Review – Of Bird and Cage

If you are a fan of puzzle games and like to play with the birds, make sure to check out this one. Although the description is in Japanese, the title should be self-explanatory.

Last week I got the chance to review the book,  Of Bird and Cage , by  Michael John Hirsh. I was asked if I wanted to review this book, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to read about a few birds in the wild.

Bird and Cage, a free-to-play iOS game that’s available both in English and Chinese, is a simple match-3 puzzle game set in a complex metaphor for a relationship. You’ll meet a girl, fall in love, and then marry her by tapping on her bird cage. As you progress in the game, you’ll unlock new birds to add to your bird cage, and these birds will get married to new cages, creating a never-ending cycle of love.

really appreciate it when a developer tries to do something completely different. Since many games just repeat multiple forms of already successful games, most of them start to blend together after a while. Some are excellent, like Stanley’s Parable, but others fail, like Telling a Lie. So when I heard about the experimental metal album Of Bird and Cage by Capricia Productions, my curiosity was aroused. Was it a stunt or should it have been kept secret? The Bird and the Cage is essentially a dark and twisted version of Beauty and the Beast. You play the role of Gitta Barbot, a 25-year-old drug addict with a traumatic past. One day she discovers that she is being stalked by a mysterious man, Bres Lupus, whom she calls the Beast. After being kidnapped, she tries to escape her captor, find out more about who he is and why he wants her, and stay sane. Will she manage to escape from her prison, or will she discover that this monster is more complex than it seems? How comfortable. Leaking pipes can be used as showers. The story itself is exciting throughout the film. At first it looks like the usual tragic heroine trying to find her way in a scary world. But it only gets really interesting when Bres enters the picture. The complexity of the two main characters becomes apparent as their story unfolds. It interested me enough to watch it at least to the end. There are also different endings you can get, all based on the choices you make along the way. word-image-728 Facing the Stockholm syndrome. Unfortunately, throughout the game you have to deal with miserable gameplay. Of Bird and Cage is an experimental game where you essentially play a long music video for an entire metal album. It’s a good idea, but it’s not very well executed. One of the reasons this doesn’t work is that each level is synchronized with its corresponding song. This could work if the levels were very simple and linear in design (and there are some). However, some parts are based on exploration and detection of hidden targets. These portions are a nightmare. Usually we don’t know exactly what to do or what to look for, so we spend a lot of time searching. If you fail to complete the tasks before the timer runs out, you fail, which can have disastrous consequences for your plot. word-image-729 I didn’t accomplish my main goals, but at least I found some bird graffiti that appears to be made with real bird poop! It’s also much harder to find collectibles in any act. There are different types of things to look out for: CDs, history-related items, birds, drugs and visions. I could only collect a few at a time because I don’t have enough time to explore the area. Often you will have to choose quickly between searching for collectibles and completing the main task. In many cases, however, you will not be able to do both. Another reason level designs don’t work is that they try to match the music. There were several sections where you had to look for something, but the lights flashed and strode to the rhythm of the bass or drums. As you can imagine, this is incredibly distracting and distracts your eyes from your surroundings. Again, it’s a cool idea, but it doesn’t fit this kind of experience. word-image-730 I might have had more success if I could have thrown a gun at them. The controls in Of Bird and Cage are just awful. Instead of limiting themselves to a simple racing simulation with moral decisions, they tried to make it an action game. Gitta can walk, run, jump, hit, do drugs, collect things, drive a car and shoot a gun, all in a terrible way. Each of these game mechanics feels like a half-finished product. The jump is either floating or completely ineffective. If you point the cursor directly at the center of the target when shooting, you will not be sure to hit the target. Lifting and moving objects is also very tiring. And then there’s hit recognition, which seems to take on a life of its own during battles. One time I hit the side of the man’s head and it registered as a punch, and the other time my hand went down my opponent’s throat and nothing happened. On another occasion, I fired twelve shots directly into a man’s face and he didn’t flinch. I think that’s a mistake, unless he’s the world’s most irritating bullet sponge. word-image-731 Twelve shots to the face didn’t hurt him. This game also has a lot of QTEs, just like the Telltale games. Fortunately, they seem to respond fairly quickly, and the time it takes to press the right buttons is correct. Sometimes they feel out of place when they are thrown into the middle of a combat unit for no reason. It gets even better when you play with the controller and operate the mouse and keyboard instead. This happened to me several times during the game. The inability to complete QTEs successfully, win battles, take down targets, or move objects into place negatively impacts the story as a whole and only makes the experience more frustrating. word-image-732 That’s great, but I don’t use a keyboard. …. The movie Bird and the Cage is not even fun to watch. The graphics are rough to say the least. They look like something from the PS2 era, although some of the lighting effects look semi-competent. Some of the character models are ridiculously ugly, and the animations are so wooden that you wonder what the characters in Dragon Age: The origin is like ballet dancers. There are also an insane amount of pop-ups in each scene. Sometimes Bres’ leather jacket appears in the middle of a sentence, and with the trees in the forest, you have to be a few feet away from them before they decide to appear. I’ve seen the best graphics and animations in Dreams fan games. word-image-733 His eyebrows look like they were drawn during the earthquake and are melting. But it’s not all bad. The only positive thing about Of Bird and Cage is the music, which is hopefully typical of an album worth listening to. It is clear that the majority of the project budget was invested here. The soundtrack is the collective work of several rock/metal musicians, including Ron Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Ruud Joly (Within Temptation), Rocky Gray (ex-Evanescence) and many others. Cobra Paige (Cobra and the Lotus) shines as Bird and the Cage’s main character, Gitta, with a powerful and emotional portrayal. My only complaint about the sound design is that most of the dialogue is spoken normally at the beginning, rather than in voices as it is later. While these musicians have exceptional musical talents, they are clearly not cut out to be dubbers. That’s why the line transmissions in the first parts sound very amateurish. Fortunately, most of the game is presented as a symphonic rock opera, which was certainly the right decision for a game of this nature. word-image-734 The rock opera approach was the best way to proceed for this type of project. Of Bird and Cage is an over-ambitious project that has clearly bitten off more than it can chew. I don’t know why the team at Capricia Productions felt the need to include all sorts of action-based game mechanics in this two-hour adventure, but it only hurt the final product. If the game were changed to look more like an immersive walking simulation with various moral choices, the gameplay would be more appropriate. I understand what they’re trying to accomplish with this, I really do. I love this concept. But sometimes a great idea doesn’t translate well into a video game (Waking is another good example). Still, I’d like to see them try the concept again, with a bigger budget and a more realistic game format. But for now, I recommend you buy just the soundtrack.

The graphics are choppy, with incredibly stiff animations and terrible pop-ups. The controls are terrible. Everything in the gameplay feels half-baked, and hit detection is completely messed up.
The soundtrack is excellent and is the only good thing about this game. The dialogues sound amateurish when spoken and are not sung as with the song. Despite the fantastic soundtrack and compelling story, the game is pretty hampered by the terrible controls and confusing level design.
Final decision: 4.5

Of Bird and Cage is already available on PC and Switch. The test was conducted on a PC with i7-9700k, RTX 2070 and 16 GB of RAM. A copy of Of Bird and Cage was made available by the publisher.

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“Bird and Cage” will give you a look at the inner workings of a phone, by showing you how a phone is put together.  “Bird and Cage” is a game about putting a phone together, and I think it’s a great one.. Read more about of bird and cage walkthrough and let us know what you think.

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