App Aims: The bitter birds are back to business, taking on Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Pigs in the Star Wars universe.
It's hard not to love what Rovio has done with the latest installment of the wildly popular Angry Birds franchise. The same fun, addicting gameplay we've come to expect from the app series has received a welcome breath of fresh air – or, rather, space vacuum – in Angry Birds Star Wars. The birds take on their Star Wars alter egos as they attempt to battle Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Pigs, and bring down the Pig Star. While clearly not known for renaming things well, Rovio has created a winner here in nearly every other aspect.
Angry Birds Star Wars has created an almost entirely new way to enjoy the classic Birds gameplay by adding Star Wars themed activated powers to the mix. The regular old red bird takes on the role of Luke Skywalker and dons his legendary blue lightsaber, which can cut through most obstacles with ease on your way to knocking down the space- age structures upon which your piggy enemies reside. The big black bomb bird employs a very useful force push power, and the yellow flyer has taken on the likeness of Han Solo, shooting three rounds of blaster fire in the precise location you indicate on the screen.
Over 80 levels are available from the start, with more to come through Rovio's reliably regular updates. The story begins on Tatooine, and you eventually make your way to deep space battles, sending critters through the orbits of distant planets in an attempt to take out the evil piggies. Secret levels and hidden items make a return, including bonus levels that feature R2-D2 and C-3PO. You can unlock a lot of content via in-game purchase, but thankfully, most of it can also be unlocked via gameplay – although it won't be easy.
The challenge remains in classic Angry Birds fashion: Passing a level is easy enough, but getting the coveted three-star ranking is no simple task. In addition, players can utilize the Mighty Falcon power-up to easily clear through stages with an overpowered attack, but this method presents you with a percentage value associated with the damage done by the attack, and rewards you with ribbons in place of the typical star ranking.
Gameplay on an iPod touch is crisp, smooth and virtually flawless. The arc trail for bird launches has become increasingly intuitive over the years, making it easy to map out your exact plans of attack. The responsiveness of the touch controls creates a satisfying experience, particularly when precision and accuracy are necessary in taking out some of the more deeply rooted enemies in the later levels.
The classic Angry Birds graphics style presents itself just as well as previous iterations of the franchise in Angry Birds Star Wars. The avian gang dons everything from Han Solo's scruffy hair to a Tuskan Raider get-up. Deep space is represented beautifully in the cartoon style of the series, and while there's nothing here to make an art major giddy, it gets the job done.
Throughout our testing and hours of gameplay, we did not experience a single crash, stutter or error. The game installed without a hitch and we never saw any signs of an issue.
Support for Angry Birds is available online at Rovio's website, via their Twitter or Facebook pages, or by sending them an email. No in-game support is available, but responses from their social media team are usually timely.
The 80+ levels available from day one will provide hours of addicting gameplay. The new features available in Angry Birds Star Wars create an experience noticeably different from that of the previous installments of the franchise. We found ourselves going back to earlier levels frequently in an attempt to discover different ways to complete them, as the environments and bird powers allow for an abundance of experimentation.
With a very small base price, you won't find a much better value on the app store. Angry Birds Star Wars does suffer a bit from in-game purchases, however. If you wish to complete the entirety of what the game has to offer, it's easy to lean towards making a purchase. In-game content ranges in price, and those purchases can add up quickly.
Overall, Angry Birds Star Wars brings a welcome new approach to the series and will have fans and newcomers alike hovering over their mobile devices in a desperate search for that evasive third star. Hours of content are available from the start, and much more is likely to come down the road in the form of free updates. While in-game purchases remain prominent and pricey, it's not enough to diminish what is otherwise an excellent offering from the mobile giant Rovio.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™