The rebooted physics of this new instalment means you’d have to be cuckoo to bet against Angry Birds’ continued domination as it aims for infinity, and beyond.
Angry Birds Space Review
by on April 13, 2012
So, the birds are back. Of course they are, given the popularity of their original outing – familiar to everyone from foetuses to your gran, Angry Birds is the most-downloaded and paid-for iOS app ever. Hell, there are even plans for theme parks based around the cartoony smash-’em-up. It’s safe to say that the franchise is a bankable one.
You can’t blame developer Rovio for wanting to keep the success rolling, and there must have been real temptation to just crank out another follow-up along the lines of the relatively templated Seasons. Thankfully, though, Space takes the series in a new direction. And that direction is towards the stars – unsurprising, for those of you who’ve read the title.
You still have to wreak havoc upon those green porcine pests and their ice, wood and stone structures, but now you’re soaring between planets and out in the void. Each planet has its own atmosphere and gravitational pull, and this needs to be taken into account as you formulate your plan of action for a level. You can slingshot yourself around planets, adding curve to your path and changing your speed. Objects travel faster within a planet’s ‘atmosphere’ than they do outside of it, and this adds a tactical depth to proceedings that wasn’t there before.
Many of the familiar bird types from previous games are still present and correct: Average Joe red birds, satisfyingly explosive black ones, massive great behemoths and little blue triplets. The yellow zoomy birds have been given a slight tweak – they’re now purple, and can be targeted with far greater precision – and there’s a new addition in the form of ice birds, which… well, on contact, turn things to ice.
As introduced in movie tie-in Rio, there are boss battles at the end of each zone. While boasting no greater difficulty than any of the game’s other levels, they do tie up each world nicely – as well as winning you more ‘Space Eagles’ for use in a tight spot. These particular feathered furies appear from a vortex and smash up anything in their path. In short, it’s a level-winner, which is probably why obtaining them in bulk requires an extra IAP. However, we found that the need for Space Eagles was few and far between, meaning we could cope with the rationed numbers we earned through battling the boss hogs.
While Angry Birds Space is still an instantly recognisable part of the series, devotees of the previous games will take a good few levels to get their heads around the new style of gameplay that’s required. It doesn’t feel as instantly gratifying as prior instalments did, but arguably there’s more reward to be taken from the, y’know, actual thinking that’s required to complete many stages.
The happy flipside of this added complexity is that things feel far less random than they did first time around. There’s no more flinging and hoping – a common criticism of the original game. There’s far less trial and error now: you have to plan around gravity, otherwise your feathered projectiles end up either floating off like Major Tom, or crashing down on the dark side of the moon, where no pig dares to boldly go. You’re helped out by the fact that your approximate trajectory is shown before you commit to it – and it does bend in relation to planets and their pull.
The biggest niggle here is one that’s rapidly becoming widespread across gaming as a whole: in-app purchases. Once you complete the first two worlds, you’re shown a pop-up, telling you that if you like a challenge, you’ll love the new Danger Zone levels. Oh, and they’re 69p. While it’s hardly a princely sum for an extra 30 levels, the fact that they’re being packaged in this way does grate the soul. The game itself costs 69p, so effectively, you’re buying the game again. They’re enjoyable enough levels, but they’re not that challenging. Even without them, though, the game will last you a good two or three hours – likely longer, if you’re determined to three-star the whole thing.
The graphics have been overhauled with a nice spit and polish, and there’s some atmospheric, B-movie sci-fi music to boot. The new gameplay encourages inventiveness and ingenuity from the player, and you’re less likely to gnash your teeth down to the jawbone because you’ve been stuck on the same section for half an hour solid. Overall, Angry Birds Space is a surprisingly strong addition to the nest.
Download this app: Angry Birds Space for iPhone
Best iPhone apps | Apple iPhone 4S review
Review courtesy of Tap!