Rocketbirds 2: Evolution preview: Eggs Over Easy

The Rocketbirds team is back for another round of militarized aviary warfare, as Shacknews takes a look at Rocketbirds 2: Evolution.

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Back in 2012, the 2D run-and-gun shooter got a little more fowl with the arrival of Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken. Think of a traditional classic of that genre, like Metal Slug or Contra, and use chickens, instead. It carried a much sillier tone, but it still offered plenty of pump-action violence. Now it's time for the Hardboiled Chicken to return and finish the fight in Rocketbirds 2: Evolution.

The story picks up right where the first Rocketbirds left off. The evil iL Putzki is still alive, which means Hardboiled's mission is not yet over. He must kill him, once and for all. But there's a more sinister force working alongside iL Putzki, as he's aided by his whole army, as well as diabolical Trans-dimension Space Owls.

Hardboiled will need more firepower to deal with the threat ahead, but some simple improvements are also cooking in the oven. For one thing, Hardboiled is no longer restricted in terms of where he can aim. Evolution will grant him full 360 degree aiming controls, allowing him to blow away enemies wherever they may be. Hardboiled's reflexes will need to be faster, since Evolution's overall pace appears to be faster than its predecessor, but he'll still have some of his old tricks available to him. Walking up to an enemy will still perform an automatic melee and even juggle the enemy to leave him open for target practice.

Players will also have some new tools available to them. Early in the game, Hardboiled picks up a dropped communicator off an enemy and can use it to mess around with enemy facilities and soldiers. At first, it's played up for humor, as Hardboiled crank calls one of the enemy generals. Then it's applied a little more practically, with Hardboiled calling up enemy soldiers and briefly taking control of them. Since the enemy birds aren't too bright, they'll open up doors on command and even take out their fellow soldiers, should the order be isused. That's assuming, of course, that Hardboiled stays out of their line of sight. The enemies aren't complete featherbrains.

Hardboiled also won't be alone, as Evolution will introduce four-player co-op, which will go under the name Rescue Mode. Up to four players can drop in and out either locally or online to join in on the Kentucky frying action. This mode takes place at the same time as Hardboiled's campaign and sees other characters going out to save captive friendlies strewn across the world. To help encourage replayability, the levels will be procedurally generated. While much of the action feels the same, there's still room for teamwork. Players can ride each other's shoulders or set each other up using their melee strikes. If tempers ever flare between friends over the course of Rescue Mode, they can also take their grievances to the Dojo, where they can engage in a friendly bout of competitive multiplayer against each other.

Rocketbirds 2: Evolution is promising to be a more substantial release than the original game, with the development team promising around a 14-hour single-player campaign, as opposed to the 3-4 hours offered in the original game. The visuals appear to be upgraded, shooting for a more 2.5D look, as opposed to the cel-shaded style used in the original game. With that said, prepare to see many of the same military base environments, just with a shinier coat of paint. Fortunately, another idea that's carrying over to this sequel is the game's humor, with Hardboiled offering up quips and enemies engaging with humorous banter in-between shooting gallery segments.

While the Rocketbirds team is aiming for a PlayStation 4 release, it's mainly aiming for the platform that delivered the most success for the original Hardboiled Chicken: PlayStation Vita. Yes, a large chunk of the first game's sales came from Sony's handheld and the Rocketbirds team is excited to bring the next game to that audience. Look for Rocketbirds 2: Evolution to hit those two Sony platforms, with cross-buy and cross-save capabilities.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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