Angry Birds needs little introduction, it is without doubt one of the most popular games for iOS, Mac and Android platforms, with the total number of downloads exceeding 500 million. It is easy to play, fun and addicting. For those readers who aren’t familiar with the concept, you control a flock of birds who are ‘angry’ at a group of green pigs who have stolen your eggs. You somehow manage to build a slingshot to fire yourselves kamikaze style at the pigs and the buildings where they live in order to destroy the pigs and get your eggs back.
Angry Birds Space is the latest incarnation of the franchise from Rovio, which in my opinion is the first true sequel to the original Angry Birds (I personally didn’t buy into the whole Angry Birds: Seasons thing). As a fan of the original game, when the chance came to review Angry Birds Space I couldn’t resist. Read on for what I thought.
As the name suggests, Angry Birds Space is set in outer space, which dramatically changes the physics of the game from that of previous versions. The normal trajectory of the birds has gone out of the window, for most shots the birds travel along a straight path, with the curved trajectories familiar to players of the first Angry Birds only making an appearance when the birds are inside the gravitational pull of a planet. This definitely livens up the game play a bit, especially when two gravity fields overlap, allowing you to sort of slingshot the bird around one planet and into the gravity of the next one.
The inclusion of gravity fields, which look a little bit like atmospheres around each moon/planet, also allows you to get creative when destroying the pigs. Simply knock a pig into the pull of a planet and it will be sent plummeting planet bound. Or if you’re feeling particularly cruel you can burst the bubble any free floating pig is in to let it freeze to death. After all, they did steal your eggs.
Aside from the setting, the birds themselves have also undergone a revamp. Most of the original cast are present, but now sport cool space visors and suits. Presumably left on Earth are the boomerang bird, egg bombing bird and orange bird (apologies to die hard Angry Birds fans if these names aren’t correct). I can’t say I’m disappointed in the exclusions as the egg bombing bird was possibly the most useless waste of space ever. With the new setting however, the way you use each bird has changed, the black bomb bird for example is now more effective at sending space debris flying rather than blowing the hell out of a pig stronghold.
What I Like
The new setting first and foremost is probably my favorite new feature in Angry Birds Space. Not only does it make the game feel like a true sequel to the original Angry Birds, it also livens up a concept that, while popular, was beginning to feel a little tired (no matter how many versions of Seasons were released). The graphics too look amazing, with the artwork really giving the impression that the developers spent plenty of time with this version of Angry Birds. Long gone are the days where each level was more or less the same with a few minor variations. The soundtrack also fits very well with the space setting, using lots of synths to remind the player of the eeriness and coldness of space.
What I Don’t Like
The price. The game is currently on the Mac App Store for $4.99. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t exactly bank breaking, but the whole point of Angry Birds is that it’s supposed to be a fun, addictive and critically cheap game. $4.99 just feels a tad too expensive especially when the very same game can be had on other devices for less, which brings me onto my other gripe with Angry Birds Space. The pricing strategy that Rovio has introduced is annoying. It seems that as the screen size on your device goes up they feel justified in hiking the price. For example, the iPhone version is a modest $0.99 while the iPad version costs $2.99.
Until Retina Display Macs are released (and consequently a HD version of Angry Birds Space) I would have expected the Mac and iPad Versions to cost roughly the same. While there seems to be a lot of chatter regarding an in app purchase for the third stage of the game on other devices, with the Mac version this third stage seems to be left out completely. Another annoyance considering the higher purchase price.
Overall the game is extremely enjoyable, the graphics are awesome and the new gameplay dynamic is amazing. The team at Rovio have done a great job of reviving a series that in my opinion at least seemed to be getting tired. The price could do with being reduced just a tad for the Mac and iPad versions in my opinion, but otherwise it’s definitely a worthy successor. What do you think about the latest Angry Birds adventure?