By now, you have probably heard about Angry Birds. It is a game that has become synonymous with mobile gaming in a way no other title has been able to. How this modest little game was able to ingrain itself so deeply into popular culture remains somewhat of a mystery, but the fact that it is a damned fun game probably has something to do with its immense success.
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Keep reading our Angry Birds review below…
Like most effective casual games, the story isn’t the focus in Angry Birds. Even so, the quirky drama between the flightless avian protagonists and the villainous egg-stealing swine adds a nice element to the gameplay, while never getting in the way of the slingshot action. The story is simple: a posse of flightless birds get together to sling themselves across various lands in an attempt to decimate a seemingly sinister force of pigs and reclaim their stolen eggs. The cause of the birds’ inability to fly is never directly explained, but we are left to assume that some odd mutation swept through a population of birds that halted the development of wings.
In any case, the pigs stole a bunch of their mutant eggs (presumably for the intention of cooking up a hearty breakfast) and the birds (who are angry, dammit, angry!) must use any means necessary to reclaim their eggs – which in this case, means slinging themselves into the pigs’ shoddy fortresses with a giant slingshot.
Angry Birds is jam packed with hundreds of levels of slingshot, physics-based puzzle action. With 5 episodes (and more likely to come), the game feels endless at times. In addition, the gameplay is further extended by a score-based system which awards 1 to 3 stars to a player according to their proficiency on a level. Some levels can only be accessed after a player has earned a certain amount of stars. The star system gives Angry Birds a high level of replay value because it goads the player into playing previously beaten levels in order to acquire the 3 stars. Other “easter eggs” (in this case, golden eggs) are hidden throughout the game which enable the player to unlock new playable levels for added replayability. Overall, Angry Birds is a game that can challenge and engage you, no matter how much time you have to invest in it – whether it be 5 minutes or 5 hours.
The gameplay is very reminiscent of (ok, almost identical to) the classic flash game by the name of Crush the Castle (which eventually made its way to the iPhone platform, following the success of Angry Birds) in that its a trajectory-based game where the player must break down the defenses of a makeshift fortress in order to destroy strategically placed enemies. However, unlike Crush the Castle, Angry Birds adds a twist to the simple game mechanics by introducing the element of projectile variety. In the game, each projectile (those cute little birds) has a different special ability that impacts the player’s strategy on a given level. The special abilities are utilized by touching the screen at any point while the bird is mid-flight.
The birds and their abilities are as follows:
- Red Bird (Standard) – No Special Abilities
- Yellow Bird – Turbo Boost
- Blue Bird – Splits in 3
- Bomb Bird – Explodes
- Boomerang Bird – Boomerangs
- Red Bird (Fat) – Extra Damage / Power
- White Bird – Drops Exploding Eggs + Turbo Boost
- Mighty Eagle – Unbridled Terror (In-App Purchase for $.99
On each level, the player begins with an assortment of birds that must be used to defeat all the pigs on the level. The type of birds available forces the player to form an effective strategy to break down the defenses and destroy the pigs. In addition, certain types of birds are more effective against certain kinds of materials that make-up the pig fortresses. For instance, the trio of blue birds are highly effective against ice blocks, while practically useless against stone blocks. Part of the fun is figuring how to use the birds in the most effective way as to score the highest possible amount of points. The player gets a bonus (usually 10k points) at the end of each completed level for each bird that remains unused.
The physics engine is the aspect of the game that keeps bringing you back for more. As a result of physics, your game experience can differ drastically with each play. Even though you might have the strategy for victory down pat, a bad bounce can dash your hopes and bring you back hundreds of times until the bird finally bounces the right way for you. Since each game session can bring a different experience, the game feels like it has infinite replay value.
Graphics and Art Style
Angry Birds has a highly polished look and a fun art style that lends itself quite well to the gameplay. It features vibrant colors and simple shapes that are pleasing to the eye and always engaging. The quaint, simple animations are also a welcome sight. In fact, I often found myself cursing at the smug “oink” and smirk the last surviving hog often gave after a (just barely) failed attempt to clear the level. The foreground elements have just the right amount of contrast so as not to get lost against the lush backgrounds featured in the game. The visuals scream “fun”.
Music and Sound
As with the visuals, this game boasts a soundscape that adds to the sense of fun and joy that comes with slinging wingless birds through the air. It features an array of cartoonish chirps and grunts to go with tunes that drill themselves deep into your subconscious. You will likely find yourself humming to one of these melodies long after you have put your iPhone down.
Conclusion – Angry Birds Review
Yes, the hype is real! Angry Birds is a modern gaming classic that fulfills everything that a mobile game should be: fun, simple and instantly engaging. My advice: Pluck down a dollar and start slinging birds today! Its worth every cent and then some.