Developer: Joysteak Games
Publisher: Pqube Limited
Platforms: PS4, Switch, Steam
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 25/07/2019
Price: £12.99/$16.99
Review Rush was supplied with a review code.

[ Introduction ]

With the myriad of indie games that are released on an almost daily basis now, it can be hard to find something that truly stands out from the crowd. Then out hops something that catches our eye and sets it’s self apart from the rest of the indie pack. For us here, at Review Rush, the most recent game to do this has to be Songbird Symphony. Everything about the game sung to us that it will be something different. Find out below what we thought.

Join Birb a pudgy yet cute bird who loves to sing, but he has no idea who he is or where he is from. Birb was found and now lives with his ‘uncle’ who’s a peacock. On this particular day, Birb wants to know where he comes from, so his ‘uncle’ sends him off to see the Owl, the wisest bird in the woods. Only by learning all the notes from the other birds will Birb be able to find out who he is, on this heart-warming musical adventure.

songbird symphony review flowers

[ Gameplay ]

The gameplay is the weakest aspect of the game. There is nothing overly wrong with the gameplay mechanics next to sound and visuals (below) it pales in comparison.

Songbird Symphony is aimed at family-friendly and music-rhythm gameplay. Being family-friendly makes the games platforming sections way too easy without any risk that I noticed. When performing a blind jump, there was no question of ”I wonder if I will fall?” making the platforming sections too dull and straightforward. Sidequests are so simple most of them are completed just by moving around the area. Traversing the area is simple also left-right jump, hold jump to glide and input the necessary notes when prompted (you’ll do this a lot). I wouldn’t mind if it were not for the sometimes hit and miss input presses at times making some sequences aggravating (or maybe I’m just terrible at it).

When you get to a boss song, the game does a 180 flip, and some of the button combos that need to be pressed are confusing and come at you too fast they are easily missed. There were a few songs to which I got relatively low scores on the first time around. After songs are completed, it is possible to redo them to get a better score. There’s not much of a reason to repeat songs unless you want to get the best score.

When it comes to gameplay Songbird Symphony does nothing new and does not strike the right balance from platforming and the boss songs. If the devs could have got the gameplay balance right, the game would be outstanding.

songbird symphony review Birb

[ Visual and Perfomance ]

Visually Songbird Symphony is a joy to behold, everything it bright vibrant and has a layer of cuteness I have not witnessed in a long time. With this abundance of cuteness, there is an attention to detail, along with the best animations in a pixel art game I have seen EVER! The whole world feels alive almost real; this level of detail makes the game so pleasing on the eye. 

Each bird species has their distinctive, quirky way of moving, for instance, the chickens look like ovals, and when they walk it, they bounce up and down. The best and cutest thing about the animations is Birb’s dance as he is idle he cute happy face and his wee happy dance.

The bright colours add to the level of cuteness and family-friendly atmosphere Joysteak wanted. In a nutshell, they nailed the looks of the game. It might be a while before another pixel art game comes along and looks better and feel even more alive then Songbird Symphony.

While playing, I noticed one or two little problems within the loading of certain rhythm games. There was two minor problems of note; firstly after a boss song, there was a pause that seemed too long and was very noticeable. As well as in the woodpecker song, was a long pause that broke up the flow of his song. One thing that jumped out at me is the input lag on while trying to sing, I would be hitting directional keys in time with the rhythm but they where not registering as a hit (or I really am bad at this type of game).  Not that these make the game unplayable just more a nuisance then anything.  Beside these noticeable issues there is nothing else worth mentioning.

Overall the game is beautiful and alive with no real problems.

songbird symphony review fish

[ Sound ]

Where to start with the sound? It is even better than the visuals, yes this is not a mistype, the sound design is better.

Each level has its song, like most games, however, in Songbird Symphony the level is the soundtrack. While running, jumping and gliding around the area, there will be objects purposely placed that is tuned to the areas the main song. For example, in the chicken area, lanterns are hanging, within in jump height where jumping is necessary. Each lantern makes a sort of twinkle noise that fits in with the music regardless when it happens — only adding to the musical quality.

There are puzzle elements that add more sounds to the area, and the visuals mirror these changes. As well as my personal favourite part, the sing-along boss songs. They’re so catchy and easy to pick up. Each of the bird species ‘talks’ in a tone befitting the area, every noise is purposely tuned to where the player is. I could go on for ages on the sound quality, but I shall not I do not want to spoil the audio treat.

The quality of the sound design is outstanding and some of the best use of sound in any game I have ever played.

songbird symphony review uncle

[ Conclusion ]

Songbird Symphony ticks almost all boxes for a great game; the visuals, music and storytelling are all outstanding. It does falter with the gameplay side of things, with some songs being overly complicated to some of the puzzles being too simple. The balance was missed, and this is a massive shame. Don’t get me wrong the game is family-friendly and there are no repercussions for mistakes, re-doing a sequence half a dozen times does get annoying (with questionable input problems)…

If you are a fan of relaxing music-based gameplay, this is for you. In fact this game is practically for everyone unless you really don’t like rhythm games.

If you liked this game here is another platforming animal centred game Gato Roboto check the review out HERE!