Angry Birds iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Addictive. It’s a word that gets thrown about for many games and it’s not always an accurate description of the experience. But I can quite safely place it upon Angry Birds. This is because while playing the game in preparation for this review I was ready to outright complain at how fast it eats through my iPod Touch’s battery life. Until I realised hours had gone by without me noticing. This may not seem like such a huge revelation to gamers out there; many titles can suck entire weekends away from you if you’re not careful. Considering this game does nothing except launch avian missles at walls, that’s something.
The game’s story, and I use the term loosely, concerns the theft of a very diverse group of bird’s eggs by hungry green pigs. That’s about it, and to be fair Angry Birds is much better off having a simple plot. The gameplay itself involves getting your revenge on the swines by destroying anything and everything the pigs are unfortunate enough to be near.
This is done by using a large slingshot to fire the curiously flightless birds like cannonballs into a multitude of structures, ranging from castles to trains. These rudimentary architectures can be formed of wooden, glass or solid concrete blocks and mostly shatter and crack with satisfying thuds. You can target the pigs directly with a well placed bird or use the modest physics engine to bring their defences crashing down upon their heads.
Angry Birds eases you in to the first few levels, with simple wooden boxes housing one or two pigs inside and quickly, but importantly not too steeply, ramps up the complexity of each target. As the fortresses become more stable and tougher to bring down, so too does your arsenal of feathery fury grow in variety and power. There are five bird types to play with and each one has its particular strengths and weaknesses. Exploiting these is essential if you wish to get the top scores on each of the 105 levels . My personal favourite is the cluster pigeons which, with a second tap to the screen mid-flight, increase their area of death threefold.
Occasionally objects will smash a little randomly and as such, a lot of my highest scores were gained out of sheer luck more than anything else. But this is a small gripe that subtracts little from the joy of playing the game, and is probably more down to my lack of understanding complex physics than anything else.
European developers Rovio may have a strange notion of what reaction to have when angry. I can’t think of any occasion when I’ve been so infused with hellfire and rage that I’ve been placed into a giant slingshot and fired head first into those who’ve wronged me. The birds seem to often cause more damage to themselves than anything else, leading me to think that intead this game should have been called Kamikaze Birds or Reckless Endangerment of Your Very Species Birds. Title arguments aside, there’s no doubt Rovio have created one of the best games in the App Store to date. And it’s only 59p.