Angry Birds Star Wars
History is littered with ‘How’ questions. How does Teflon stick to the pan? How did the fool and his money get together in the first place? How do you know when it’s time to tune your bagpipes? How can there be such a thing as a self-help ‘group’? And now there’s a new one to add to the list: How do you write a review about Angry Birds Star Wars?
There are two basic things you need to know in order to understand everything there is to understand about this game. The first thing is Angry Birds. Assuming you have been in some sort of coma for the past three years I will go into a bit more detail below. Secondly we have Star Wars. Again, assuming you are unaware of one of the largest film phenomena of the past 40 years, I will explain all that needs explaining.
To those of you who are familiar with both Angry Birds and Star Wars you can pretty much skip the next four paragraphs while I attempt a brief education is popular culture.
Angry Birds is a game first released back in 2009 by Rovio. The story, such as it is, involves some sort of dispute between birds (the protagonists) and pigs (the antagonists). The game is made up of many levels, each of which involves you catapulting said birds across the screen to kill said pigs. These pigs are often on top of, concealed behind or hidden within a structure which you will probably also have to destroy.
Each level gives you a set number of birds of varying types, and each type of bird has a certain skill/trait which will allow you to exploit the environment. Basic birds (Reds) do nothing but follow the trajectory you give them. Yellows can zoom into structures giving you greater destruction. Blues split into three but are only really useful against ice. Black birds explode. There are more, but I think you get the idea.
For me the game worked, and still continues to work, because it does certain things very well. Each level is tiny, so you never have to commit too much time in any one sitting. As a portable game this is crucial. The controls are simple and for the most part do what you want. Restarting takes no time at all, and while that might not sound like much right now it is something you appreciate the further into the game you get. It’s quick, easy and accessible, but is also has some longevity as you inevitably struggle to get three stars on each level. It’s fun and frustrating at the same time.
Star Wars, on the other hand, is a film series that first hit the silver screens back in 1977. Created and directed by one George Lucas it was a huge commercial success. The sequels later the original trilogy cemented its place in film history, not only in terms of special effects but also merchandising (of which there was too much to shake a stick at). For years it set a new benchmark for science fiction films, a standard which many failed to meet. That’s not to say that there was Star Wars and everything else, but it certainly was able to drag sci-fi out of ‘cult’ and into ‘mainstream’. Not a lot of film series can make that claim.
What Angry Birds Star Wars manages to do is marry the two worlds of Angry Birds and Star Wars. It’s basically an Angry Birds cocktail with a twist of Star Wars. The birds from the original Angry Birds have been given a Star Wars makeover, each being made to look a bit like one of the SW characters complete with weapon or power specific to them. Original Red is now Luke Skywalker, equipped with a light-sabre to help cut through structure. Original Black is now Ben Kenobi, and rather than blowing up he has a Force Push. There are others but I won’t spoil your fun in finding out who they are and what they do.
Angry Birds Star Wars takes what it has learnt and developed from previous Angry Birds iterations and bundled them up into one delicious little package, tied up neatly with a Star Wars shaped bow. You still have the same control over the birds, catapulting them from the left to the right on a trajectory determined by your finger. The physics are all there too, from the traditional gravity based levels to the zero-G of outer space. However this time the levels are based upon Star Wars environments you will recognise from the films, assuming you have watched them.
My main gripe with Angry Birds still remains; that your ability to clear a level and get three stars is as much to do with luck as it is skill. The difference between a right and wrong trajectory can be miniscule, so much so it is often impossible to tell at the time of launch which it is. To get greater accuracy you need to zoom in but this limits how much of your environment you can see, so if timing is required you are often buggered. Add to that any small twitch in your finger before you release and it can be a very frustrating thin got play.
However that aside Angry Birds Star Wars works. It is a great addition to the Angry Birds universe, giving you more of what you had before whilst feeling fresh enough to warrant the small expenditure. And the best part is this: There’s not a bloody Jar Jar Binks in sight. Splendid.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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