Review by BigCj34

Reviewed: 07/24/17

One of the forefathers of addictive touchscreen mobile gaming.

The iPhone’s introduction of an all-touch screen device set the standard for smartphone design back in 2007, but its lack physical controls was puzzling for gamers used to traditional controller. However, gaming on a traditional numeric keypad was hardly a luxurious ergonomic experience. While games experimented with virtual on-screen buttons with variable results, Angry Birds pioneered the usage of the touchscreen as an integral part of the experience. While the Nintendo DS pioneered the use of a touchscreen to a mainstream audience thanks to its tactile second screen, Angry Birds was tailored for a button-less device.

The premise is simple; thieving pigs have been stealing birds’ eggs and the birds want them back. The birds are sacrificially fired from a catapult to kill off the pigs, who assemble themselves into increasingly complex structures through the game in a differing set of worlds. The birds come in various guises with different attributes; while the default birds is red, upon tapping the screen special attributes from the other birds can be activated. Chuck the yellow triangular bird can be instructed to torpedo in a straight line, the blue birds can multiply by three to damage multiple parts, Bomb the blackbird can blow up surrounding obstacles and white bird Matilda can drop an explosive egg.

Throughout the game there more themes become available, such as wild west, a birthday party theme and in a mine, introducing different obstacles and pigs donning increasingly sillier outfits, be it cowboy hats, sunglasses or beards. Wooden beams are easily destroyed, TNT boxes will destroy anything immediately surrounding them while ice cubes and rocks require more strategic use of the birds available. Birthday cakes must be destroyed properly to prevent sponges from blocking up the level. Triggering chain reactions with the available birds is the fundamental premise, and using less is fiendishly encouraged.

Indeed, a level is not truly complete without acquiring a perfect 3-star rating, which means being resourceful with the birds, using less birds while destroying as many obstacles and treasure as possible. Naturally, this necessitates setting up chain reactions to ensure obstacles are destroyed in the correct order, such as knocking off a boulder or an explosive box. While very finicky, it is often undoubtedly one of the most satisfying aspects of the game. Listening to all the obstacles come crashing down and knowing that the cherished three stars is in sight spurs the motivation to keep on playing.

For this reason, Angry Birds is dangerously addictive, especially when narrowly missing a three-star rating because an object simply fell at a slightly different angle than desired, and a simple tap of the screen instantly restarts the level. The only criticism is that the game does not indicate how many points are needed to achieve 2 or 3 star ratings, which vary by the level, although it is not hard to work this out. As with most mobile games that are ostensibly free there are micro transactions, but none of them are necessary to complete the game. These add extra power ups to the birds to make completing levels easier but they’re still beatable without them, in fact an asterisk is left next to the level icon if one is used. Crucially, the addictiveness is not a drain on the wallet!

Angry Bird’s may have overstayed its welcome by evolving into a mass franchise with its own shop, theme park, a mediocre film on top of its dozen sequels or so, though it is certainly not the first franchise to milk a brand. That aside, the actual game is a highly entertaining and dangerously addictive experience that is ideal for short bursts of play in any location. While the game was released almost a decade ago, its cartoony graphics have not aged although it has been reconfigured for screens with high pixel density. For a game is free and does not require any purchases to have a challenging and fun experience, it is a recommended download but be careful!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Angry Birds (US, 10/15/10)

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