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Game Info:

Bird of Light
Developed by: Roach Interactive
Published by: Zen Labs
Released: July 15, 2016
Available on: Windows, macOS, SteamOS/Linux
Genre: Puzzle platformer
ESRB rating: E
Number of players: 1
Price: $4.99

*Advertising disclosure* Though Black Shell Media is an advertising partner, this review is not influenced by that relationship.

Thank you, Black Shell Media, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

Cities can be terrible for those with health problems. When you've got asthma, the smog and polluted air can be a serious danger. There's nothing like living in the countryside and enjoying fresh air. When Tara, the protagonist of "Bird of Light" develops asthma, that's exactly what her parents do. 

Take note that the wide open spaces don't go to the extreme of being suspended in the sky, though. The game consists of these floating islands and running along them. The goal of each level is to travel from the starting point, find the key, and then navigate to the castle. It's a simple concept, but adds a couple of interesting twists.

Bird of Light
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting approach to the platformer genre; cute graphics
Weak Points: Repetitive music; steep difficulty curve
Moral Warnings: None

Each level is divided into two parts. The first is the overhead map, where you can see the layout of the islands. From this point, you can add additional islands – wooden grids that connect the paths – to make a route from the start to the goal. By spending tokens, you also can reveal the location of the key and the eggs you can collect.

The second part of the level is the actual run. Tara will run continuously, and you have no control over her speed. You can have her change lanes, turn left or right, reverse her direction, or jump. If she runs into an obstacle or falls off the islands, you can either restart the level or resume from one of the checkpoints you encountered during your run. (You also are treated to a scene of Tara sitting up in bed with a confused expression, which gives the implication that the game is all just a dream.)

Completing the level will earn you one badge. Each level also offers two additional challenges – a speed run, where you have to retrieve the key and get to the castle within a set amount of time; and a "boss run," in which you have to collect all of the eggs in addition to the key and make it to the castle before too much time passes. In both cases, placing the wooden islands becomes essential, and sometimes the best solutions require different placements for each challenge.

Bird of Light
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 70%
Gameplay - 12/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The graphics are cute and fun, which belies the fact that the game contains a surprising difficulty spike.  The running portion contains some tricky jumps which only get harder as the levels progress. Sometimes this can be mitigated by placing the platforms in different locations, but that bears the risk of failing to achieve certain goals within the time allotted. In addition to the challenges, the game fails to unlock achievements, both within the game and through the Steam platform. So despite its interesting and innovative approach, there are a few flaws in its execution. Also, the music is repetitive and not terribly impressive. 

On the moral front there is little to be concerned about. As previously mentioned, Tara's "deaths" just consist of her falling with a scream, followed by a scene of her sitting up in bed. There aren't any other issues that come up that could cause any worries.

Although a clever idea, Bird of Light can prove to be too difficult for younger players. Those who enjoy a platforming challenge or speed runs may find some entertainment in this game, and the $4.99 price tag makes it quite affordable. With the opportunity to get faster times with each of the 29 levels, there is significant replay value in Bird of Light. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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