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Birds of a Feather
Birds-of-a-Feather
Developer(s) Ghostrealmstudios
Publisher(s) Ghostrealmstudios
Platform(s) Enigma
Release Date(s)
2018
Mode(s)
Single-player, multiplayer
Genre(s) 2D Platformer
Media Included Enigma Cartridge or digital download

Birds of a Feather is a 2D collectathon sandbox platformer developed and published by Ghostrealm Studios for the Enigma console. It takes place in the Ghostverse.

Enigma Store Description

When the infamous villain known as Vance the Skythief steals the precious Exvento Swap console from the birds Felton and Trent, they embark on a journey to take it back!

  • Enjoy the first 2D collectathon in history!
  • Delve into exotic locales, fight strange enemies, and uncover secrets!
  • Unwind with multiplayer modes and minigames!
  • Amass a collection of various items!

Opening Movie

Felton and Trent can be seen standing before Cloudgaze Valley from their nest. As Felton glides off, Trent wearily follows as the game's logo is shown.

The duo come across a group of Molegos, who are shocked as the two birds swoop down and attack. From there, they continue to run across the landscape. A small hill can be seen, but Felton gives Trent a boost as he jumps up, before helping Felton up. However, they find themselves cornered by a group of smirking Heliserpents, who hiss at the duo. They proceed to fly up into the sky and tear through their balloons, before they run away in fear.

The scene then cuts to the duo facing off against Wippen, dodging his hammer strikes. Felton leaps onto a piece of debris, before motioning for Trent to do the same. As they leap from rock to rock, they smirk at each other before diving right towards the hippo's head. As he falls to the ground, the two of them high-five before looking out at the sunset, arms on each others' shoulders.

Story

Two birds, a duck known as Felton and an owl known as Trent, have been best friends ever since their childhood, to the point where they're roommates. When the new "Exvento Swap" console is released, they manage to snag one amidst the stock issues. However, as they're about to play it within their nestlike home, a giant hawk known as Vance the Skythief flies towards their home, snatching their console and TV. After a rant in which Vance details how hard it's been to secure the console, he flies towards the nearby mountains. The two birds, heartbroken, decide to take back the console, by navigating the world in search of the Golden Eggs, which are necessary to pay off the Breadkeeper, a pigeon who's in charge of travel between the different regions of the world, so that Vance's lair can be infiltrated.

As the duo travel throughout the world, they find out that the Skythief is attempting to steal all sorts of objects, employing minions he's bribed into service.

Characters

Felton
Felton
One of the two playable characters, Felton is a strong-willed duck who seeks to take back his video game console at all costs. He's more of a jokester then Trent.
Trent
Trent
Trent is another one of the two playable characters. He's an owl who's more solitary than Felton, but willing to act decisively.
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Vance the Skythief
An infamous thief known for stealing various objects regardless of their worth, Vance the Skythief is the main antagonist of the game. He stole the console due to the stock issues, and has employed an army of animals bribed by stolen objects to fight for him.
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The Breadkeeper
A pigeon who runs the Boss Gates of the world. However, he's known for amassing a collection of various objects, and requires that travellers pay him before utilizing his gates.
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Redfeather
A vigilante robin who seeks to take revenge against the Skythief. He can be paid with Feathers to scout out areas for Golden Eggs.
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Webfooter
A goose who seeks to exercise constantly, and will challenge our duo to chase her down once they find him. She gives Avian Medals to them if they succeed.
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Shadebeak
This raven is known for operating a shop, selling all sorts of goods, ranging from worms, to Golden Eggs, to even minigame passes.

Controls

Birds of a Feather is built for the Enigma console, utilizing most of its features.

Basic Movement
Walk Ext3 101 or Ext3 110 pressed lightly
Run Ext3 101 or Ext3 110 pressed all the way
Crouch Ext3 101 pressed downwards or Ext3 112
Jump Ext3 0e0 or Ext3 0e1

(The jump button can be pressed multiple times to gain altitude, but you'll eventually fall after a few jumps)

Face Upwards Ext3 0e6
Face Downwards Ext3 0e7
Swim Ext3 0e0 or Ext3 0e1 whilst in water
Attacks
Beak Attack Ext3 0e2 or Ext3 0e3
Aerial Dive Ext3 0e2 or Ext3 0e3 whilst in midair and tilting in a direction
Utilities
Pause Ext3 0ef
Collectable List Ext3 0f0
Map Bottom Touch Screen
Swap Leaders Top Touch Screen (tap who you want to lead)
Flight
Take Off Ext3 0e0 or Ext3 0e1 after filling up the Flight Meter
Flap Wings Press Ext3 0e0 or Ext3 0e1 to the rhythm of your flight
Beak Spin Ext3 0e2 or Ext3 0e3 and Ext3 0e0 or Ext3 0e1 simultaneously

(Beak Spins increase flight speed but make you fall faster)

Glide Hold Ext3 0e0 or Ext3 0e1
Camera
Move Camera Ext3 102
Reset Camera Ext3 105

Gameplay

Birds of a Feather is a 2D sandbox platformer that takes place in large, open levels that lack time limits and loop around, with no clear "end" point. Said levels are designed around obtaining Golden Eggs, collectables needed to pay off the Breadkeeper so the Boss Gate can be opened up. The player controls both Felton and Trent as a combined duo, in a similar vein to the Sonic the Hedgehog games. The leader can be switched between at any time however, and multiplayer modes have you controlling a single character. The two are identical in terms of gameplay, with no advantages over each other.

Flight

A major part of the game is flight, in that the characters of the game can fly through the open sandbox levels of the game. By running for a certain duration of time, you fill up the Flight Meter, which allows you to ascend into the sky. While in the sky, you will fall unless you flap your wings to the rhythm with the Ext3 0e0 or Ext3 0e1 button. However, you can't fly forever, and will eventually hit the ground regardless of how well you perform.

The rhythm you flap your wings to depends on the background music's rhythm, with no two areas being the same. The music will get faster as you fly, making it harder to maintain button presses. Flight can also be extended by hitting enemies, items, or clouds, which will grant you a boost in altitude. However, enemies need to be hit with a Aerial Dive or Beak Spin first, or you'll plummet to the ground!

Multiplayer

Co-op

A second player can take control of one of your duo's members, with both Enigma consoles connecting wirelessly or online. Both players can work together to play through the entire game.

VS Mode

VS Mode is a competitive multiplayer mode that takes place in any of the game's Areas. The objective is to collect as many Beak Crystals as possible before the timer runs out. Beak Crystals are scattered around the area, but can also be stolen from other players by attacking them. This mode supports up to four players at once, and can be played locally or online.

In VS Mode, everyone chooses Felton or Trent's design as a cosmetic choice, as they both play identically. Player numbers will be above each player to help differentiate.

Collectables

Birds of a Feather has many different collectables to be obtained. While only three of them are mandatory to clear the game, collecting all of the others is required for 100% completion.

Golden Eggs Golden Eggs are arguably the most important collectable in the game, functioning similarily to Donkey Kong 64's Golden Bananas and Super Mario Odyssey's Power Moons. These collectables are rewards for completing various platforming challenges as well as exploring the Areas, and are needed to pay off the Breadkeeper so he opens up the Boss Gate.
Feathers Feathers are the main currency of the game, found in large numbers. They're used to buy things from Shadebeak's shop, and some are required to open up the Boss Gate alongside other collectables.
Regional Feathers Regional Feathers are Area-specific collectables that can only be used in the Area they're found in. They're used to buy things from Shadebeak's shop and open up the Boss Gate.
Boss Key Boss Keys are obtained from defeating the game's bosses. They're needed to unlock access to the next Area.
Worms Worms restore one health wedge when collected. You have eight wedges by default, and if you run out of health, you lose ten Feathers and respawn at a nearby checkpoint.
Phoenix Orbs In each area, there's three Phoenix Orbs, gated behind Bonus Zones. Collecting all three enables the use of the Phoenix form in that Area, which makes you invincible, increases movement speed, and allows for unlimited flight for twenty seconds. However, this ability has a two-minute cooldown, and cannot be used in certain parts of the game, such as boss battles. It's activated by pressing a button on the bottom touch screen.
Avian Medals The goose known as Webfooter can be found in each Area of the game, hidden somewhere. When caught, she'll begin to run frantically around the map, until she's caught a second time. Afterwards, Webfooter will hand over that Area's Avian Medal. Each Area has one of these medals, and they're often hard to find due to the various spots Webfooter will hide in.
Observation Cards Observation Cards are cards that depict the game's enemies, items, objects, and locations. These cards are obtained by killing enemies and opening treasure chests, and hold interesting information on them. See their specific section for more information.
Beak Crystals Beak Crystals are only found in VS Mode, and are the main objective of said mode.

Locations

Areas

Ten different Areas exist in Birds of a Feather. To open up the next Area, you need to collect a certain amount of Golden Eggs, Feathers, and Regional Feathers to open up the Boss Gate, and then defeat the boss, before using the Boss Key it drops to gain access to the next Area. Areas are travelled between via the Breadkeeper's network of gates.

Cloudgaze Valley

This valley of sunny skies, vast plains, and immense clouds is said to be the heartland of the birds of this world, including the home of our two heroes.

Cloudgaze Valley acts as a "tutorial" for the game, teaching the basic mechanics.

The Skythief has deployed a mercenary of his to find some loot to steal: the hippo mercenary known as Wippen.
Shiverglow Tundra

This land was once home to a vast jungle. However, erratic temperatures led to it becoming a strange tundra, with weirdly-colored ice and constant snowstorms that can impact flight.

Shiverglow Tundra introduces new terrain types and wind conditions that can affect movement and flight. Blizzards can impede your flight speed, and snow is tough to traverse through.

The giant lemur known as Icoleptic has named this tundra home, and doesn't take too kindly to intruders.
Dusk Mansion

This enigmatic mansion was once a living, breathing entity, before it collapsed and fell to the status of becoming a ghost. The many rooms of the mansion are like the insides of a living being, and the ghosts may be friendly or hostile.

Dusk Mansion is a place of puzzle solving; you'll need to manipulate various gimmicks and objects to uncover Golden Eggs.

A massive ghost is here, one that resembles an egg with strange limbs coming out of it: Eggtula.
Starlight Desert

This desert is locked within constant sunset, with ancient temples dotting the landscape. The Skythief, however, has begun industrial operations to take the relics of the land.

Starlight Desert introduces a unique mechanic with its three temples. Special switches in these temples affect the other temples, encouraging you to travel between them.

Within the desert lies a powerful machine built to tear apart the ruins: the Colossotron.
Junk Station

This space station overlooks the planet of Wanotori, where the game takes place. It seems like it was once used by scientists before being abandoned, and holds terrifying machines.

Junk Station, being in space, has less-intensive gravity that makes precise jumps and avoiding enemies harder.

Deep inside Junk Station, a giant spider has remained behind, one who has continued the experiments within: Kagakumo.

Bonus Zones

Bonus Zones are linear platforming challenges similar to the Special Stages seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog games, as well as Super Mario Odyssey's "small world" areas. These areas reward Phoenix Orbs (though some have Golden Eggs scattered throughout), and there's three of them hidden throughout every Area.

Enemies

Many different enemies exist in Birds of a Feather, most of which are based on various real-world animals.

Molego Molegos are small moles that walk back and forth, occasionally looking behind themselves.
Fangwing Fangwings are bats that fly in a set pattern in the sky.
Woodkicker Woodkickers are beavers that will kick chunks of wood at you.
Heliserpent Heliserpents are snakes lifted into the air via balloon. They'll move their bodies around in an attempt to hit you. Popping the balloon will drop them onto the ground.
Webstalker Webstalkers are spiders that cling to walls, and will leap off of them to attack. Some will remain clinging to the wall, and shoot webs.
Boltsoarer Boltsoarers are clouds that will periodically fire blasts of lightning from their bodies. They'll hurt you when jumped on.
Firecracker Firecrackers are small flames that will set fire to plants and wooden objects. They'll hurt you when jumped on and when hit with a beak attack.
Hoverhamster Hoverhamsters are wooden helicopters operated by goggles-wearing hamsters. They run on a wheel to power the helicopter, and said helicopter usually flies up and down.
Meowpack Meowpacks are jetpack-wearing cats that can be both on the ground and in the sky. They'll rocket up into the sky first, hover a bit, then crash down, before repeating the cycle.
Lungelupe Lungelupes are wolves that will often sniff the air for your presence before lashing out at you violently. They run quite fast.
Sentrybot Sentrybots are mechanical enemies immune to regular attacks. These mechanical foes will hover in midair, firing off laser beams. Their lasers bounce off walls, so the lasers can be "tricked" into deflecting and hitting the Sentrybot.
Shellbunker Shellbunkers are turtles that will duck into their shells when you get close to them, and move from within their shell. They're immune to regular attacks, and can only be defeated by hitting another enemy.

Bosses

Wippen
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This mercenary was hired by the Skythief to steal from the birds of Cloudgaze Valley. He gets angry easily, and never turns down a fight.
Attacks
  • Hammer Smash: Wippen smashes the ground with his hammer.
  • Rock Batting: Wippen throws rocks into the air, before batting them towards you with his hammer.
  • Earthquake: Wippen leaps to another location, sending debris into the air.
Weaknesses
The rocks Wippen bats remain airborne for a long time. If you can get on top of one of them and fly from rock to rock, you can land a beak attack to the face. Five beak attacks will take out the hippo.
Icoleptic
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This lemur has made a home for himself in the Shiverglow Tundra, and seeks to repel any and all intruders.
Attacks
  • Snow Boulder: Icoleptic produces a massive boulder made of ice and snow, before rolling it down the hill.
  • Blizzard: Icoleptic creates a snowstorm that rages through the area, reducing movement and flight speed.
  • Freeze Wave: Icoleptic shoots a giant icicle at you that freezes you solid for a few seconds whilst dealing damage.
Weaknesses
Icoleptic's snow boulders can be destroyed with Beak Attacks. From there, you can pick up the smaller snowballs that emerge from it, and toss them at Icoleptic. Five snowballs will take him out.
Eggtula
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This ghost resembles an egg with limbs stretching out of it. He doesn't accept a traditional fight either.
Attacks
Unlike other bosses, Eggtula is fought as if you're playing a level of Yoshi: Egg Tosser. You'll need to use the Enigma's touch screens to fling eggs to manipulate the level. He'll attempt to summon enemies and obstacles to hinder your progress.
Weaknesses
Eggtula is defeated by landing ten egg shots to his body.
Colossotron
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This robotic construct has one goal, and one goal only: tear apart Starlight Desert's temples for artifacts.
Attacks
  • Sand Geyser: Colossotron smashes the ground, creating a geyser of sand.
  • Iron Punch: Colossotron lets loose a massive punch.
  • Overheat: Colossotron lets loose fireballs from his body.
Weaknesses
Colossotron is fought within a massive temple. By ascending the temple's floors, you can get to his head and hit it with Beak Attacks. Six rounds of beak attacks will take him out.

Minigames

Shadebeak operates a side venture besides his shopkeeping, by running minigames. These minigames accept Feathers as payment, and offer chances to get Golden Eggs among other rewards. Minigames have three difficulties: Easy, Normal, and Hard. Each difficulty rewards two Golden Eggs, each for achieving a set number of points. Minigames also rely extensively on Felton and Trent's skillset.

Aerial Aces In Aerial Aces, your goal is to fly for as long as possible before you fail a button press. Points are rewarded based on how far you went. On higher difficulties, enemies and obstacles will be present.
Race for the Goal You control either Felton or Trent and attempt to race the other character to the end of the course. Points are rewarded based on speed, and each difficulty has its own course.
Boss Contracts This minigame is unlocked after you reach Shiverglow Tundra. Essentially, you fight a previously-fought boss, but you're given a list of objectives (known as Contracts) to perform whilst fighting the boss, such as defeating them in a specific amount of time, letting them use a particular attack a certain number of times, or not losing a single piece of health. Points are rewarded based on the difficulty of, as well as the number of Contracts completed. Harder difficulties have more complex Contracts.
Enemy Blitz Enemy Blitz is simple: defeat as many enemies within a confined space before time runs out. Points are rewarded based on how many you defeated, and harder difficulties have harder enemies.

Observation Cards

Observation Cards are a special type of collectable similar to Super Paper Mario's Catch Cards. These cards are obtained from defeating enemies, and can also be found throughout the game's Areas and even purchased from Shadebeak's shop. On the card is a picture of a character, enemy, boss, object, location, or item from the game, and a description. These descriptions often have funny jokes or insights, and in some cases offer tips, such as boss weaknesses.

Observation Cards can also be sold for Feathers, with rarer cards selling for more. However, you're always able to buy back cards that can only be obtained once. Some NPCs will also give you a Golden Egg if they're shown a specific card, further encouraging you to collect them.

Qualities

Observation Cards have three qualities: Common, Rare, and Super Rare. The rarer the card, the more it sells for.

Development

Birds of a Feather started development as a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. However, when talks began regarding the idea of non-linear 2D platforming, the game's focus was shifted to having a 2D perspective, adding in Metroidvania elements to allow for exploration-focused 2D platforming. The game also had a dual purpose: to create mascot characters that could rival Mario and Sonic.

Inspiration

By far the biggest inspirations for the game were Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64, two of the most famous collectathon games in history. However, they were both known for being tedious at times, particularily Donkey Kong 64 and its constant backtracking. To remedy this, there'd only be two playable characters, and they'd be controlled at the same time.

As for other inspirations, Super Mario Odyssey came to mind. It represented an ideal way of doing a collectable-based game, but it was still radically different from the main two inspirations. From Super Mario Odyssey, the developers would take the level design and boss battle mechanics, albeit shift it to 2D.

The 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games and the Mario fangame Super Mario 63 would serve as the main inspirations for the 2D side of the game. Sonic would be an inspiration when it comes to the decision to have two characters controlled as well as the locales and Special Stage concept, and Super Mario 63 was used as inspiration due to how it attempted the idea of a 2D collectathon before.

Character Design

From the beginning of development, the decision was made to base the game's characters on that of the mascot platformers of the early-mid 90s. Once the focus on flight-based platforming was determined, it was decided that the main characters would be a duo of birds. The actual art itself was outsourced to Crash Co., who came up with designs for Felton and Trent.

Flight Mechanics

After intensive brainstorming, flight was decided to be the main "gimmick", as Mario's was jumping and Sonic's was speed. The game's creator had always loved utilizing flight in 2D platformers, and wanted to build upon it.

The design of the game's flight mechanics took inspiration from two sources: Super Mario Bros. 3's Super Leaf and Tanooki Suit, and Super Mario World's Cape Feather. Each of them had their issues: Super Mario Bros. 3's flight-based powerups were doomed to having a short duration as well as being too easy to pull off, while the Cape Feather was laughably broken due to how it granted indefinite flight when mastered.

The best of both worlds would be taken for Birds of a Feather's flight mechanics: the simplicity of the Super Leaf and Tanooki Suit would be retained through the Flight Meter, while the complexity of the Cape Feather would be retained in that flight could be mastered to last a while. However, indefinite flight was near-impossible by human players due to the music speeding up, to ensure that players didn't abuse it constantly.

Plot

The game wasn't meant to be plot-intensive, but some effort went into it. The core focus was to have something simple, but comedic. The "Exvento Swap" console was an obvious parody of the Nintendo Switch, and having an out-of-stock system stolen would surely affect people immensely.

The game was also planned to be linked to Ghostrealm Studios's other original games, and would see a big crossover coming up.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Birds of a Feather takes heavy inspiration from the flash game Super Mario 63, which was a Mario fangame designed similarily to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, but from a 2D perspective.
  • The choice to have Golden Eggs as the main collectable was inspired by the fable "The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs".
  • Redfeather is a reference to the superhero Robin, Batman's sidekick.
    • However, Redfeather retains Batman's vigilante personality.
  • Meowpacks are based on a scrapped hero concept for the game Overwatch.
  • The Phoenix Orbs are very similar to the Chaos Emeralds seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, but their powers are only granted per area.
  • Junk Station is a homage to both the Super Mario Galaxy games and the more mechanical areas seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog games like Chemical Plant Zone.
  • Eggtula's boss fight is a homage to the Chemical Plant Zone: Act 2 boss fight in Sonic Mania, where the traditional gameplay was replaced with that of one of Sega's puzzle games: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.