Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
September 16, 2021
Glass Bottom Games
Glass Bottom Games
The avian action sports game SkateBIRD from Glass Bottom Games has just landed. The title features an endearing story along with many adorably cool birds, referred to in-game as birbs. Tackle 5 different skate parks with their many different objectives to help your human, known as Big Friend, do his very best. From bedrooms to rooftops, you’ll love this impeckable and owlsome skater game — so jump on your board and become the very next Tiny Hawk!
If you like birds and you like skateboard titles like Tony Hawk and Skate City, then SkateBIRD is going to scratch that particular itch. Set out by customising your very own birb with a plethora of species and fashion accessories at your disposal. Then head out into the bedroom of your Big Friend where you’ll listen to gnarly ska tracks and complete objectives along the way. Get FANCY high scores by flying off half-pipes while grabbing, flipping and grinding. I was instantly transported back to my days of old-school Tony Hawk whilst enjoying this game. Although with that said, the trick list is somewhat limited here and I knew none of the songs from the soundtrack, even if they were all endearingly bird related. The story is cute and charming and the objectives given to the player are simplistic in concept but seemingly more difficult in execution. Overall, in my time spent as my little birb friend, I did enjoy seeing what the story had for me next.
Completing objectives consist of several different tasks, which can sometimes be quite adorably ingenious. SkateBIRD offers typical skate game objectives such as collecting items, letters, or performing tricks. On top of this, there are also some additional bird-themed objectives that get quite creative. Whilst attempting to help Big Friend tidy up his room, we’re asked us to attach balloons to the blankets so we can ‘make the bed.’ Neat! Literally. The game plays on the size of the player, which is always a very endearing perspective. Food bowls are half pipes, staplers are grind ledges, and fans are flight machines.
The controls are where I really struggled with SkateBIRD. Whilst I really appreciated the sheer amount of accessibility and control adjustment options available, I was overwhelmed and confused with the language used. In my first attempt at the game, I used a mouse and keyboard, which is more native to me. I can confidently say that a gamepad or controller is definitely the way to go. The keyboard controls are far too clunky and the default keys are too spread out for ergonomic gameplay. Once I switched to a controller, I found it much easier to handle the tricks and movement of my little skate birb. Although with that said, I still needed to play a lot with the settings to help me actually complete any objectives. I was stuck on a simple objective for over half an hour because I was unable to line up a jump properly, as my birb kept swinging too wide. I’m used to language such as ‘sensitivity’ in the options menu, however, the settings here used language such as ‘deadzones’ that was just foreign to me. After some googling and help from a friend, I was able to decipher the options and work out how to shift the sensitivity so I could successfully complete the objective… which I did… in the next minute. These settings matter!
With every fast-paced game, the camera can really get in the way. Unfortunately, SkateBIRD suffers this same fate. It’s not a game-breaker by any means, but there are definitely times the camera hinders instead of helps. At some points, I was stuck with the camera flicking backwards and forwards repeatedly or missing the big air trick because the camera has changed and the direction you are pushing is suddenly the wrong way. Again, it’s not a game-breaker, it’s just something that takes time to adjust when playing the game. After some time I was able to navigate the camera and I did have a little play with all the camera settings to find the sweet spot in my gameplay style. Something to consider when you jump in!
“Huge hats off to the team at Glass Bottom Games for thinking of all gamers when creating their game.”
I did really appreciate and I do feel the need to shout out the accessibility settings. Not only is this game available in 10 different languages, but there are also a number of really helpful and intuitive accessibility settings that could be really helpful and useful for those who need it most. Settings include removal of the ‘balance’ minigame when grinding or doing manuals, changing the collision rate so your birb falls off less easily, auto fliptricks, auto grinds, high contrast dialogue and bigger dialogue font. Alongside this is all the sensitivity and deadzone settings that help make sure this game is playable for people of all abilities. Huge hats off to the team at Glass Bottom Games for thinking of all gamers when creating their game.
Not only does SkateBIRD feature amazing accessibility options, but they also support the music artists in their Mixtape linking directly to the band’s website. The ska tracks and chill beats are on-brand with the vibe of SkateBIRD, with most of them sharing some sort of bird-related facts within the lyrics. I’m ashamed to admit though, I did get rather sick of the same tracks on repeat until I picked up the collectable mixtape to unlock more songs. They’re really not easy to find or to get to though, so you are stuck with some repeating track about herons until you are good enough to collect more. It’s very cute and quirky though, possibly just not my personal taste in music. Perfectly on-trend for a skate game!
Helping our Big Friend as a cute fuzzy birb is both enjoyable and frustrating. Personally, it would’ve been more enjoyable for me had I been able to pick up and play the game out of the box without needing to fiddle with the setting so much. However, thanks to the amazing forethought of the developers, I was able to adjust the settings so I could enjoy the game. SkateBIRD states that its focus is trying your best, cool birbs, story, big air & tricks and small exploration. With all things considered, they deliver this in a neat little package for all players. Once through the initial story of around 5-8 hours, there is little more to do other than collect all the achievements, clothing items, mixtapes and skateboards. It’s a great little indie game that offers those old school Tony Hawk vibes and brings a very unique perspective to the skateboarding game genre. It’s darn cute, intuitive, accessible and has some really funky tunes. If skate games are your jam, this is an experience not to miss.
- Cute birbs
- Plethora of accessibility settings
- Funky music
- Engaging storyline
- Unique objectives and intuitive use of 'small' person view
- Camera can get in the way
- Controls can be clunky without thorough calibration
- Keyboard and Mouse controls are too difficult to use
SkateBIRD is an adorable action sports game with a lot of charm and funky beats. Setting aside minor control and camera issues, the unique perspective of being a teeny bird helps bring a refreshing look to the skate game genre. From dirty cereal bowls to server cables, travelling across 5 different levels to help your human come home was enjoyable and engaging. Meeting several interesting and pun-filled birds who help you on your journey just added to the quirk and charm. Glass Bottom Games has done a commendable job making this accessible for all gamers, allowing for a unique player experience.