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The original Angry Birds has been downloaded 100 million times. That’s a one followed be eight zeroes!! That’s three times the population of Canada, or a third of the population of the United States. It’s staggering when you think about it. Angry Birds is an unmitigated success.
But does success lead to further success or complacency? It can be a fine line between the two, much like the fine line any developer treads when creating a “Part 2”. How do you keep a sequel fresh and innovative whilst keeping the game the same?
I was dubious about Angry Birds Rio when I first heard it was coming to iOS. I had sunk many a painful hour into the original and the subsequent Seasons updates. The first Angry Birds was new and different; there was a learning curve as you discovered new bird types, the physics felt great, the graphics and sound were cute and the gameplay was frustrating and rewarding. That’s quite a forebear.
The Seasons I was less impressed by. It was the same game but with a few love hearts and clovers thrown in. And if you were growing weary of Angry Birds (as I was at the time) then Seasons was not going to give you enough reasons to download the updates. Does Rio give us anything new?
Rovio Mobile have tied the release of Angry Birds Rio with 20th Century Fox’s movie “Rio”. The link between the two is that the game uses certain characters from the film in its opening chapters, namely by rescuing the Goodies (birds) and fighting the Baddies (marmosets). Rio is also set in Rio de Janeiro, although this has very little bearing on the game.
In terms of the game, much remains the same. Our favourite birds return, from the basic Reds to the bombing Blackbirds. The principal of each level is also as before; kill the baddies and destroy as much as possible in the process. Higher scores bring you more gold stars, and each level has the potential of a 3* reward.
So what is new? Not a great deal to be honest, but I think there is just enough to keep interest levels up. The graphics and sound are slightly better than before (and they were already very good). There are some new obstacles to contend with, birds to rescue and what feels like greater level variation. It feels like New and Improved Angry Birds. But I still have one major bugbear with this game…
And it is the reliance upon Luck to help you out. This is a puzzle game (how to get a higher score) that should rely on skill (your ability to hit certain objects in a certain way) to improve. But the fine line between success and failure is still too fine, resulting in skill and timing being replaced by luck and persistence.
Angry Birds Rio is still a very good game, and if you’re a fan of the original and Seasons you will love this one too. There's enough new stuff to keep it feeling fresh and the graphical and sound tweaks should be applauded. It’s just a shame that Rovio couldn’t have found a way of bring more skill into the game. It’s the only thing stopping it from being awesome.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 7
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