Brave Beak Soars with Clever, Addictive Gem

Posted: January 28, 2012 in Casual

One of the great things about the iTunes store is the variety and sheer number of new games released on a weekly basis.  With that, there are plenty of hidden gems that honestly don’t receive the attention they deserve.  One such gem is Brave Beak, a worthwhile casual game both for its simple, addictive gameplay, and entertaining for its many nuances.  With a simple one-touch mechanic that is much more than its Angry Birds/Tiny Wings hybrid looks, Brave Beak will have many soaring to new heights.

First off, the basics…the goal is to maneuver a bad attitude, squawking bird through a number of environments in a quest to his kidnapped princess.  In order to progress through the current chapter consisting of 18 levels (an additional two chapters are planned in future updates), objectives must be met.  Of course, there’s a high score component and the collecting of treasure throughout.  Accumulating points and collecting items are done simply by flying into them.  This sounds straightforward but players will that Brave Beak is rather clever in how this all carried out.

The first thing players will notice right away is the Don Ho-inspired island music which is catchy enough that you’ll likely be humming bars of it throughout the day.  Many players like eye candy and Brave Beak certainly doesn’t disappoint.  The bright colors and the animation throughout are extremely eye catching.  While the game isn’t universal, I didn’t have any issues with pixilation running Brave Beak in 2x on my iPad.

It’s obvious that Brave Beak takes its inspiration from Angry Birds and Tiny Wings with a number of elements from both.  The controls are simple and they work remarkably well.  Launching your bird is done via slingshot and as he flies through the air, touching and tapping the screen keeps him in flight.  The longer a player touches the screen, the higher the bird soars.  An energy bar allows players to gauge how much longer the little feathered buddy has left in his gas tank.

Where Brave Beak distinguishes itself is in the engaging environments and the addictive gameplay.  Once you get started, you’ll easily find yourself spending more time than expected playing over and over again.

Graphically speaking, the environments offer a potpourri of different things that will keep your eyes busy.  As your bird takes flight, players encounter squawking birds, shooting stars, jumping fish, pirate ships, and castles among other things, and that’s just what you notice on the first go around.  Gold coins and treasure are located throughout as well as wooden structures and ramps.

Each level provides a list of objectives to be met before unlocking the next level.  These can be as simple as flying through clouds to capturing or eating a specific number of items.  The game’s difficulty comes in locating treasure and even finding specific items.  The cleverness is that this requires a bit of experimentation on the player’s part.  Certain objectives require soaring into the stratosphere to find a hidden castle or taking a bite of the moon.  Other times, players are required to fly low to the ground or water to destroy pirate ships or bouncing off of a whale.  There are even objectives that involve freeing other birds.

Because the little feathered guy only has so much energy, power boosts are located throughout.  These come in the form of flames, whale water spouts and rainbows all of which add to the energy bar.  Ramps and hammocks serve to power jump your bird’s abilities while kites temporarily increase flight speed.  Again, there are plenty of these things within the Brave Beak for players to discover.

Along the way, wooden structures ala Angry Birds housing treasure are there for the plundering.  To increase the replay value, gold coins are hidden throughout each level.  The coins are often very visible but the challenge is in reaching them.  Other times, these coins are hidden away typically higher in the air which forces players to plan ahead.

One shortcoming is that the levels are scripted and not randomly generated.  Thus, items and structures remain in the same spot regardless of how many times you play that level.  Having said that, the environment and action is expansive enough that players will be busy enough each time they play.

There’s also has a note in a bottle feature which allows players to send notes to other players.  A bottle can be collected during gameplay which indicates whether any notes have been received from other players.  These notes can be read during the game which will pause play or afterwards.  It’s a quirky little addition and doesn’t impact gameplay.

The game is on GameCenter and there are a fair amount of achievements from scoring milestones to slapping birds.  Yes, slapping birds, although I’m sure PETA won’t be too overly upset.

Brave Beak is a cleverly designed casual game with addictive gameplay.  The mechanics of the game are simple to appeal to everyone and the content, while limited, entertaining enough to keep them coming back.  From the fun, colorful, and eye appealing environments to the challenging objectives, there’s a lot to like and discover in Brave Beak.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (“addicting in its simplicity” gameplay that effectively combines elements found in Angry Birds and Tiny Wings to create a fun standalone game; colorful graphics and engaging environments; plenty of replay value from locating gold coins and topping high scores; more levels planned for future updates)


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