Published and developed by indy studio Glass Bottom Games, ‘SkateBIRD’ is a skateboarding simulation game similar to the Tony Hawk series, except with players taking control of a literal bird riding a skateboard the size of a Tech Deck instead of a pro skater.
The game’s plot tells the story of a small pet bird, who is sad that its owner no longer skates or spends as much time at home due to their new job which they loathe. The bird decides to start skateboarding in hopes of cheering up the owner and reigniting their passion.
Beginning the game, players will be able to customise their bird from various species (which even includes kookaburras and cockatoos for Australian players), different parts of their outfits, and their boards, with more options becoming available as players progress through the game. After players are happy with their unique board-riding chick, it’s time to skate.
The first thing players will notice is that the main controls are exactly the same as the Tony Hawk games. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it will allow longtime ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’ fans to get acquainted with the game much quicker. However, the game will also provide tutorials to teach new players the mechanics of the game.
Various classic skate tricks from kickflips, air tricks, grinds, handplants, and more can all be performed. Of course, full-sized skate parks and the streets maybe a little too big for the tiny bird on a board, instead, the bird uses the household as their skate park and performing tricks on pencils, cups, office supplies, pizza boxes, and more, plus even bent ‘Thrasher’ magazines that create the half pipes and quarter pipes in each stage. All this creates something fresh and unique for a skateboarding game.
Much like any other skateboarding game, game progression is achieved by completing various tasks that can be found throughout each stage. Whether it’s performing certain tricks and combos or collecting various items scattered around, players’ skills will surely be put to the test.
Unfortunately ‘SkateBIRD’ isn’t without its flaws as there are various glitches that will occur and greatly impact the gameplay by interrupting the tricks and combos players being attempted. The game’s biggest issue is most definitely its camera, as it seems to lose track and move all over the place on various occasions, forcing players to lose focus. Hopefully, this issue can be fixed in a future patch update.
The game’s presentation clearly takes inspiration from the Tony Hawk games with its urban street aesthetics and laid-back hip hop music but set in an everyday household. This surprisingly works really well with SkateBIRD’s theme and seeing your unique customised bird performing tricks like a pro skater is quite adorable.
‘SkateBIRD’ is an enjoyable alternative to the Tony Hawk and other skateboarding games, even if it’s lacking in content by comparison. The glitches and horrendous camera angles do have a big negative effect on the overall game, though let’s face it, a lot of the Tony Hawk games are just as bad. Playing as a small bird in a cute outfit while performing tricks on household items is just enough to make this indy title stand out and just be a fun game in its own right. Perhaps this could be the start of a new line of skateboarding video games.
- Customisation options
- Playing as a small bird on a small skateboard
- Controls feel very familiar to Tony Hawk fans
- Performing tricks on household items
- Various glitches
- Frustrating camera angles
- Lacking content