It feels strange to live in a world where games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band are all but non-existent. In the mid to late 2000s, it was impossible to ignore the notch that rhythm games had made on the gaming market. Of course, I don’t mean to say that no developers are making these types of games anymore, but I do feel like none have been as polarizing or popular as those games. Being a musician myself, I am naturally drawn to these types of games as music is usually one of the most important qualities of a game that I look for. I was recommended Songbird Symphony by a colleague as he knew that I would walk away heavily satisfied, and he was 100% right.
In what may be a retelling of the story of the Ugly Duckling, Songbird Symphony takes you on a journey as a young bird named Birb who is trying to find his family. Literally, the game starts with Birb hatching from his egg and being raised by a peacock. He realizes that he is different quickly as he is made fun of by the other birds in the community. In this alienation from this cruel community, he embarks on a quest to find his real family. The journey is full of laughs and sadness though. Birb finds out the world is a mighty big place and it is not quite sunshine and rainbows.
Songbird Symphony is very interesting considering it combines several genres that I never thought I would see together, Rythym and platforming. Music is what makes the world go round in the game. You will find that every puzzle in the game has to do with hitting buttons in a certain timing and it changes the music of the overworld. My wife (who is not a gamer) tends to find most game music to be redundant and uninteresting, but she really enjoyed the music of Songbird Symphony. It is very calm. Joysteak Studios were able to combine open-world elements with the music beautifully.
Traveling around the big open world involves lots of platforming and using Birbs gliding ability to get from spot to spot. Thankfully, unlike open-world games like Skyrim, where the game is open, it is simple to figure out where you are going and what you need to do next, although I admit that some type of minimap would be wholly welcome at some spots of the game.
The real meat and potatoes of the game naturally go to the music of the game. Joysteak Studios definitely do not drop the ball when it comes to the minigames with music. Where the concept of a rhythm game is the same with each encounter, it still feels special each time. I was worried that the game would feel redundant after a while, but the way that the studio made each encounter unique made me excited to come to the next encounter. In the early stages of Songbird Symphony, the game is simple with but one button or two to press in time, but as you progress thru the game, more buttons open up offering you more variations to the games as well making the mini-games slightly harder.
Even at the hardest parts of the game, the game never felt like it was too difficult. Each encounter is graded by how accurate you are with hitting the notes. Thankfully, if you are not satisfied with your scores, you can replay the encounter right away.
This 6-hour adventure was everything I could ever ask for from a studio making its debut. The music of Songbird Symphony was great! I could see myself listening to the music outside of the game. I love the intricate ways they were able to make the Rythym parts of the game seem fresh and exciting. Birbs story is certainly one that will touch anybody that has ever felt alone in the crazy messed up world. I look forward to whatever Joysteak Studios does next.
*This Review Code was provided by the publisher for review*