Game Reviews

Shoot the Birds

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| Shoot the Birds
Shoot the Birds
| Shoot the Birds

A scarecrow is usually enough to protect your crops. Sometimes, though, you need to get mediaeval on their avian rumps, and you can't get much more mediaeval than a crossbow.

In Shoot the Birds, you play a pumpkin scarecrow with a crossbow, tasked with the satisfying job of shooting down airborne pests. As you're stuck in the ground, the only controls you have are aiming the crossbow and firing it up into the air with a slide of the touchscreen.

Aim well and you'll take a bird down. Aim really well and you'll spear up to four of them on a single arrow, for the 'shish kebab bonus'. You keep doing this until night falls, and the game ends.

Jack-o-lantern it in

There's essentially only one level, but questioning the longevity would be to do the game a slight disservice. It's a highscore-hunter, and rather cleverly the game is set up to allow dramatically different scores.

Every arrow that takes down a bird will extend the day a little longer, but any arrow that misses takes off time, bringing the end of the game closer, much like in iOS hit Tiny Wings. The game punishes you for rushing, but prevents you from dragging your feet.

On top of this, Infinite Dreams continues the Tiny Wings theme by letting you increase your base score multiplier over time by completing objectives.

Objectives range from taking down 30 birds with falling shots to impaling four critters on a single arrow. Pleasingly, very few of these are likely to stop you going for a highscore, as the two usually go hand in hand.

Just one more turn, turn, turn

It looks rather nice as well. The cartoon birds have a great deal of character, and the gradual cycle from day to night is well-handled, with the colours gradually turning to silhouettes prompting more urgency.

You can level a handful of criticisms at Shoot the Birds. It's naturally repetitive, with a Groundhog Day feel of repeating the same day over and over again, but no more so than the aforementioned Tiny Wings.

Slightly more disappointing was a control issue on my Galaxy S2: the crossbow is a bit too close to the bottom of the screen, meaning you sometimes drag your finger off the touchable area, causing the trajectory to shake and inevitably wasting an arrow.

Also, while the picture-based help guide can be applauded for its simplicity, it doesn't really go into the finer details, like what activates Fury Mode.

There's not a great deal to Shoot the Birds, but for the most part this tight focus works in its favour.

With the OpenFeint highscores (set for number of birds shot in a row, overall scores, and total kills), it's something you can keep coming back to.

It may be limited, but what's there is satisfying, moreish, and very well-presented.

Shoot the Birds

There's not much to it, but what is there is pretty much spot on for quick bursts of arcade action, with an objective system that always gives you something to aim for