If I could pick just three words to describe Angry Birds and to make up this review, my choices would be; simplistic, addictive and fun. But where is the fun in a review that consists only of three words? No where to be found! I think it’s pretty fair to say at this point that Angry Birds is perhaps one of the most successful games on the mobile market and has played a large part in the growth of that industry. To make matters worse (or better), Angry Birds is available on just about any platform you care to name.
I’m coming a little late to the whole ‘mobile gaming’ thing, but I’ll be reviewing this one based on the Android version.
As hard as it may be to believe, Angry Birds does have a story, or at least something basic and resembling a story (an overall plot). Those evil pigs, arch nemesis to all feathered kind, have been egg napping. As you could imagine, the birds are pretty angry about this (hence the title). In short, this means war! And that’s where you come in.
At the heart of Angry Birds, it is essentially a puzzle game. You have a limited amount of birds to fling at pigs, via a large slingshot, in an attempt to kill them all. Do so and you’ll get a score at the end but fail and you’ll need to take another shot at it (or come back later). The mechanics of the game are fairly simple, so simple infact, that just about anyone could pick it up and work out what to do almost immediately. To send your weapon (bird) of choice hurling at the enemy pigs, requires you place your finger (or whatever floats your boat) over the loaded bird, then draw back at the desired angle and pace before releasing.
Depending on how fast you drew your finger back and at what angle, your bird will hopefully careen toward the pigs to achieve glory for all feathered kind. At first you’ll only be dealing with the one type of bird at the start, a red one, that you shoot and leave it to it’s own devices. But as you progress, you’ll encounter several other types, each with their own special abilities. For example, the blue bird will split into multiple smaller birds when you tap your finger on it mid-flight. While the yellow bird will shoot forward like a torpedo if you tap him while in motion.
Not only will the birds in your arsenal evolve as you progress, but the enemy pigs themselves will get a bit smarter (in some cases, the opposite), building themselves more elaborate structures to protect themselves from your righteous vengeance. The game will introduce several different types of objects that will make up the structures, for example; TNT (It goes boom when hit, promise), wooden planks, boulders and more. In total there is something like 150 levels in Angry Birds to keep you occupied for quite a while.
If that’s not enough gameplay value for you, then each level comes with a 3 star rating, where 1 is the lowest and 3 is the best. The star rating is determined by the score you rack up during the level, (killing pigs, remaining birds etc) except the one star, which can be obtained simply by killing all the pigs before running out of birds. Because you’re able to replay any stage you like once you’ve unlocked it, you can set about trying to get those 3 star ratings on each and every level (good luck with that, you’ll need it). Which speaks to another great quantity that this game has, in that it is very ‘casual’.
Angry Birds is one of those games that you can conceivably play even if you’ve only got a minute or two spare, for example during the ad break on TV. This gets even greater value on the mobile (hand-held) platforms, as you can easily whip out your phone, attempt a level of Angry Birds and then get on with whatever you were doing. In my experience, the game is also addictive. Not so much in the sense that it’s particularly hard to put down once you start playing, rather that it seems to become a more viable way to waste your time whenever you’ve got a few spare minutes here and there.
Graphically, Angry Birds employs a fairly ‘cartoony’ art style and for the most part it doesn’t look bad. It’s pleasant enough that you can be looking at it for extended periods relatively pain free (eye strain aside) but it certainly won’t leave your eyes bleeding from the strength of it’s visuals. Now, you could say that because Angry Birds is a mobile game, that I shouldn’t expect much (I don’t really anyway) but I have played more than one game that is graphically superior and was quite the surprise to see how good it looked (but the game in question is for a later review).
All in all Angry Birds is a fun game that you can play whenever you have the spare minute here or there and that’s a pretty strong selling point. It’s also free to dive into on Android platforms (though I believe with less levels than the paid version as one might expect) and if you find yourself needing even more furious fowl to play with, there are also two further editions of the game, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio.