[REVIEW] SkateBIRD – A ‘cheeper’ chickflipping Tony Squawk

Some games really make you think about things. Take Deathloop, for example. After playing it, I really started to wonder how much time went into every aspect. All I could do was just appreciate it all. But some games just make you wonder why. Why did anybody make this? And most of all, what were they on? SkateBIRD is one of those games. Even though I still appreciate the gesture and it kept me going for a little while, the word ‘why’ just kept grinding through my mind.

SkateBIRD is exactly what it sounds like. It’s about doing tricks on a skateboard. But instead of being a skinny dude or dudette with baggy pants and a pending case of scoliosis, you’re a chunky customizable parakeet. The goal is simple: meet other birds in the room and do chores and tricks. I know this sounds real ‘cheep’, but I can assure you… it actually is.

It’s not like it’s super lame or anything, but you really need to lower your expectations to truly have fun with it. Even though SkateBIRD obviously took some stuff from renowned skating games like THPS4, SkateBIRD stays really basic. It’s basically a matter of build-a-birb and roll out. Within minutes, you’ll learn how to ollie, kickflip, and grind stuff… and that’s about it.

You’re learning curve is literally a couple of minutes, after which you’re tasked with tweeting up with other hip birds. They’ll mostly ask things of you. Things like “Hey, can you collect 8 crushed soda cans and grind a few soup bowls while you’re at it?” Yeah… it doesn’t really get more spectacular than that, I’m afraid.

Luckily, SkateBIRD gives you all the time in the world to roam around the room. There’s really no time limit, leaving you uncaged for as long as you’d like. Only when accepting challenges from your feathery friends, a timer pops into place. A rather generous timer, might I add. Given the fact that the challenges mostly aren’t that difficult, you’ll end up with plenty of seconds left in the end.

The only real thing that could mess up your (mostly) generously timed run are the controls and the iffy camera angles. Playing SkateBIRD on the Xbox Series X, I’ve noticed that parakeets have the ability to turn on a dime when you put them on a plank with wheels. In other words, those trunks are pretty damn sensitive. And so are the cameras, which hardly seem to be able to keep up with what you’re doing. And that’s kind of a bummer since that’ll mean you’re bound to make a beakplant more often than you’d like.

Then again, some terrific music can fix all those annoyances. But if you’re looking for a big list of licensed ska and skater punk tracks, you’re going to be really disappointed. And I guess that makes sense since Glass Bottom Games probably doesn’t have the resources to ask bands like Lagwagon and Rage Against the Machine for some of their tracks. Instead, SkateBIRD spots a more laid-back pop-punk bird-centered soundtrack, with nice chirps in it and everything.

So I guess that SkateBIRD could be considered fun in a way, but it wouldn’t have hurt the game if it had gotten more time to hatch. The dodgy controls and iffy cameras kinda take away a lot of the charm that SkateBIRD really needs to keep you entertained. Because after all, there’s really not that much to do. I see what Glass Bottom Games is trying to do – and I appreciate the effort – but in the end, it’s just a game where you roll through the house as a parakeet doing chores. And that can get as boring as it sounds.

Make sure to get it 'cheep'
The Cheeps
You get to roll around as a chunky customized parakeet
The soundtrack is pretty dope, even though it's not licensed music
It's kinda funny for a while...
The Squawks
Camera glitches and wonky controls
There's really not that much to do
... but the fun can wear of pretty quickly