Angry Birds (Review) iPhone/iPod/iPad

Angry Birds (Review) iPhone/iPod/iPad

Odds are you probably already have and love this game, so all that’s left for a poor reviewer to do is try to tell you something about it you don’t know.

For starters, behind the pay wall of The Wall Street Journal’s Web site is this gem of an incentive for aspiring app developers:  “‘Angry Birds’ has generated about 2.35 million paid downloads since its launch in December…It costs 99 cents, of which (developer) Rovio gets 70 percent based on its revenue-sharing agreement with Apple, minus what it pays its publisher, ClickGamer.” (No wonder so many people are writing apps, hoping lighting will strike.)

Another article published the same week states video game sales overall are down 26 percent from a year ago, due largely to a lack of inspired titles. (No wonder so many of those apps are crap.)

Finally, as addicts may already know, Rovio just released a huge update with added features and dozens of new levels. Not content to stop there, they’re saying “keep an eye out for the next update, it will be a whopper.”

The only bad thing I can say about Rovio and its 17 employees (they’re hiring more, despite the recession) is they’re contributing to some of the gaming industry’s evil demons that are responsible for the current Dark Ages Of Sequels and DRMs. But the company gets a pass when it comes to Angry Birds, if only because the it allows the current generation to see why us fogies maintain the most creative video game programmers were those giving us the likes of Tempest and Donkey Kong.

Angry Birds is merely a dressed-up version of a game called Artillery Duel that I and many other derelict students played on the school’s Apple II computers when we were supposed to be learning Logo. The object was to take out your opponent’s cannon by firing your own, typing in the trajectory and strength of your shots, and our “wayward” teacher may have simply decided learning to calculate angles was more useful than programming a turtle to draw squares.

This feathered update substitutes birds for cannonballs and the targets are green pigs usually protected by some kind of structure. You launch birds from a slingshot using drag-and-release touchscreen motions to control angle and velocity, receiving a set number to complete each stage (anybody checked to see if the SPCA is cool with this?). Trying to strike with precision is tricky because you start with a relatively close-up view where the pigs are a few screens out of view to the right. You can scroll out and see the whole playfield at once, but lose a huge degree of fine aiming control.

At first you have simple one-hit red cardinals that bounce, roll and apparently are called to Rapture as they vanish with a pop upon stopping. But then evolution begats creatures such as blue birds that split into three and yellow dive-bombers. You’re awarded one to three stars at the end of each wave, depending on how many birds you use, and secret features in hidden golden eggs throughout.

Gameplay’s somewhat monotonous and the “knock things over” concept is common enough that some people may find this a short-term diversion rather than an obsession. But Rovio certainly earned their millions with the original release of Angry Birds and the updates – current and future – beef this bargain-priced app into something fans will be playing for a long time to come.

By Mark Sabbatini

Angry Birds by Rovio
$1.99 ($0.99 sale price)
Platform Reviewed: iPhone/iPod (Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later)
Category: Strategy
Languages Supported: English
Rating: 4+
File Size: 13.2 MB

VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
Rating: 9.8/10 (4 votes cast)
Angry Birds (Review) iPhone/iPod/iPad, 9.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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