The last thing you’d ever say to John Rambo is that he’s a chicken. But in the side-scrolling shooter Rocketbirds Evolution, a sequel to the similar Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken, the lead character is actually a Rambo-like chicken. Well, rooster, actually, but I ain’t going to call his a cock. With the game coming soon to the PlayStation 4 and Vita, both of which will support both cross-buy and cloud saves, I sat down with Ted Lange, Executive Producer at Reverb Triple XP, to play the game and to talk about how this sequel improves upon the original.
For those who didn’t play the original Rocketbirds, what kind of game was that?
It was your basic action platformer with shooting, very Contra-esque, and heavy on the humor.
So then is Rocketbirds 2 Evolution the same kind of game, but with a new adventure?
It is, except that the developer read through all the feedback and built the game based on the fan’s complaints.
What were some of the big complaints that they addressed in this sequel?
The biggest thing was the aiming. In the original, you could only aim straight and up. Now you use the right stick and can aim in 360°.
Did they change anything else about the combat?
No, though if you’re up close to an enemy, you will melee them, and can even pop them up in the air. It’s not new but it’s still fun.
What else did people want them to change?
This has a more in-depth story. There’s about fourteen hours of the campaign. In the first game, people were finishing the game in two to three hours.
Speaking of the story, is Rocketbirds 2 Evolution a sequel to the original, or something else?
It’s a complete sequel. In it, you find out that the bad guy you thought you killed in the original is actually still alive, so you set out to kill him…again.
In the original, there was a lot of problem solving. Like you had to go get a keycard and then backtrack to open a door so you could move a box into position…
Yeah, there’s a lot of puzzle-ish elements in Rocketbirds 2 Evolution as well. For instance, you now have a phone and can jam the enemy’s phones and can command them to open doors and whatnot. Using the phone, you have to move the phone’s reception line around until you hit upon an enemy, which hacks their phones and lets you tell them to do what you want.
And they just do it?
Yeah, they’re not that bright. But you can only do this in specific spots. Like if one of the enemy birds sees you, they’re going to attack you. In only works in certain spots where the enemies can’t see you, and there’s a door that you can’t open.
It also looks like they spruced up the graphics.
They did. Instead of a 2D cel-shading like the original, they went up to 2.5D to give it a bit of depth.
In the original, you could play the campaign solo or co-op. Can you play this co-op as well?
Yes and no. They took out the campaign co-op and instead made a mode called “Rescue Mode.” In it, you and up to three friends, either local or online, go on missions to rescue characters, and the levels are procedurally generated. So it’s not just the campaign again, though you will see little things in one mode that pop up in the other.
You also, by playing both the campaign and “Rescue Mode,” unlock different playable characters and weapons and other things in “Rescue Mode.”
How many different characters are there?
Twenty-three. Six of which are unlocked to start. And they don’t have any different abilities, but you can change a lot about them; how they look, their weapons. As you play this mode, you’ll pick up money, which you then use in the stores that are in the hub. And different stores unlock as you progress.
I’ll ask you the same question I asked the people making The Division: If your character is a member of the military, why does he have to buy his weapons, why doesn’t someone just give him weapons?
Funny. Speaking of joking around, how many jokes about Chick-Fil-A had to be cut out?
There weren’t a lot of Chick-Fil-A jokes, but there were about KFC. Not by name, of course, but there were a lot of references to a company that makes fried chicken to be eaten.
Right. But there’s no “Don’t Cluck, Don’t Fil-A” jokes…
Going back to “Rescue Mode,” can you play it on your own?
You can. You can also use money you earn in the game to rent a duck, who will be an A.I.-controlled partner. In fact, this was one of the other things people complained about with the first game, they wanted the co-op to be more in-depth.
You can even play it against people. There’s a PVP mode, where you and your friends can shoot each others. The only thing about it is that you have to pay to play this mode using money you got in co-op.
Do all the other rules and whatnot in co-op apply in the PVP matches?
They do. All the customization, different weapons, picking up of money and ammo.
Speaking of picking up money, I noticed as we were playing it that the enemies also drop ammo. But it seems like the ammo and the money went to whoever grabbed it first, it wasn’t that everyone got some money and some ammo.
Right. It’s first come, first serve.
Now I assume there’s a limit to how much ammo you can carry….
What happens if someone drops 10 rounds of ammo, and I grab it but I only need 5 rounds?
It doesn’t leave the other five rounds for someone else, if that’s what you’re asking.
Yeah, it was. Now wait, what did you just do?
I jumped up onto your head. You can actually, in “Rescue Mode,” stack guys, and whoever controls the bottom character, controls the movement.
Does doing that Voltron-y move give you any kind of advantage? Like does it make your guns exponentially more powerful?
No, it’s just this funny thing you can do.
Kind of sums up the whole game, doesn’t it.
Yeah, it kind of does.