(Posted to my Facebook page on November 9, 2014)
A few days ago, Kan Gao Reives’ new game A Bird Story was released. I just bought it and played through it, and thought I’d share my thoughts.
You all know how I feel about Reives’ last game, To the Moon and how it’s a marvelous story that will leave you in tears with such beautiful music, some comedy, and some truly fantastic characters blah blah. A Bird Story is, actually a bit different.
First, let me actually talk about a short mini-sode that Reives put out at the end of last year. It took place a little while after the events of To the Moon and followed the Doctors whom To the Moon centered around, Dr. Neil Watts and Dr. Eva Rosalene. It’s free to download on his website and also comes included with To the Moon. It’s only about 15-25 minutes long, and helps to fill the time between To the Moon and the next full game in the series. At the end of the episode, Watts and Rosalene get a call for their next patient. It’s short, interesting, has a few touching moments but nothing that will bring you to tears. A few interesting thoughts are brought up, and it’s worth playing if you’ll be playing more of the series.
Now, A Bird Story is unique adventure because, unlike To the Moon, A Bird Story has absolutely no text or dialogue of any kind in it. A silent story told about a boy who adopts an injured bird. The music and visuals are still impressive, especially given that it’s a pixel-art game. It’s maybe 1-2 hours long, which for $5 is something to consider, at least. Also, I will mention now that A Bird Story is NOT the full sequel to To the Moon. This is sort of the Pre-Sequel and covers the childhood of Dr. Watts and Dr. Rosalene’s next patient in the next game: Finding Paradise.
Now, how is the story? I’ll start by saying, unlike To the Moon, this game did not make me cry. That’s not a hit on the game, I really didn’t expect it to hit me like To the Moon did (And considering it’s the only piece of media I’ve ever cried at, I don’t expect it to happen again any time soon), but for what it’s worth, this story doesn’t carry quite the emotional weight that the original did. Still, it was a very touching story and a great way to introduce the player to the next patient before things begin. One of the really interesting parts about this game is how surreal it is. Scenes blend into one another seamlessly as we see lockers with treetops between the school and the playground. We see the boy go to sleep frequently, which gives the impression that the game is mainly a blend of reality, dreams, and the boy’s imagination, which really makes all the scenery and imagery that much more interesting. If you enjoyed To the Moon and are interested in continuing this series, I’d recommend a Bird Story. If you like an action game, or at least something challenging, you should probably steer clear because there isn’t much actual gameplay here; it’s an interactive story through and through.
I thoroughly enjoyed this little adventure though, and if you’re up for a nice touching story, give it a go!