The King's Bird

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
The King's Bird Game Poster Image
Beautifully fluid platform jumper with artistic flair.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Themes of working toward freedom, overcoming obstacles, learning to adapt to the world around you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Your character is striving to be free of the virtual (and literal) cage that keeps her prisoner in her own small world.

Ease of Play

It can take some time to get used to the game's physics-based motions. With practice, though, you'll soon be gliding through the air and past obstacles with grace and fluidity. Works best with a gamepad instead of a keyboard.

Violence

No combat, but players must still avoid hazards scattered in their path. There's no real "death," as the screen simply fades to black and restarts players from a nearby point.

Sex
Language

Outside of a short opening text monologue, there's no speaking in the game.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The King's Bird is a physics-based platform adventure game available for download on Windows-based PCs. Players traverse various areas of their world, using precision controls and momentum to run, jump, and glide past obstacles in a quest of both freedom and discovery. The game's narrative is told through action and sound, without text or spoken words. Although players must deftly avoid obstacles to advance, there's no "death" shown on-screen. Instead, when a hazard is hit, the game simply fades to black before restarting the player at an earlier safe point. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.

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What's it about?

THE KING'S BIRD is a precision platform game that challenges players to use momentum and physics to navigate a colorful world. You play a young girl looking to break free of the walls that surround her, which is a world that holds a secret of its own. Rebelling against the demands of the king, you begin to develop your own skills, pushing beyond your boundaries, both symbolic and literal. As you explore what lies beyond, you'll soon discover just what the king has been hiding and how this secret connects to you ... and the fate of your world.

Is it any good?

Sometimes a very simple idea can be absolutely gorgeous, like taking the basics of a platform game and giving it a beautifully fluid and colorful style. Such is the case with The King's Bird, an elegant and artistic adventure that's also a challenge for your patience and precision. First and foremost, players should note that this is a game best played with a controller. While it's entirely possible to play with the keyboard, the level of precision involved in running, jumping, and gliding through each area almost requires the flexibility a thumbstick can provide. Using the keyboard, by comparison, feels awkward and clunky, which is the complete opposite of everything else about the game.

One interesting quirk about The King's Bird is how the story develops. Outside of an opening bit of poetic text delivered at the very start, the game uses no text or voice-overs to tell its tale. Everything's communicated through music and animation, like a surreal operatic fairy tale brought to life. It's almost magical to watch the story unfold, but it can be confusing to fully understand. In fact, the game's style and fluidity are mesmerizing to the point of almost distracting you from the gameplay. It's easy to get lost in the moment as you're gliding through the sky, completely forgetting that you really should stick that landing. Thankfully, there are forgivingly spaced checkpoints, as well as an accessible Assist mode, which gives players unlimited glide time if needed. No matter how you play, the artistry in The King's Bird is hard to deny, and well worth checking out.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about positive life skills like communication. What are some of the ways that we can tell a story without words? How can we communicate concepts like ideas and emotions?

  • What are ways to prepare for a life on your own? How do you know when you're prepared for "spreading your wings"?

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