Title: Songbird Symphony
Developer: Joysteak Studios
Genre: Adventure, Rhythm
Platform: Playstation 4
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 25/07/2019
Price: £13.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Songbird Symphony is a musical adventure game created by JoySteak Studios, an indie company from Singapore. It combines platforming and rhythm gameplay mechanics to emulate the magical role music plays in a Disneyesque experience.
Join Birb as he leaves the safety of his nest in search of his parents, confronting the dangers of the outside world and ultimately unveiling his destiny.
Despite the dangers, Birb is very positive. He’s a glass half full bird, always chirping away.
Songbird Symphony is unlike any other game I’ve played. Its a fantastic looking pixel art side scroller that takes you on Birb’s first adventure.
In Songbird Symphony you collect musical notes from various quests, mostly to complete “boss” songs and advance through the game. It’s a pretty simple collect X, do Y kind of game.
Collecting the notes isn’t tricky, but the complexity of the boss songs could be frustrating, especially as you’re aiming for that coveted S rank. If you get lower, you can replay the song and try and hit those musical notes (think Guitar Hero) with perfect timing. It’s incredibly frustrating when you miss-time a note or even fail to hold one.
However, even the tardiest of attempts will net you some form of a score, so there’s no real pressure to be the best, and as the game went on, I felt less inclined to perform to the best of my ability and just focused on getting past the stages.
As a side quest to the note collecting, you can also collect bird feathers. These are a little trickier and require some thinking to solve the puzzles even to find them. I found this puzzle side of the game more enjoyable than the note collecting and song challenges.
During your adventures, you will also meet some interesting side characters, who will offer you a simple task, like to help write a love song. These aren’t required and feel like filler.
The visuals are striking pixel art that never feels repetitive. Each area has a different visual and musical tone, and Birb continues to chirp as he navigates the forests around him.
However the theme of identity doesn’t feel fleshed out enough to warrant an emotional response, which meant I didn’t connect or become emotionally engaged by Birb and his adventures.
It skirts around some deep-seated issues that the Developer was trying to address, but it feels like reading a bedtime book to my kids, where the message isn’t as hard-hitting as it could be.
One of the best parts of the game are the audio and visual segments of the game are well polished and offer a sensory adventure that you’ve probably not had from a game in a long time.