill of flight and sets off on a journey through the barrier to experience the world like few have.
Once free from her confinement, The King’s Bird offers a beautiful world to explore through platforming that is driven by the flying mechanic and momentum. You will propel yourself forward over hazards and obstacles by sliding, gliding, and scaling the environments. Early movement tutorials aid in learning the various methods of traversal, but certain areas will still take you a moment to realize what is required in order to progress. Controls can also feel sluggish at times as environments demand precise movement such as landing on minuscule platforms, but this can be hard to achieve as your character feels weighted and unresponsive when you are hoping to execute specific actions.
You will travel through various kingdoms that offer their own visual masterpiece that is sure to catch your eye while projecting forward at increased speeds. It is obvious that the various artistic styles are created from the appreciation of Roman, Mayan, and Southeast Asian cultures. Colours change within each area, but even though the level design is altered, areas feel all too familiar like you have recently conquered them in previous feats. You will also encounter various paintings throughout The King’s Bird that do a brilliant job of conveying past events that molded the community and world we now travel throughout without dialogue.
Momentum-based gameplay does make it difficult to see the desired path to completion, resulting in a failed first attempt only to gather your bearings and see where spirit birds are located. Each area possesses several spirit birds to be collected, but they can be difficult to locate at times, specifically when they are positioned alongside a white background. Thankfully, numerous checkpoints are situated within each level, giving you an unlimited amount of tries to acquire a difficult collectible, or simply to complete the level.
Early areas offer a fun and refreshing take on the platforming experience, learning how to scale sides by dashing from side to side, swooping down while flying to propel yourself to new heights, and getting a burst of speed while projecting yourself off a ramp. However, levels get progressively more difficult as you discover new kingdoms, slowly altering levels of enjoyment into frustration. There are also certain levels that requires completion without your flight ability, adding a refreshing break from complex flight-based areas.
The King’s Bird offers a refreshing visual platforming experience that presents us with simplistic objectives while exploring the various kingdoms located within the world. However, the initial joy slowly dissipates the more you play due to the progressively increased difficulty and the sense of repetitiveness. The King’s Bird is recommended to anyone who is looking for a more difficult platforming experience as it can be too difficult at times for the casual gamer.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]