Sometimes simple is good. Sometimes a clean interface can inspire greatness. This is not one of those times. Pidgey by iPhonky follows a “funky pigeon” on his quest to eat bugs and avoid the neighborhood vulture. Neither Pidgey nor Vinnie the Vulture ever flap their wings, the bugs are bigger than the cars, and following a minute or two of calm, cutesy music, you get startled out of your seat when Vinnie eats you and lets out an ear-splitting, screeching squawk!
Pidgey is a game that tries to sell itself on its eccentricity. It believes itself to have the power of cute on its side. The problem is that it just doesn’t go cute enough. The eye-straining pastel colors and the lack of attention to any kind of pleasing aesthetic negates any kind of “cute” they may have otherwise generated.
I’d like, if I may, to compare this app to another one called Must Eat Birds. If you’re unfamiliar with that game you can search for it in the App Store. Just a short glance at the screenshots will show you what I believe Pidgey was trying to go for. When you play the game, however, the characters are not just cardboard cutouts that move across the screen. They’re moving, living things that really eat birds and really fall to their deaths if they have to. In Pidgey we have a paper cutout moving to various places on the screen, not even turning to face the direction in which it flies. When he gets caught, he just disappears followed by a loud, frightening scream.
There are a lot of ways in which this game could have merit if it was just developed right. A d-pad control would have gained my favor. Wings flapping and birds turning in the directions they’re flying would have caught my interest. As it stands, the idea itself isn’t a bad one, it was just executed very poorly. A pigeon gaining points and speed from eating bugs while trying to escape a vulture? Sounds fun! But this game isn’t. It’s more like banging your head against a wall.
Pidgey requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with both iPhone and iPod Touch.