A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Bird Story is a short, narrative downloadable adventure game that tells the story of a lonely boy and the consequences of rescuing an injured bird. The story is told without dialogue, although there are plenty of tool tips and pop-up hints to guide players on what they need to do to proceed. There's no violence, although a dream sequence could be scary for younger players.
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What's it about?
A BIRD STORY is the tale of a young boy with an incredibly bland life. He moves from his dreary school classroom through a playground of faceless children to his empty apartment. He has dinner, watches TV, finds a treat left for him, and falls asleep. He's not unloved, but he's lonely. On his way home from school one day, he rescues a wild bird from a badger and takes it home with him. The story is partially a fantastical journey as he finds friendship and companionship with this bird. The game also explores choices, actions, and consequences as the boy takes the bird to a vet, then runs off with it when the vet tries to cage the animal.
Is it any good?
A Bird Story is told in a surreal blend of dream and life sequences. There's no text; the graphics tell the story, while music and color evoke the mood of each scenario. One dream sequence, for example, manages to convey a threat to the boy and the bird solely through imagery. It's a powerful example of both the child's imagination and his perception of threats. Although this could be slightly scary for younger kids, it speaks to the emotional strength of the tale.
There's more story than game in A Bird Story, but it effortlessly conveys volumes in short cinematic sequences. The experience is tightly controlled, and the player interacts at key points such as rescuing the bird, giving it food, and playing with it. The sweeping sequence where they go on a paper airplane flight to help the bird find its family is magical and literally a flight of fancy. The experience may be incredibly short, but it's powerful, and players will marvel at the sense of imagination and storytelling without a single word being said.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the unconventional storytelling in A Bird Story. Can you fully understand a story that doesn't have a bit of dialogue? Can you express more with the lack of words in the game?
Talk about wild animals and rescue. What should you do if you find an injured bird or other wild animal? Should some injured animals be left alone?
Do you need large gestures to show love, or can something small -- like a note, a kind gesture, or the gift of a favorite dessert -- have the same effect on someone?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Science: animals
- Skills: Emotional Development: empathy
Responsibility & Ethics: learning from consequences, making wise decisions
- Price: $4.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Freebird Games
- Release date: November 7, 2014
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: NR
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.