Where’s a Big Bad Wolf when you need one? The evil pigs (you can tell they’re evil because they’re green) have stolen all the eggs from the birds and are hiding in their houses made of sticks and stones and … ice? Well, in the absence of a wolf to blow the houses down, the Angry Birds have come up with the next best thing: a giant slingshot to fling themselves at the houses, smashing them to bits and bringing down the pigs inside.
Akin to Crush the Castle (which Matt Blum reviewed in January), Angry Birds is a physics-based puzzler for the iPhone or iPod touch with carefully-balanced houses, forts, and other odd enclosures at which you fling projectiles–in this case, angry birds. There are five different types of birds, each with their own strengths and abilities (and, as I discovered, weaknesses). You start with very simple structures and small green pigs which are fairly easy to destroy, but as the game progresses the levels get increasingly tricky and there are larger pigs which take more or stronger impacts to take out.
Unlike Crush the Castle, though, you control the direction and strength of the slingshot simply by pulling back with your finger and letting go. And you don’t get to select your projectile: the birds are simply lined up in the order you get to fire them, and once you run out the round is over. The game shows you the path of the last bird fired for comparison. You don’t have to smash the structures but you do need to eliminate all the pigs to move on to the next level. You do, however, get points for causing damage, and you get one to three stars per level based on the score.
At only $.99 for 105 levels, it’s definitely a great buy and one that I’ve really enjoyed for way too many hours. (I think my wife is getting sick of seeing me fire up the iPod again, but I’m just so close to getting three stars on this level!) I had a great time figuring out the best ways to bring down the structures, particularly on some levels where hitting the right spot with the right bird can make all the difference. For those of you who love achievements, there are plenty to be earned and you can show them off with the Crystal leaderboards. And going for the maximum number of stars certainly adds a lot of replay value to a fairly extensive game.
The graphics are sharp and I love the cartoony birds and pigs, which snicker at you if they survive your onslaught. The puzzles are well-designed and will definitely challenge you. My one complaint was that there’s no way to tell what score you need in order to get stars; there are several levels in which I’ve used fewer than the allowed number of birds (which nets you a higher score) but still haven’t received three stars. It would be really nice to know how much better I need to do.
This gameplay trailer from Rovio, the game’s publisher, shows off the five different birds and gives you a feel for the app:
If you like physics-based games, puzzles, and cartoony conflicts, download Angry Birds from the iTunes store. I was given a free download code for review purposes, but having played it I would definitely spend a dollar to buy it: that works out to, oh, about 20 cents per hour of game time for me. Not a bad deal.
Wired: Fantastic collection of increasingly-difficult puzzles for a buck; 105 levels seems incredibly generous, and the game itself is a lot of fun to play.
Tired: It’d be nice to know what the score goals are for the stars.