This week’s Backlog Buck Club is a special one and it’s only partially due to the bounteous blasting bird filled game we have chosen for this time around!
Toucan Play At That Game
The holiday season is the perfect time of year to bust open your wallet and let those nickels and dimes do some good! This time around on the Backlog Buck Club we decided to switch up our tactics from dollar saving to dollar giving. Instead of trying to bolster our own nest egg with bargain games we thought it would be fun to challenge ourselves to find games that go above and beyond our typical “dollar or less” goal. So what does that mean? Well, however much the chosen game costs above a dollar, we’ll donate 10 times that to our Extra Life charity: The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as part of the Children’s Miracle Network.
There was certainly no shortage of eye-catching sales to slog through due to all of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Orange Wednesday deals so we had a lot of options. Ok, so maybe I made up Orange Wednesday, but you get my point. There were lots and lots of awesome games to choose from at crazy good prices! I think we struck feather flavored gold this time around for the Backlog Buck Club though, when we finally landed on Blazing Beaks by Applava.
Blazing Beaks is regularly priced at a whopping $14.99, so it was a heavy discount that brought it down to the $2.99 we ended up paying. And honestly, it was a perfect choice for our first Backlog Buck Club: Tis the Season Edition. That meant a tidy twenty ducks…I mean bucks going toward the charity and a game with more potential than you can shake a bread cube at, for us to test out. I call that a win-win!
But we still had to have our feathers ruffled and ready to review this mallard markdown. So, was Blazing Beaks a pheasant experience? Or did it fill us with egrets?
The Dollar of My Eye (Graphics and Music) - 17 / 25¢
The visuals for this game are straight up quackers! I don’t think a more adorable shooter exists anywhere. Everything is animated with an exceptional style and attention to detail.
I love how the characters were kept simple without any discernible personality. Just a duck, chicken, or platypus with a gun wading through swamps and graveyards collecting artifacts to sell to a crazy-eyed crow and a skeptical eagle. Have you bought this game yet? How did that last sentence NOT make you want to buy it!!??
However, the soundtrack was neither here nor there in terms of memorability. Which, honestly, for a game like this is understandable. Running and gunning with your little ducky will have you paying attention to a lot more important things than the music.
Coin-tagious (Gameplay and Replayability) - 23 / 25¢
The replayability for Blazing Beaks is huge. It’s what these types of games are designed for after all. Blazing Beaks is a roguelite shooter/looter with a surprisingly high difficulty threshold. This is probably one of the only games we’ve purchased for the Buck Club so far that we have extensively played post stream and we’ve never made it past the second boss.
The game starts out giving you 5 adorable characters to choose from with more to unlock as you progress through the game. Each fowl friend has their own starting gun, stats and special abilities to take into consideration. If you are playing co-op there can only be one of each bird blazing through the levels so you’ll have to duke it out amongst yourselves who gets the penguin powerhouse and who gets the dynamic duck.
The primary feather of this game is to gun your way through randomly generated levels filled with acid-spouting, explosive egg-laying enemies that will randomly drop artifacts, coins or hearts. Hearts refill your health, coins are for the gun shop, and artifacts give you miraculous abilities that help you on your quest…wait that’s not right…oh yes, the artifacts will hinder you in every torturous manner conceivable! Huzzah! You see each artifact has a risk value attached to it. The bigger that value, the worse the consequence you’re about to suffer from picking it up. On the bright side though, the higher your risk factor is, the more items Mr. Crow will give you once you reach the shop, in exchange for all those artifacts you suffered with of course. Some of those artifacts are downright evil too. Things like, if you take damage then your co-op partner takes damage too, or uncollected coins make you lose all of your coins, or even instant death!. That last one will net you a healthy bonus if your co-op partner can revive you, but dang…I learned that one the hard way!
On top of that, there are locked doors that require a key (also dropped by enemies or Mr. Crow). They typically lead to treasure rooms but can sometimes lead to trap rooms too! Blazing Beaks is seriously all about rolling that dice and hoping for the best!
Bosses get their own dice roll as well when it comes to their difficulty level. You could have just started and gotten a 5-skull boss or been slogging away for hours and get a 1-skull boss. Either way the bosses are more murder-ous than a pack of crows and you’ll have to sharpen your talons to progress on through.
Give No Quarter (Is it worth the sale price?) - 25 / 25¢
This game is whole-heartedly worth the $2.99 we paid for it. If you enjoy adorable gun slinging birds (and a platypus) combined with a steep learning curve, then this game should have you drooling all over the floor like it was a roast turkey!
Dollars and Sense (Is it worth the list price?) - 19 / 25¢
Blazing Beaks has the highest original list price we’ve encountered so far in our Buck Club adventures. At $14.99 I longingly eyeballed this game and thought it looked like it would be fun to play, but fifteen ducks…sorry, “bucks”, is a lot to gamble in my opinion. Buck Club or not I’d have jumped on the $2.99 sale price with no regrets. I think after playing it though, and seeing how amazingly polished and varied this game is, I could recommend it at the full price in good conscience, even considering the short amount of time we played it. Even more so if you have a co-op partner at the ready who loves these types of games! You know what they say after all, birds of a feather flock together and that definitely rings true when it comes to laser blasting parrots and snowball slinging penguins!