Do you ever feel like games are all too often about murder? Crushing goombas, shooting terrorists, beating up thugs, it’s all violence all the time. Why can’t games be more serene and peaceful?
Well, my lovely pacifists, I got a game for you today.
In Bird Week you play through a lineage of birds that are tasked with raising their young. You have a nest with two baby birds in it and must set out to gather food so that they might grow strong and reach adulthood.
To do this, you fly around a looping 2D plane filled with hazards and random butterflies, which are apparently haute cuisine in bird culture. You fly into these to crush them in your beak and then deliver your helpless prey to your children when they grow hungry. This will sate them for a brief while before you must again slaughter mother nature’s other creations to appease your flightless hellspawn.
The controls take some getting used to because your bird is remarkably slow in both its horizontal and vertical movements. At first, I thought you had to time button-presses with the flapping of your wings or something, but no, it’s just meant to be this weighty and sluggish. This causes some issues, as the butterflies are comparatively nimble and you have to deal with all manner of hazards while trying to catch up with them. Flying squirrels, hyperactive rodents, evil birds, everything is trying to knock you out of the sky and all of it is faster than you. I’d say the game is about 10% actual skill and 90% luck & prayer.
You can temporarily stun enemies by picking up items on the ground and dropping it on them, but this only affords you a brief moment of safety if you pull it off and it is time wasted that doesn’t go towards catching butterflies.
Taking a hit instantly takes away a life and you also lose one if a baby bird starves. Once you have fed them enough to reach adulthood, the game changes seasons and sends you to the next level. From there, the seasons loop until you have won 999 times.
The various seasons are well-portrayed and graphically it’s a pleasant game with much atmosphere to it, though the music loop does start to annoy after a few rounds. The gameplay also does get monotonous over time and can be frustrating to get used to, but it has a novelty to it and NES enthusiasts would do well to seek it out and give the game a spin.