As a hilarious parody of the infamous Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, I cannot decide whether Glass Bottom Games intentionally designed SkateBIRD to be bad or whether they just run out of production budget.
Think Tony Hawk, meets Micro Machines, meets the original Pokemon on Gameboy Colour. SkateBIRD is an arcade kick flipper that plays out more like a PS1 game than a modern-era skateboarding simulator.
Yet, behind the bloopers and hilarious sound bites, there’s a concept here that really could take flight. Will that be the case? Find out all there is to know before you download on the Gamepass with my extensive SkateBIRD review.
With indie games, you typically trade the production budget for phenomenal storytelling. Yet, SkateBIRD produces neither very well. I mean, it’s skateboarding birds… There’s not much of a story to tell.
Centred around your new (and moronic) feathery friends, your mission is to help your human, “Big Friend”, by completing levels and quests that unlock new skateparks. Without too many spoilers, that’s literally the premise of the game. Completing quests unlocks more levels and you cannot proceed until you’ve done them all. That’s it.
There’s some fun dialogue that pushes you along but as you can probably tell by now that the storyline is very bland.
Even the name “Big Friend” is a little weak.
As for the quests themselves, they are your typical “collect 6” or “touch this” that a lot of skateboarding simulators produce. After some time, you realise that nearly all of the quests are based upon the same principles (just with a different variation). This makes the game become diluted very quickly. In fact, borderline tedious.
Regardless of that, you have to take off your critics’ hat for a moment and just enjoy your grammatically challenged skate pals. Whether this is a jibe at the skate industry or even birds themselves, you’ll quickly understand that your new friends are not the smartest.
And for that, I love them just a little.
Once again you should expect bugs and glitches with games that come out of smaller production studios. In fact, you learn to fall in love with them.
Get ready to have your patience tested.
One massive gameplay positive is the ability to create your own bird. If you were not a bird fanatic before SkateBIRD, you will definitely harvest a new appreciation for them. SkateBIRD takes predators that could be considered as evilness in the sky and transforms them into dope-ass skaters with cool ties and ripped jeans. All you have to do is decide whether you want your bird to be cute or cool.
Unfortunately, from here, the game then falls apart – In fact, it completely stacks.
Landing a trick is nothing but a roll of the dice. The controls are finicky, the camera angles are awkward and by golly can someone please fix the tightness of them turning circles!? These are punk-rocking nimble birds, not behemoth elephants!
But again, there is something just so undeniably great about every single one of these flaws when popping smith grinds as a cockatoo wearing Gucci. It’s like the game knows it’s terrible, knows you will forgive it for being so and just leans straight into that!
On brighter tones, there’s actually a lot of imagination with the gameplay of SkateBIRD. From funny fake issues of Thrasher to straws serving as coping, the game is cute and made us smile. Not to mention that you can hold tricks midflight for longer as your custom predator flaps its wings for longer airtime. This might seem like an obvious edition but there has been so much missed from this game, we wouldn’t be surprised.
Speaking of brighter tones, the soundtrack is half decent.
Actually, this is easily the most complete part of the game. Where SkateBIRD stacks on the gameplay, it lands a solid 1080 with its sounds. Even the birds themselves enjoy the beats, bopping their heads along as they skate.
Maybe they know the game is utter garbage too?
Just like the story and quests, there’s a thin set of Skatebird Achievements to complete. Consisting of 12 achievements worth a total of 1,000 gamerscore, players can expect fairly basic achievements to complete such as ”watch the credits” and ”reach the rooftop”.
As it stands, over 2,000 gamers have completed all SkateBIRD achievements and I can only imagine that the other 97% just fell asleep at the wheel as they are not that difficult to complete.
If you’re an achievement hunter, SkateBIRD is a fantastic game to just rack up 1,000 gamerscore and then move onto an entirely new game altogether.
SkateBIRD Review Verdict
Honestly, I wanted to love Skatebird so much but absolutely cringed at some of the production. For a few hours at most, SkateBIRD was crazy funny and as cute as the cover may seem, the game is totally marred with flaws. Nevertheless, beneath the absurdity, you will find comfort knowing that this game is totally free on the Xbox Game Pass.
However, it’s really hard to stay mad at this game for too long. Although, it ultimately does punish you at times with plenty of shortcomings. The graphics are about as good as the PS1, the commentary is whimsical and the mechanics are questionable. For any die-hard skateboarding simulator fans, you are going to be miserable very quickly with SkateBIRD.
Regardless of that, you have to take a step back sometimes and just enjoy something. When you put away your critics’ cap and stop hunting for flaws, you start to have some serious fun with SkateBIRD’s light-hearted and silly nature.
Grind on bendy straws, kick-flip over staplers and carve killer lines through cardboard. But don't be too critical about the production. Above all else, Skatebird really does its best at delivering upon a great idea. Unfortunately, the delivery is awful; albeit extremely entertaining for a moment.
Content Disclaimer: This SkateBIRD Xbox Review is independently written. We have not been commissioned by Nintendo, nor have we received any royalties for this article. This includes financial reimbursement, free advertising or the SkateBIRD game.
Should you click on any link to Amazon and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission. But that’s just how we keep this website alive! Feel free to hit us up in the comments with any questions you have about our reviews or SkateBIRD.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about SkateBIRD? No problem! Here’s some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about SkateBIRD the game.
How long to beat Skatebird?
For a straight playthrough, gamers can expect to beat Skatebird within 5 hours. If you tackle all of the side quests, this will quickly ramp up to 7 hours and for achievement hunters you are looking at around 9 hours to obtain 100% gamerscore. Skatebird can easily be started and completed within 1 day.
Is SkateBIRD multiplayer?
Yes, SkateBIRD is multiplayer. Gamers can organise skate parties with friends online. The online multiplayer experience is much more fun than the base game as the exciting comes from having some banter with your friends.
Is SkateBIRD crossplay?
Yes, SkateBIRD is completely crossplay and also supports cross-save as well. Gamers can enjoy multiplayer modes with friends regardless of what platform they are playing with.
Is SkateBIRD free?
Yes, SkateBIRD is free on the Xbox game pass. For other platforms, you may have to pay a small amount of money to play SkateBIRD so please check with you platform first.
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