Space Firebird is an old school shooter. It tries to be a little of everything: Galaxian, Phoenix, etc and still add a little of its own element.
The graphics are kinda cool for the era... They are little birds and other creatures that are mostly small and very detailed for their size. The fact that the enemies and you and the gunfire is all so small makes the game/playfield feel bigger than other games of this era and genre. There's just more space out there for stuff to attack and more room to maneuver.
The bird-enemies come at you with the jittery action of a game like Phoenix. Not smooth and glide-y like Galaga. It's what makes the game a little more challenging since the little stacatto bastards can be hard to hit.
There are two buttons that control the action in SF (along with the joystick). One is the normal fire button. The other is your special power - Warp (woo-hoo!). Once per level you get to use the warp feature. What happens is that you grow a shield and become invulnerable - meanwhile, you start moving up the screen (involuntarily). You can control the left and right movement as you slowly ascend the screen and blast (or simply plow into) as many enemies as you can until you reach the top. Once you reach the top, the warp is over and you reappear at the bottom for more combat. You get a second or two of invulnerability when you reappear so that you aren't immediately wiped out by something that you appear right beneath.
The enemy armada materializes at different times and in varying numbers - as opposed to all together as a wave like in Galaga. So, to ensure you know how far along you are, there is a number in the top-middle of the screen indicating how many more you have to kill to end the level.
Space Firebird is not ever going to replace the classics like Phoenix, Galaga and the like, but if you have mastered them or are looking for a new challenge to take on, it's a great game in its own right. Nice graphics, reasonably frustrating enemy behavior and familiar action mean a good time is waiting.