Cosmic Bird is the second game released by the indie developer Ten Ten Games, a company founded in 2009. The game is basically an arcade shooter where you control jet fighters in a post-apocalyptic alien invasion on our planet, in a simple intuitive and straight-forward manner fighting for freedom in the sky. From the theoretical sketch city downtown, to the doodle seas, as long as you tap over your jet you will never run out of ammunition.
The game consists of 5 levels, each with its own final Boss fight. From the beginning you have the chance to land in a flying air carrier and buy your power ups to boost your attack. Items are purchased via the in-game currency that you get every time you shoot down enemies and fly over the yellow stars they leave after being destroyed. Players can also choose different jets, but the ability to unlock these better jet fighters with more firepower (albeit the same mobility) depends on your global score. After a fierce battle, and before facing the boss on each level, you have the chance to land on the Air Carrier again to load up on power ups. That’s it regarding gameplay, nothing fancy, very simple and not particularly original.
Now let’s dive deeper into the details… Cosmic Bird’s graphics are what really attracted me to the game and the reason I chose to review it. While the doodle style is quickly becoming overused and boring, Cosmic Bird has a very original tonal palette with graphics sketched with pen with obviously dominant colors of blue, red and black. There is a very nice, rich level of detail, especially the backgrounds, which are treated as an architectural view from above. What I found most impressive about the graphics, is that they support retina display and for being sketches, they look gorgeous. That being said, there is one visual aspect that needs a bit of polish. The moving background is a repetitive image file, displayed in a cycle, the end of the image is visible when repeating and this kind of merging in transition should not be visible.
Animations are basically non-existent, although this is not necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on the game. In the case of Cosmic Bird, it’s all made with sprites. Sorry if I’m getting a bit technical, sprites are independent graphic objects controlled by their own bit planes. Programming sprites is easier than programming an object to move around on the same plane as other objects. I really like what they did with the explosions. Seems like a sprite created with photographs, because they look real. A bit out of the whole sketch concept? Yes, but looks good. Cosmic Bird’s soundtrack is an arcade style from the 90’s, which I found a bit over processed for my taste.
While the game is good, Cosmic Bird is a bit too unstable and is in desperate need of an update as soon as possible, because it crashes…A LOT. For instance, when you are playing level one, every time you lose, you can either click “continue” or “start a new game”. While you will always start from the beginning, the difference between the options is that selecting “continue” will start you at the beginning of the previously played level. In the end it doesn’t really matter which option you choose, for as soon as you touch one, the game will crash. This bug doesn’t seem to be present on level 2.
During the Boss fight on Level 2 there is another bug. Somehow I managed to appear behind the boss and just had to stay on top of it without receiving any damage, but dealing an enormous amount over the boss. While it is not really well defined how or when you unlock the new jets to use during the game, I’m pretty sure I never managed to get a score of 500,000, yet I was able to use their finest jet fighter. One final glitch I’d like to mention is that Game Center doesn’t seem to be properly implemented as my scores are non-existent on the Game Center leaderboards and it shows only two people (probably the developers testing). While the app description mentions that their are Game Center achievements, I couldn’t find them. These bugs need to be sorted out.
Cosmic Bird is a fun game with an obvious amount of effort made in both the design and graphics. While not very original, it still somehow manages to be refreshing. In desperate need of an update, the Cosmic Bird instability and lack of fine tuning are my biggest cause for concern and disappointment.
NOTE: There appears to be a new update available v1.2, but since the Cosmic Bird App is currently unavailable on the US App Store, we are unable to verify if this update addresses any of the instability issues we saw during the review.