Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Feeling groggy? Forget about Red Bull; Namco Bandai has you covered. All you need to lift those sagging eyelids is a quick hit of Bird Zapper, a lightning-fast Match-3 game that won’t blow you away with originality, but will definitely perk you up.
In Bird Zapper you play as an adorable cartoon squirrel who wants nothing more than to listen to music in peace. When the electricity goes out and shuts down his tunes, he pokes his head outside and sees the problem: a huge flock of birds has taken root on the power lines. Obviously, they need to be zapped.
You don’t sell the steak; you sell the sizzle.
Rows of birds glide across the screen at different speeds, and when three or more birds of a kind are lined up, you have to quickly drag your finger over them to shock them out of existence. We imagine that the resulting cloud of smoke smells like chicken.
If that’s all there was to it, this would be a standard ho-hum Match-3 game. But there’s a lot more going on here, some of which– even after playing the tutorial several times– we still don’t fully understand. Loads of special birds will drift onto the screen, some with freezing abilities, some carrying bombs, some with hypnotic eyes or wearing jester hats, some with stars, and some that drop eggs. Occasionally, out of nowhere, the camera will pull back, giving you another row of birds to deal with. It’s all extremely hectic.
…because he is none other than the Shockmaster!
Which isn’t to say it’s not fun. Bird Zapper is fast-paced, zany, and overwhelming, but it’s still enjoyable– even if you don’t understand exactly why everything is happening.
The game has three modes: Survival, Blitz, and Zen. The main mode is Survival, in which you have to keep zapping birds to keep adding time to the timer, to rack up as high a score as possible. Blitz mode gives you a minute to get as many points as you can. Zen mode– a misnomer if ever there was one– lets you play as long as you want. There’s no time limit, but the game is no less crazy.
In addition to keeping you awake, Bird Zapper looks and sounds terrific. It takes some time to get used to the gameplay, and it’s not for the faint of heart, but if you like your puzzlers hectic, Bird Zapper does the trick.