Mile Marker 22: Rocketbirds: Revolution!

Tired of stodgy corporate games made by The Man and his minions? We're playing the 31 best indie games for a change of pace —- and so we can judge them. Today, Rocketbirds: Revolution!

In A Sentence
Take control of HardBoiled Chicken in this web-based side-scroller as you shoot your way through the avian army of Albatropolis.

State Of Completion
It's done and on sale for $9.95.

Thoughts
The gameplay and aesthetics of Rocketbirds: Revolution! are very similar to early 90s titles like Flashback and Prince of Persia, though it lacks some of the same fluidity that made those games so captivating to watch in motion. But the lighting and the fact that the game features a chicken, and not a person, more than make up for that.

And it nails the singular experience of those earlier games, stripping away the need for complex controls or mechanics to deliver a straight forward and fun game to play.

Answers We Demanded
Kotaku: What was the inspiration behind your game?

Sian Yue Tan: Ten years ago, when things in my life were at their worst, I made a short flash animation, in which Penguins battled Chickens. Since then, these birds have been keeping my creativity alive when I was working in less creative industries, so I wanted to make a game about them.

Kotaku: Why video games? There are plenty of ways for a person to express themselves creatively, why did you choose this way?

Tan: I believe making video games offers the ultimate creative release.

For this game I got to design and animate the characters from my imagination, craft their world, give them stories, give them personalities, make them think and move around and respond to one another - then give them guns and watch them kill each other.

I had to constantly switch between being the character designer and animator, to being the game designer, to being the programmer, to being the art guy, to being the storyteller, to being the voice actor, to being the level designer, to making the menus, the interfaces, the help screens, the music videos. Only video games can pull all the creative disciplines together like this - and only in indie productions can so few people have such absolute control in combining many of those disciplines.

Kotaku: Who or what are your greatest influences when creating a game?

Tan: This game is heavily influenced by games of the cinematic platforming genre, like Flashback and Oddworld, so in terms of game design, the challenge was to identify and highlight the elements that made those games work and update them for our own game. I wanted to make a cinematic platform game because I have great sentimental memories of playing those games, but they are also simple enough to be made by a small development team to reach today's levels of expected polish within a certain amount of time. I think a project must be designed with its constraints in mind, so I think it is the constraints that significantly influence the games I create.

Make sure to check out the rest of the Independent Games Festival finalists as we head toward the March awards show.