Songbird Symphony Review
Have you ever teared up a bit because of a game’s music? Well, it happened to me with Songbird Symphony.
Songbird Symphony is a puzzle-platformer rhythm game developed by Singaporean studio JoySteak Studios and published by PQube. It follows the story of a chick of unknown origins, called Birb, which grew up with Uncle Pea in a muster of peacocks. One day, he becomes tired of being bullied by the peacocks because he looks different, and decides to discover where he truly belongs with the help of Owl. He advises Birb to learn the “language of the forest”, the notes and songs that the other birds can sing. This leads Birb on a fantastic journey, filled with new friends, dances, songs, and exploration, that will ultimately lead to his true origins.
Normally, I wouldn’t pick a rhythm game, as I am not the best at pushing buttons in order and with the correct timing, but considering my love for all birds, I decided to pick Songbird Symphony up. And I do not regret it one single bit. This game vibrates with energy from every pixel it has. It is charming and colorful, and a delightful adventure altogether.
The game can be divided into two parts: the exploration and the songs.
The exploration consists of searching the game’s 2D world, that is filled with content. The player can talk to other feathered friends, collect their feathers, help other animals or resolve puzzles, both of which will reward Birb with musical notes that will spice up the level’s music and can be used to open shortcuts or new areas. The puzzles are not too complicated (since most of the time it’s all about pushing boxes around) but they will make the player think for just the right amount of time.
Every level is highly detailed, the pixel art used is cute and everything is detailed. Exploration is never boring as there is always something to discover, be it a character or just a feather. The puzzles don’t feel like a hassle and they are definitely worth the time. The characters are varied: there is a tribe of penguins led by the Dancing Queen, Egbert the helpful egg, or just a large amount of chickens and roosters!
The songs follow a “repeat-after-me” scheme, meaning that a sequence of note is played on the screen and then the player must repeat those. The notes are equivalent to the X, Y and A buttons and the right, left and up buttons on the D-Pad. Initially, Birb is able to sing only one note, but as the game goes on he will unlock more. Each song plays differently: the player might need to remember the notes in the correct order and rhythm, the notes might disappear and reappear on the screen, or just wait for a circle to close around the note.
At the end of the song, a grade chart is shown, showing how good the player did. The game is inspired by the evergreen Disney musicals and it follows the same scheme, so the songs are sung at any time for the most random reasons. The music is really catchy and I believe that I have some of the songs looped in my head! The repeat-after-me scheme is fun and it doesn’t get boring since each song is spiced up with new mechanics. The music and the songs are absolutely gorgeous. I loved playing throughout each song and reading the lyrics, no matter how hard they were. I wanted to get an A in all of them just because I’m stubborn!
The story doesn’t take too long to finish: it is about 4 to 5 hours long, but it is filled with all this content that makes it last a bit longer. I really do think that the game is charming, I even teared up a bit! While there is absolutely no level of difficulty since it is really hard to get a score below B, it is all up to the player. Do they want to get an S in all the songs? Then it might take a while. Do you want to meet all the characters and find their feathers? Even more! And even if they are playing only for the story, it is really worth it.
Though I have a few nitpicks about the game. Sometimes, during the songs, the screen might get cluttered by visual effects, and it might be harder to see the notes. I would have liked one or two more songs with the final note unlocked since there are only two with it, and the addition of a level map would have been great since I got lost while trying to resolve puzzles in the bigger areas.
In conclusion, despite those nitpicks, I truly believe that Songbird Symphony is a real indie masterpiece, and it shows all the hard work that went into it by the people that created such a charming game. And maybe, if you are just like me, you’ll shed some tears too.
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Reviewed by Senpavo on the Nintendo Switch, game provided by PQube