Before 1963 people simply regarded birds as flying nuisances with a penchant for emptying their bowels on your newly washed car. However, it was in this year that Alfred Hitchcock exposed the feathered menaces for the beady eyed killers that they really are. Bird Assassin opens with our hero discovering firsthand just how ruthless birds can really be as he witnesses the execution of his wheelchair bound father by a gun totting ostrich. Spurred on by the vengeful spirit of his deceased pa, the intrepid hero grabs a rifle and sets out on a quest to mercilessly slaughter every bird in sight until he has tracked down the ostrich.
With a name like Bird Assassin and the excuse that you are given for shooting every feathered thing with a beak, it is obvious that the game doesn’t take itself very seriously. Instead, what you have is a very simple and straightforward shooter that enables you to blow off some steam by violently eradicating birds. Bird Assassin features three difficulty levels, but the birds make it easier for you by simply flying in your direction as you move towards the right side of the screen. This means that all you need to do is point your gun at the birds and left-click to blast them away in a shower of blood and feathers.
Just like in real life, the birds you shoot in Bird Assassin fall to the ground with a bloody splat, but unlike real life, they also have gold coins that they drop. You can grab these coins and then spend them between levels to buy new weapons, upgrade your gear, improve your ammunition, stock up on booze and more. Just in case you are wondering, the booze is obviously to restore your health when needed, although you can also grab the mushrooms found on the ground while playing to do the same. The shop is neat, but it won’t be long until you have enough coins to buy a minigun and from there on out the birds pose no challenge anymore.
As you run from left to right blasting birds you’ll also have to jump on the occasional platform and avoid obstacles like bear traps and thorn bushes, but doing so is fairly easy. The only real challenge comes from the birds that swarm at you, but thankfully none of them are packing heat like the father-killing ostrich. Instead, they mostly fly or run in your general direction and cause damage upon impact. Things start off fairly tranquil with pigeons and chickens, but soon larger birds, like turkeys, ducks and even dynamite wielding owls also begin making an appearance.
Sadly the game could have benefited from a few more bird species as halfway through an already very short game you will probably have seen all of them already. This extends to the three boss fights in the game, all of which sees you battling the same giant chicken. At the end of a few levels you also have to avoid the chickens who hijack your truck, but running away from them until they crash the vehicle is a piece of cake.
Apart from a short tutorial Bird Assassin only features nine levels and you can complete all of them in less than an hour when playing on “Normal” difficulty. The developers have attempted to pad things out a little bit with mini games where you have to grab as many coins as possible or shoot as many birds as possible within a short time limit, but since these stick so closely to the regular formula of the game they don’t provide much of a diversion.
From a technical standpoint Bird Assassin is a pretty basic game. Graphical options are restricted to whether you want to enable or disable vertical sync and if the screen should stretch to fit or not. The cartoon style visuals aren’t too bad and the birds are actually quite detailed, but the background is basically the same forest with different colored leaves. The bloody carnage that you can wreak is quite impressive, but all the bloody bird carcasses can clutter up the screen until their eventual disappearance. Unless you are a member of PETA, the way in which the amount of birds you have killed during a level is shown by how high their carcasses are stacked in your truck on the level completion screen is quite funny. As for the audio, well the noise of birds getting shot and falling to the ground sound pretty much how you would expect and the lead character also has a couple of funny quips. The music is fitting enough for a game of this type, but not very memorable.
It is impossible to be too hard on Bird Assassin as the game can be bought for pocket change and actually offers some fun while it lasts. Just shooting birds obviously become a bit repetitive after a few levels, but the game also feels like it is over just when thing should be getting more interesting. The lack of achievements also means that there is little reason to return to it after your first playthrough. With that said, if you have some loose change rattling around in your Steam wallet and just want some mindless entertainment for a few minutes, then Bird Assassin has got you covered.