A Bird Story

Created by Freebird Games

One day on the way home from school, a boy finds an injured bird in the woods being chased by a badger. He chases the badger off and, on the way home, finds he has a hitchhiker in his backpack–the bird! Trouble is, animals aren’t allowed in his apartment building, so he’s got to be careful bringing it home. The boy gets the bird settled in on his balcony, and the two begin to strike up quite a unique friendship while the bird recovers from his injury–a relationship that will take them places neither of them could have previously imagined!

I’d never heard of A Bird Story until I happened to stumble upon it, and honestly wasn’t expecting much, although it had received very positive reviews on Steam. . . . When I actually played it, I was utterly blown away. This is an incredible, genre-defying short (1 hour or a bit more; I didn’t time myself). It’s technically an RPG-style game as far as the game engine is concerned, but the feel is much more that of a visual novel. A lot of the time, you’re just watching the action unfold, and when you do need to do something, it’s pretty clear and simple. Plus, it’s completely wordless; the creators use ambient noises, music, gesture, and facial expression to move the story along entirely sans dialogue. Really, it’s the sort of thing you wouldn’t expect much from, but the story’s sweet, expressive, whimsical, and kind of surreal in a way that’s really appealing. Combine that with some breathtaking scenery and a gorgeous soundtrack, and you end up with a game that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. I don’t think A Bird Story is for everyone–if you like to always be doing something when you’re playing a game, or if everything must make perfect sense, you’ll probably hate it. But if you like a unique short story with a great atmosphere, I think this would be an enjoyable choice–I certainly enjoyed it greatly myself!

Note: Personally, I’d recommend playing A Bird Story in one sitting if possible. It’s short enough that you can, and I think it’s easier to follow that way.

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