Songbird Symphony follows ‘Birb’, a little bird on a quest to find out where it came from and who it is. The game is platform oriented with mini games that involve using the controller to repeat melodies as they are sung to you by other characters. Gameplay is a surprisingly pleasant hybrid between Super Mario and Guitar Hero. Without specific instructions, Birb runs around a level to explore the environment and interact with other creatures of the animal kingdom. You move from area to area to help the inhabitants of a pixelated world where the colours are vibrant and the atmosphere is relaxed. These side quests punctuate the main story of Birb coming of age under the guidance of his stork uncle.
The game begins in a forested area but as you navigate through the levels and complete the controller-karaoke tasks, you find Birb accessing sections that are more intense and a little bit trippy. The artwork that makes up the setting of the game has been synthesised in a retro pixel style that is consistent and smooth throughout. Taking a moment to appreciate the colours and shapes of Birb’s surrounding leads to appreciation of the artistry and a sense of escapism. Combine this with the innocent mini games and you have a new game that somehow manages to make you nostalgic for the whimsical video games of your childhood.
Jumping from platform to platform and sliding around the cross-section of a forest or volcano is fun but Songbird Symphony peppers some challenges along the way. These end-of-level tasks usually involve tapping controller buttons at exactly the right time to the exact rhythm. It almost feels like a practical exercise in musical theory. Birb furthers the quest to find themself by using melody to solve puzzles and receive grades. For a game with a frivolous theme, it feels almost embarrassing to feel a sense of gratification from completing these symphonies.
If the everyday stresses and strains of modern life are grinding you down and you find yourself with a few hours to burn, this game comes recommended. The innocence and lightness of Songbird Symphony’s composition and potent enough to change perspectives and force even the most cynical of us to realise that life doesn’t have to be dark and serious if you take the time to get silly and engage in some avian shenanigans.
- Beautiful pixel art
- Whimsical theme
- Innocent escapism
- Instructions are not always clear
- Not everyone enjoys platformers
- Relatively small game