Lovebirb Review: Dating in Two Genres? It’s Too Much

While Lovebirb's art, music, and dialogue make each date a unique experience, the rhythm sequences introduce some problems.

Lovebirb has charm and style — two desirable qualities in games and romantic partners. It also has catchy music, sharp writing, and fashionable birbs that love to accessorize. As a blend of dating sim and rhythm game, Lovebirb creates a novel genre mashup that manages to be entertaining despite its flaws.

The game asks you to choose dialogue options that will impress your date while hitting specific keys to the rhythm of the music. Success means identifying the correct answer to match your date’s attitude while staying on the beat.

Early encounters start with simple up, down, left, and right commands. The difficulty gradually increases with the addition of more keys and having to hold them down for a series of beats. Your goal is to nurture a relationship with one of seven potential partners to develop a bona fide love match.

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The main character of Lovebirb at home in his nest
Screenshot by Peter Gross

Lovebirb as a Dating Sim

Lovebirb puts players in the role of Abercrumbie Finch, who is moping around after a bad breakup. Getting Finch back out on the dating scene will involve smartphone apps, clever puns, and self-aware jokes. Some of Finch’s most cringeworthy failures are also the most fun to watch.

Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and the matchups in this game clearly have inclusivity in mind. The partners all have distinct personalities, and Finch can swap innuendos with a saucy frigatebird or deflect accusations from an intense socialist penguin. All the characters’ pronouns are deliberately vague, and the in-game dialogue is flexible enough to accommodate every type of couple found in the real world.

Players learn more about each bird’s story arc over a sequence of dates (and different date-adjacent minigames). You may visit the same location with two different companions, but they play out as distinct combinations of music and dialogue, making each date feel fresh and unique.

After spending enough time on the dating scene, players can go steady with one of the birds and find out what happily ever after looks like. Individual tastes may vary, but I enjoyed Finch’s journey and the alternately funny and sentimental exchanges along the way.

A successful date in Lovebirb drawing to a close
Image via Anonymous Penguin Studio

Adding a Rhythm Component

Lovebirb doesn’t reward technical skill. While other rhythm games encourage you to work towards unlockable bonuses with the traditional numerical scoring system, this bird banter takes scoring in a different direction. Instead of giving you a score, each date is graded with a pass/fail, and I couldn’t find any incentive to go back and try for perfection.

Lovebirb constantly pushes the player forward, looking at the next set of notes, because the music never stops. This doesn’t work as well in a dating sim, because they’re more interesting when they’re more reflective — as characters reveal more details about themselves, players are encouraged to stop and rethink past interactions.

Ultimately, it’s a clash of genres. When you replay a rhythm game, you’re repeating your actions to get the timing right to get the best possible score. When you replay a dating sim, you’re consciously making different choices to uncover new details. These two vastly different goals made concentrating on the dates difficult at times.

A date going well in Lovebirb
Image via Anonymous Penguin Studio

A Matter of Taste

When I could keep up with it, Lovebirb was a joy to play. The environment bounces to the beat of the music, and each note hits with crisp trills and snappy wing motions. I kept stalling out of that flow state because I couldn’t balance the demands of staying on the beat while nailing the dialogue.

Lovebirb’s options menu addresses some of these concerns: players can see which responses are correct and decrease the difficulty of the rhythm sequences. While that made the game easier to play, it also felt like it was removing an important part of the experience.

Lovebirb ends up as an ambitious attempt to combine a rhythm game and a dating sim that may resonate with some people. Unfortunately, it didn’t strike a chord with me.

Press SPACE to Jump Review score 7


Wide range of personalitiesLittle time to enjoy them
Music and graphics work together wellRhythm can be difficult to master
Cute and cleverRepeated dialogue can feel stale

Curious about what each of our scores means? Visit the Press SPACE to Jump Review Scale for more information.

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Peter M.J. Gross
Peter M.J. Gross

Peter M.J. Gross has been on the internet for longer than he'd care to admit. His favorite games include Star Control II, Patrician III, Dragon Quest: Builders, Phantasy Star II, Rune Factory 4, and the Suikoden series.

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