Who: Developed by Rovio Mobil LTD, and Published by Clickgamer

What: Strategy, Action

Where: Up in the sky somewhere probably. I don’t watch birds much so I’m unsure. Maybe in the jungle?

When: Available in the app Store for $0.99

Why: Physics games allow the player to create their own gameplay, and because of this, they are filled with addictive fun.

This game seemed to be all the buzz a month or so ago, but there is so much content that I didn’t feel like I experienced it all enough until now. Hell, I updated last week and BOOM! There were another 15 maps added!

The game begins with some bastard pigs stealing your precious bird eggs. Oh the horrible things pigs will do to eggs. This enrages your posse of birds and you take to the skies… I mean slingshots, in retaliation. Apparently all these birds are some kind of penguin hybrid because they are unable to fly. I remember launching cats from a slingshot into mine fields of missiles and razer porcupines, but cats lack wings so the whole thing just seemed to make sense.

A still from Angry Birds story.

Once you are motivated by the story to kick some bacon filled ass, you are thrown into the game. The goal is quite simple. Demolish structures and pigs with the power of projectile birds. At lease that’s the only power you have to rely upon early on. Later on you get birds with super powers like dive bomb and explode. Yes explode! I’m not sure if they took a page out of Goldeneye or filled them with Pepto-Bismol, but the result is grand.

Pigs in ice, glass, something.

I couldn’t help but get some sense of 3 Little Pigs nostalgia. Sure you aren’t a wolf. If you are a wolf and reading this give me a call sometime. However, you are destroying structures that house pigs, and that’s close enough for me. These structures are also made out of various materials: wood, glass, and stone. Each of these types have a bird that does especially well against them. Allow me to introduce your arsenal of destruction.

  • Red Bird – Standard Kamikaze. It’s special power is laughter. The sound that comes out of this bird is incredible. At first I didn’t think it had a special attack, but ooh was I ever wrong.
  • Yellow Bird – Chopper. This triangle shaped bird will demolish wood structures very quickly with it’s special dive attack. This will also allow it to reach areas some of your other birds cannot.
  • Blue Birds – Spreader. With the tap of a finger this bird can instantly reproduce asexually giving birth to two equal size children. These spawns will then take a modified path of trajectory, which will increase your damage area. These birds are also very affective against glass. All this has increased my awareness of these multiplying and glass destroying avians.
  • Black Birds – Grenade – Whether activated manually, or after colliding with something, these birds blow the crap out of stuff. They also hammer through rocks very well.
  • White Birds – Bombers – They have the same hammering abilities as the Black Birds, but instead of exploding, they drop an atomic egg. These do a decent amount of damage, but lack the force found in the grenadiers. As an added bonus, upon payload expulsion they shoot diagonally up into the air with a lot of speed.
  • Green Birds – Boomerang – As the name suggests, these guys are capable of making a full turn mid flight at your command. This allows for some very strategic flanking opportunities when avoiding forward defenses.

The pigs come in a variety of flavors as well. Some small, which makes them a bit harder to hit, but they have lower hit-points, and of course the larger guys with more hit-points. There is also a group that wears a helmet and these can take a beating. It’s often best to drop a rock on them, or take them out with a direct hit from any of your birds.

Birds vs Pigs

The draw of this game, like that of most games in this genre, is the physics engine. Clearing an entire level with one well placed bird is insanely gratifying. Occasionally, trying to get all three shiny gold stars as a reward for conquering a level can get a bit frustrating. Some levels seem to require several perfectly aimed, down to the degree in some cases it appears, shots to complete a level. I may also be going about it wrong, and often find revisiting a level a day or so later helps me get that elusive third star. The number of stars rewarded correlates directly to your score. Points are rewarded when your birdie projectiles hit destructible objects, destroy stuff, and obviously when you kill a pig. You will also be given 10,000 points for every bird you have left over after performing piggy genocide. Breaking that three star score ceiling will often pit destroying all the level, against conserving as many birds as you can. That decision combined with where you decided to put each of your birds makes this a highly strategic game.

Quantitative Review:

  • Gameplay: 9.3 – Using a well implemented physics system to allow player discovered gameplay has been a popular game model for the past few years. This model combined with fun objectives within the game create a very addictive experience. Angry birds does this well. Added to the game are Easter eggs, quite literally and they are gold, which unlock special levels where strategy is less of a factor, and playing with the physics engine is the point.
  • Visual: 9.0 – Like most games on the iPhone the art style is very Flash-like. For a system that still doesn’t support Adobe Flash and never will, because Steve Jobs says it’s dead, and he has more followers than Jesus, there are a lot of games that look like they were developed within Flash. Animation is fairly limited, but the expressions on the birds and pigs are awesome. Seeing a bird go from determined to unconscious is pretty funny.
  • Sound: 9.2 – The title music is fun and the bird noises are hilarious. Just activate the Red Bird’s “special” power and you will know what I mean.
  • Presentation: 9.2 – The game loads up fast, and getting into the game is easy. Most importantly, reloading up a level you failed, or aren’t doing so well on is nearly instant. This is essential when you are going for a high score and keep messing up. The only improvement I think it needs is a small preview of the level, instead of just a generic thumbnail. It would help when trying to find a particular level that has been giving you trouble.
  • Discovered Gameplay: 8.4 – So much playability can be added by taking advantage of a game’s physics engine. This game has a few levels that really showcase their engine as standard levels, and even more so as unlocked bonus levels. However, I think they could have added more “playground” type levels where players can just mess around with the different systems. I hope more levels like these are on their way.
  • Overall: 9.0 – For the price there is no reason to not have this game, besides not having the hardware, or a wi-fi connection, or fingers, or I’m just going to stop there. It features a crazy amount of fun for a dollar. The game is free of bugs, and it only did things I didn’t intend when I was trying to move fast and accidentally shot of one of my birds, often backwards. This doesn’t even suck that bad because there is an achievement for doing this if you take the time to sign up for a Crystal account.

Frequent content updates, combined with already addictive gameplay make this purchase very easy to stomach.

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