Virtual spaces on Facebook have become a standard, to say the least, when it comes to social gaming. Similar to the massive influx of mafia-style role playing titles over a year ago, the now formulaic virtual space titles that appear attempt to sate different palettes of users. Be they farming, aquariums, islands, or whatever they all use the basic rules of buy, grow, sell, decorate. Using these same rules a new virtual space joins the fray: Birdland.
While a recent focus has been on safaris and preserves when it comes to animal husbandry, this application takes things back to the simpler concepts from the virtual aquarium boom. The only difference is they’re birds, not fish. To that end, the objective for players is to care for and grow, care for, and sell domesticated birds.
The actual care of your virtual pets is nothing terribly difficult. Users place a bird feeder, fill it up, and as the critters get hungry, they’ll automatically feed from it until it is empty. Beyond this the only other thing to worry about is keeping the cage clean on a daily basis, and keeping your birds happy by “playing” with them.
As odd as that might sound, playing with your birds really only consists of poking them with the hand tool. It’s nothing extravagant, but it is moderately amusing to chase them around the cage with it. Moreover, it does give you a small amount of experience and coin (along with feeding, cleaning, and selling), which is, expectantly, the gating mechanisms preventing users from buying the best birds and decorations right away.
Regarding the decorations, they are fairly typical of your average home aviary, as it were. This includes, random objects such as scarecrows, dangly, leafy things, ladders and the all mighty stick. As a matter of fact, as odd as it might sound, the sticks are actually the most important, because think about it, that’s what birds perch on. To that end, these vary from dull brown, well, sticks to icicles, to Arabic carpet looking deals. Furthermore, the more you have, the more your pets will actually move about as they almost always tend to hang out on them.
As for the birds themselves, they all look pretty good and animation-wise, very fluidly resemble the mannerisms of their species. Unfortunately, that selection of species is only limited to domestic birds, with the most extravagant being the macaw. Other than these guys, there are parakeets, canaries, cockatiels, and so on, but considering this is a game, it wouldn’t be out of the question to get a bit more extravagant. What about a flamingo? Or maybe a hawk? Maybe even an extinct species like the dodo?
Moving to social features, Birdland doesn’t really do anything very new out there. Everything appears to be your average set of mechanics which include leaderboards, gifting, and visiting your friends’ cages. Nothing we haven’t seen before. However, one interesting element is how the game almost guilts the player into publishing to their feed.
Most everyone is probably familiar with the mechanic where a screen pops up saying “you found such and such, and it needs a home.” From here, the player posts it for a friend to adopt, and that’s the end of it for a while. However, many people still say “no.” Well, in the case of Birdland, there’s a tiny little guy named Dinky who needs to be rescued and your options are to either publish and save him or “Let Dinky Die.” Coupled with the animations of him crying and shivering in the cold… see, now we feel bad.
To be honest, there isn’t really anything bad about Birdland. As far as the game quality goes, it’s pretty good at face value. That said, the app doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table. It doesn’t push any boundaries and just sort of plays it safe. It settles for average and what has done and worked before. Of course, if you like birds more than fish or safaris, than this might be a great virtual space for you.
Already, the game has been slowly growing over the last 10 or so days, and is currently at just below 240,000 monthly active users.