Bird Zapper offers a fast-paced twist on matching gameplay, but lacks a hook to keep you coming back
Neighbours can really be a pain sometimes. But if you’re a squirrel living in a telephone pole and your neighbours are the noisy birds perched on the wires above, that’s the absolute worst. Lucky for this crafty squirrel, he’s ready to send these birdies flying with 50,000 volts of unpleasantness.
This simple little storyline sets the stage for a surprisingly fast-paced game of color-matching. Taking up the role of the squirrel, players draw lines with their finger to form like-colored groups of 3 or more birds. Once you lift your finger those little birdies get the shock of their lives and disappear from view.
Matching colors by itself may not sound like all that fast-paced of an activityand the developers clearly thought the same, so they’ve put the birds on wires that are constantly moving from the left side of the screen to the right at different speeds. This makes matches a little harder to come by, and you’ll need to move your finger quickly if you want to complete big matches before the birds slide out of reach.
Combine this basic gameplay with a few neat power-ups that you’ll earn by matching certain birds (army helmet birds let you “execute” birds of the same color with a single tap, pterodactyl’s frozen in ice will freeze the board when touched, etc..) and you’ll have seen just about everything Bird Zapper has to offer.
Therein lies Bird Zapper‘s Achilles Heel; there simply isn’t much of it to go around. The game has three modes, but none of these continue the adorable story or offer any sort of progression that would make players feel like they’re accomplishing something. You can select from the endless Zen mode, the timed Blitz mode, or the pseudo-timed Survival mode (in which you’ll earn more time with each match you make, extending the length of the experience). As you progress deeper into each you’ll see the board increase from 3 to 5 wires, but asides from this, there’s simply nothing in Bird Zapper that will make you feel like you’re getting anywhere. This is a game that’s all about the high score you earn, but it feels like it should be something more.
Bird Zapper also offers up a strange in-app purchase option that ends up feeling tacked on, and manages to take any real fairness out of comparing your scores to other players in Game Center. You’ll be able to buy “batteries” that will let you add to your time in Blitz and Survival modes. Doing this means there’s no level playing field for high score competition, which again means there’s little to keep players engaged beyond their initial experience.
The game looks great and plays well, but there simply isn’t enough meat on these bones to go around. With a few more modes and goal for players to work towards, Bird Zapper could really be something special. As it is, Bird Zapper manages to offer up a fairly unique and fast-paced matching puzzler that, while fun, probably won’t hold your attention for long.