Review: ‘SkateBIRD’ Game Wins on Design and Story

Helpful skateboarding birds on a quest to help their friend? What’s not to love in this wholesome game?


Jonathan Elkins

This screenshot of the game shows an aerial view of most of the first area.

Jonathan Elkins, Contributor

SkateBIRD – a game about birds skateboarding, and their journey to help “big friend” – was released September 16, 2021, by Glass Bottom Games.

It features five different stages to progress through and enjoy. I played the first stage, and reviewed it.

I started the game by customizing my bird. There are many different ways to personalize the avatar: type of bird, hats, glasses, capes, belts, neckwear, and the skateboard.

While designing my avatar, I took notice of the excellent music choice being played. Developers describe as “an original low-fi bird-hop soundtrack” on the official SkateBIRD website. I find the soundtrack provides a calm and relaxing atmosphere. 

Once I finished making my character, I began the tutorial on the first map of the game. As someone who has never played a skateboarding game, I was happily surprised by the simplicity of the controls.

I had gone into the game expecting the controls for performing tricks to be complicated. But it was easy to get a hang of, while still an engaging challenge to pull off more complex tricks. Also, the gameplay incorporates a second jump, which to my knowledge is uncommon in this genre.

While progressing through the tutorial, I took note of the map design. The developers did an excellent job making it.

The first stage takes place in “big friend’s” bedroom, and meshes with the skating aspects perfectly. There are three main areas to skate here: tables, floor, and bed. Ramps are scattered throughout the whole area.

The story revolves around “big friend” being sad. The main character and some other birds want to help them feel better. The main objective of the first stage is to clean up the room to help them not be sad. This is done through doing various missions to tidy up the room: getting rid of paper cups, making the bed, and removing stains, to name a few. 

As I played through the main story, I spotted a floating cassette tape above an otherwise ordinary ramp. Without thinking, I skated full speed and launched myself into it. When I touched the cassette tape, it disappeared and I received a pop-up telling me that I had unlocked more music tracks.

This wasn’t the only collectable to be found in this area. The first stage of this game features three clothing items, two tapes, a board, and a set of wheels to collect. I’d be willing to bet the other areas had collectables as well.

After completing a few of the main story missions, I was given a quest to open the window to let fresh air into the room. Opening the window not only continues the main story, it also brings birds from outside into the room, unlocking side quests. I chose to continue the main story, and return for the side quests later on.

In the final main quest of this area, the birds realize that “big friend” looks more sad coming home from work than leaving for work. So they decide they can make him happier by going to his place of work.

One of the birds “makes a few calls,” and a seagull shows up by the window to take the other birds to “big friend’s” workplace. To find it, I was tasked with collecting work documents and a GPS. Once I gave these to the seagull, it took me to the second area of the game, the roof of “big friend’s” workplace.

As of the end of stage one, I’d give SkateBIRD a 8/10 for level design, a 7/10 for charm, 7.5/10 for gameplay, and a 9/10 for its wholesome story. Overall, I feel SkateBIRD has a uniqueness that sets it apart from other skating games. I recommend it to both fans of the genre and others.

I genuinely enjoyed nearly every moment of this game. At only $20, SkateBIRD is more than worth purchasing. For my final rating, I give SkateBIRD an 8.5/10.