SkateBIRD (Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Back in the late 90’s, extreme sports games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater were huge.  But I never understood the draw of them.  That is until I reviewed Disney Skate Adventure, which was made by the same folks who did the Tony Hawk games.  Disney Skate Adventure was actually one of the first games I reviewed at GamerDad, and I finally understood the draw of these types of games after playing it.  You got to skate with familiar characters like Buzz Lightyear and cub Simba, and skate around locations like Pizza Planet and the Elephant Graveyard.  It was a lot of fun, so I’m more open to try unusual skateboard games now!  Which brings us to SkateBIRD, where you can play as small birds who have traded flying for skating, and you can shred around skate parks like a giant bedroom!  It’s about as weird as Fight Crab, and really put the ‘hawk’ in Tony Hawk!  It’s available on some consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

The first thing you’ll do is design your bird skater.  You’ll choose from all sorts of different species, like parakeet, pigeon, quail, and many more.  Although they all really look like the same sized bird just with different feather patterns and beaks.  You can outfit your bird with all sorts of different headgear, eyegear, belts, backpacks, and more.  Unlock more goodies to outfit your bird with while skating.  You’ll cruise around skate parks like a giant bedroom, talking to other birds and taking on missions in the main Story Mode.  Here you are skating to find the Big Friend, which is probably the human owner of these talented birds.  In the missions you’ll have to do tricks and find hidden items.

Those who are familiar with skateboard game controls should be able to jump right into this one.  For example, to jump you must hold down the B button first, and then release it to jump, and then you can do tricks with the other buttons while in the air.  However, I know it’s been a LONG time since I played a skateboard game, but I remember Disney Skate Adventure controlling MUCH better than this game.  Stunts like grinding are really hard to pull off in SkateBIRD, and it’s so easy to fall.  Worse is that in order to go really fast, you must spell out the word FANCY by doing tricks without falling, and that was nigh impossible for me.  Because of the bad controls, it really soured my experience with this game.

Kid Factor:

SkateBIRD is rated T for Teen with an ESRB descriptor of Lyrics.  I really didn’t notice anything bad in the songs, so it’s nothing worse than what you hear on the radio.  You can fall off your board, but your bird just tumbles around like a plush toy, and you can push a button to get right back up again, so it’s not that violent.  Reading skill is needed for the text, and younger gamers may find the controls too difficult.

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