To say that Ruffled: Feathers Rising is a game about pooping is selling it a bit short. Sure, you play as a bird and you can ruin people’s days by pooping on cars and pedestrians. But you can also eat worms, collect gold coins, and fly through floating hoops like in the game Glyder. Exactly why you’re doing these things, however, isn’t exactly clear.
The reason for the confusion is that Ruffled doesn’t strive to explain itself to you. Most people will probably hop into a level right after booting up the game the first time, but they’ll have no idea how to control the bird or what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s what happened to us. But to save you some Alzheimer’s-level confusion, here’s a tip: before you play, tap the tiny question mark box on the main menu. This brings up a tutorial screen that shows you how to play.
Construction sites are about to get even dirtier.
The controls are fairly simple: sliding your thumb on the left side of the screen controls the direction of your bird’s flight, while tapping the right side causes your bird to poop. Pooping triggers a dynamic poop-cam view that gives you a front-and-center look at where it lands. If your aim is true and it lands on a person, and you’re rewarded with their grossed-out reaction, something like, “Eeww, not again!” If it lands on their head, you get bonus points.
The five levels included in the game are all fairly expansive, and they look gorgeous. The immersiveness level is high, thanks to the great job the developers have done to create what’s essentially a bird flight simulation. It’s a smooth, bright, beautiful game. Our main beef with it, however, is that there’s not that much to do. There’s no campaign mode, or scripted series of goals, or anything that makes it feel like a game. You’re just dropped into an environment, given a time limit, and asked to get a high score.
Eat your heart out, Spider-Man.
And that might be enough to sustain the game if there were more ways to rack up points. Instead, you only get points for pooping on cars and people, and collecting the gold coins hidden in each level. The other interactive elements are hoops, which give you extra time when you fly through them, and worms, which refill your intestines with poop when you eat them.
It would be great if the game offered a little more guidance, or if there was more to do in each level. As is, the levels feel sort of barren. Worms, hoops, coins, cars, and people are present in each level, but you can fly around for a while without seeing any of them. Most of your time is spent soaring through the air, looking for something to interact with. This is fun for a while, but because each level is filled with the same stuff to interact with, it becomes dull before too long.
Calling Ruffled a “game” feels kind of like a stretch. It’s more of a collection of sandbox levels to explore. It’s fun for a while, but unless they add more to do in the game, and make it feel more like a game, there’s just not enough here for us to fully recommend it.