Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cuckoo Crack

"Is this that angry birds for the Xbox?" She asks.

"No." Although the aesthetic is quite similar.

Cuckoo Crack, recently released through the Xbox Indie Marketplace can probably trace its origins to Defender, although in Cuckoo Crack, we are only given two options for control of our bird, The left trigger, which when pressed translates to a flapping of our bird's wings, giving the Cuckoo an upward thrust. And the right trigger which causes our bird to "lay" an egg. Lay enough eggs in the seemingly infinite number of nests and advance to the next round.

A game such as this is made or broken on the strength of its artistic sensibilities and sound effects. Cuckoo Crack delivers on both fronts. I must admit that pulling off a triple lay in the same tree, results in a most pleasant, "ping, ping, ping" to eminate from my speakers. To me, the most satisfying feedback in the game. The looping background music, although not too grating is easily muted by a simple press of the Left Shoulder Button.(note to devs: If you find yourself with an unused button when your game is nearing completion, consider turning it into a volume control. Your gamers will thank you for the option.)

Once I got the hang of the physics involved,  internalizing the rate of egg drop calculated against the speed of horizontal velocity, I found myself completing the game's 5 levels in about 15 minutes. The game then asked me if I would like to play again, I did click yes but did not notice any change in the difficulty or speed for this Challenge round level 2 so I simply quit the game. It's probably a good thing that I did.

Cuckoo Crack makes use of multiple scrolling backgrounds, all scrolling at various speeds. When this scrolling stopped, the room began to scroll. The motion aftereffect from Cuckoo Crack is intense. If you're sensitive to this affect, you might want to give Cuckoo Crack a try just to experience it.

As I mentioned there are 5 levels in Cuckoo crack, but only two types of challenges, a score challenge where you are asked to rack up a score by laying eggs, and an egg laying challenge, which requires a certain number of eggs to be laid in a certain amount of time. Both types of challenges come with a timer of 3 minutes.

In the later levels, the game speeds up about every minute or so, It might actually speed up based on score or by number of eggs laid, either way, the fact that the game scrolling speed does speed up is what's important here. If the developer had an easy to find weblisting, I would have asked why an infinite mode was not added to Cuckoo Crack, where the player can simply play for as long as they would like, as long as their reflexes could keep up with the increases in game speed of course.The after effect might be interesting as well.

And I have now spent quite a bit more time on this review than I actually spent playing the game, so I must stop.