Shoot The Birds is well made, but a little off-putting
It’s tough reviewing a game like Shoot the Birds because there’s a weird battle going on in my brain about content versus gameplay. Typically, the gameplay tends to trump all other aspects of a game, with solid presentation, story and achievements rounding out the package. Shoot the Birds gives us solid mechanics and decent presentation to be sure. But there’s just something about the content that’s really bothering me.
The goal in Shoot the Birds is pretty self-explanatory. You play an angry scarecrow out to exact revenge on those who’ve pooped on you and pecked at you for long enough. Armed with your crossbow (yeah, you can see where this is going), you stand in your field and shoot the various birds that fly overhead. You play for one day in the game, and try to shoot as many as you can as accurately as you can. Near-misses cause the time to move faster.
To progress, you have to fulfill a series of challenges displayed on a sign at the title screen. These include achieving a certain score, shish-kabobing a certain number of birds, or hitting a certain number of birds in a row. This increases your score multiplier, adds more time to your day, or unleashes Fury Mode, which lets you rack up serious bonus points.
The mechanics in Shoot the Birds are really solid. You simply touch, pull and drag to aim the crossbow and determine how hard your shot will be. What’s also quite neat is that the arrow not only flies up, but falls down as well, allowing you to possibly off an extra fowl.
Graphically, Shoot the Birds is a pretty decent looking game. Colorful, well-drawn and easy on the eyes. While there’s no music, there are various squawks, along with a nice background soundscape on the farm. Nothing wrong here.
What’s wrong is watching the arrows pierce the bird quite explicitly. I grew up playing Duck Hunt, so a hunting game isn’t something new at all. And goodness knows Angry Birds is pretty graphic in its own way. But in both cases, there was a cartoony element. The Duck Hunt birds simply look stunned and fall where your pooch picks them up. The Angry Birds birds disappear in a puff of smoke. But the Shoot the Birds birds have the arrow pierce right through them with a painful squawk, lose their momentum from flying and fall to the ground, impaled from the shot from your crossbow. There’s no blood, but even for a seasoned gamer it’s a bit off-putting.
There’s also not a lot of depth to be found here. Other than the challenges the game gives you in order to achieve your higher multiplier, there’s nothing else to do but display the first symptom of psychotic behavior. And it gets old pretty fast.
Okay, it’s an arcade game, and it’s pretty well put together. But Shoot the Birds just rubs me the wrong way. And with not much to do in the long run, it’s just not the easiest game to recommend.