If you haven’t heard of Angry Birds then you’ve probably been living under a rock. If you haven’t played Angry Birds then you were not alone. Neither had I. Until now. I was the last hold out for the Angry Birds franchise in my group of friends; avoiding it like the plague, in much the same way that I have avoided Facebook. But after a 6 hour journey from Shanghai to Hong Kong I have finally been initiated into the Angry Birds world! My initiation was with the movie tie in version of the game franchise – “Angry Birds Rio“. Yes, Angry Birds will be coming to a movie made by 20th Century Fox in the summer. Often movie tie ins yield pretty awful computer games.. How have Angry Birds developer Rovio, done with their own game franchise and the movie tie in of the concept?
If you are not familiar with Angry Birds, then where have you been? But in a nutshell, the game involves firing a bunch of psychotic birds with differing abilities at structures, which in the original game were populated by pigs. The bird’s sworn enemies! The way you aim the birds is by pulling them back in a bungie, which is part of a catapult arrangement, to vary the speed and angle they are launched into the air at. You use this angle and speed of attack to strike constructions made of lots of materials which obey the laws of physics very realistically.
In Angry Birds Rio [App Store] the story line is that the game’s protagonists were kidnapped and flown to Rio. Once they escaped, they set about rescuing fellow (less psychotic) birds which had also been kidnapped. This is achieved in various level progressions by firing birds with differing abilities at fairly badly constructed piles of wood, concrete, steel and chains, which house, or have bird cages hung from them. This is initially set in a nondescript, but beautifully rendered warehouse somewhere close to Rio. You can change the view of your level by pinch zooming, and scrolling. And firing birds is down by simply pressing down on the next bird loaded in a catapult, and pulling and sliding it around to stretch and aim the bungie it is strapped into in its catapult.
Completion of a level is achieved by using your allotted set of Angry Birds for that particular level to free all their fellow feathered friends from their cages. While playing the game you will be able to discover hints and tips to beat your previous score and brag about it. Using less birds (you simply treat them like ammo) achieves bonus points, as does hitting various other items like pineapples, or doing trick shots involving environment objects, like swinging lamps, to cause cascading collapses and liberate trapped birds. Be aware that lamps and other objects suspended from the ceiling in the warehouse can both help and hinder your aim, and the birds flight path. It is also worth looking around the play area for special hidden objects in weird places which will award you bonuses. There are also bonus objects hidden deep in the bowels of on screen structures – which take some serious demolition skills, and planning to get to before each level ends when you run out of birds to fire, or free all the Angry Birds’ friends.
The abilities of your birds varies. Some are just dumb projectiles. Some are single birds that split mid flight into cluster bombs of multiple birds, and some are more violent triangle shaped birds that are extremely aggressive single projectiles.
Puzzles revolve around the placement, and weight of the various materials used to construct a level. For example, some levels are simply made of precariously balanced piles of wood – which are easy to topple with some well placed feathered projectiles. Others are made of more heavy concrete or steel items, which require more accurate hits with birds, or even some planning to undermine weaker foundations in stages to allow the entire construction to become unstable and then topple over – freeing birds in cages, or suspended from chains. The latter swing beautifully when struck – and if not struck hard enough, just swing, and don’t release their captives.
A nice touch is that once you fire your last bird the game will allow some time for items that are falling, or wobbling on the edge of toppling over, so that you can complete a level even if your last shot didn’t quite hit home the correct way. Restarting, or re-trying levels, is quick and easy also.
The game seems to sip battery power, despite having beautiful graphics, and very smooth animations. And the 3 hours flight time (with delays) from Shanghai to Hong Kong seemed to zip by in 5 minutes for me while playing the game. And my waiting time at each end of the journey for gates to open, and taxis to pick me up also zipped by. The game pauses and resumes without any hitches also, so this game is perfect to pull out at any point to play, and then stick in your pocket when you have something to do in the real world.
As you unlock each level you progress to new puzzles, which go from fairly simple, to devilishly difficult. And you can always go back to previous levels to try and complete them more efficiently, and get more bonus points. On my trip I managed to complete the first set of levels, which is set in a warehouse in Rio. And I am looking forward to my return flight tonight, when I can go through them again and try to do better. Or perhaps I’ll just move onto the next set of levels.. Yes, there is more…
There is a second set of levels you can then unlock, which I have just stared, which involves a new set of enemies for the Angry Birds. Monkeys. They are incredibly irritating, but in a good way. So lots of fun. And that set of levels is set in the jungle. So a refreshing change after a bunch of levels in a warehouse.
All in all in the version of “Angry Birds Rio” that you get for the silly low price of $0.99 there are around 60 levels, with tons of hidden awards to unlock. It’s stupidly good value – and has lots of reply value too.
Apparently in coming months there will be more level packs for the game, and I am sure they will also be priced at a silly price too. But what you get, as it stands, puts a lot of content into a game for pocket change, that AAA $60++ console titles shill us for.
If the movie is half as good as this game then it is set to be a huge success, like anything Rovio seem to do. The developers of Angry Birds deserve all the success they have had. And more power to them. They have produced a franchise with mass appeal, of great quality and a simplicity and addictiveness which is appealing to everyone from kids, to bored executives to crusty cynical old developers like me. Bravo.
Buy this game!
- Great gameplay.
- Lots of replay value.
- Fun puzzles.
- Great graphics, smooth animations and bug free.
- Extremely addictive.
Released: Mar 17, 2011
1.0.0 (iOS 4.0 Tested)
Size: 13.1 MB
Seller: Rovio Mobile
© Rovio Mobile Ltd
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later