In a nod to the post-credits gimmick of comic book blockbusters, A Bird Story reveals itself as foreplay for Gao's next game. This shameless preview raises the question of why anyone should take the game's human-animal bonding as anything more than a tease. Earlier in the game, the boy and the bird are launched into space for a close-up of the moon, a shoehorned reference to Gao's To the Moon. Despite its well-meaning qualities, A Bird Story doesn't have the maturity or confidence to inspire much more than crying and buying.
While The Shivah also explores the reconciliation of faith and practicality, its corny climax can't match The Talos Principle's matter-of-fact ending, which argues that our chosen perspective will limit what we discover in one way or another. Thank God the puzzles are worth it.
If only the developer's care could have graced the poorly drawn cutscenes that lack the vitality of those in 1988's Ninja Gaiden. These sequences don't communicate the emotional sincerity needed to fulfill the potential of a story that humanizes its white-man villain while calling attention to the contemporary impact of his racism.