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Review: The Birdcage – AR puzzling at its finest

This is one of those apps which forces you to sit back and marvel at the magic of augmented reality

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.0
Size: 252 MB
Seller: Kaarel Kirsipuu
Platform: iPhone / iPad

Get The Birdcage

Apple sees augmented reality (AR) as the future of iOS. It’s no surprise that since the release of ARKit, we’ve seen a number of impressive AR games launch on the App Store. One of the latest is The Birdcage, which is the kind of app that forces you to sit back and marvel at the magic of AR in action.

In the game, players must unleash captive birds which have been caged by a bereaved ruler grieving the death of his son. Each level consists of a birdcage, and players must work through puzzle after puzzle to eventually set the bird free and complete the level. There are 20 levels altogether, separated into four packs. Two are free, with the third and fourth each locked behind a $1/£1 IAP. Seems pretty reasonable!

Before starting in AR mode, you can place the birdcage on a surface of your choosing. The height of the cage can also be adjusted.

You can play The Birdcage in “normal” mode, which is great. But in AR mode, the game really comes alive. You get to place the birdcage on a real-life surface near you, then when completing each level, you can stand up, walk around the cage, and bring your iPhone closer to take a good look at the clues on offer. The Birdcage is sure to put a smile on your face; its use of AR makes the game feel tangible and real, and the developer has utilized the technology incredibly well.

Some puzzles are easier than others. Here, the goal was to find a key to unlock the door and free the bird.

The puzzles, too, are perfect. Some involve finding keys, others need to be completed in a particular order to work, and some are attached to a letter which gradually reveals the game’s story over the course of the app. You can get hints to clues for watching ads, but our advice is to think carefully about the puzzle at hand and persevere. As you move through the game, you can also collect gems which unlock an additional “Epilogue” level once you’ve completed the app, which is a nice touch.

Other puzzles are more complex.

There’s a really good variety of cages and puzzles in The Birdcage, and this keeps the game feeling fresh. Graphically, the app looks stunning, and there’s also the option of pushing the visuals even further by selecting “High” quality in the game’s settings. A good move if you’re rocking the latest hardware.

You can unlock an additional level by collecting all of the gems across the game.

Overall, this is a special kind of game. It’s a visual feast with clever puzzles and outstanding AR. The narrative arc is intriguing and will undoubtedly hook you in. If you have some time to kill this weekend, consider taking The Birdcage for a spin. You won’t regret it.