'Angry Birds Star Wars' Review: Easily The Best Game Rovio Has Ever Made

Review

on November 08 2012 11:20 AM
‘Angry Birds Star Wars’ Edition: Rovio Sets Release Date For Nov. 8 [VIDEO]
On Monday morning, Finland-based Rovio Entertainment announced “Angry Birds Star Wars,” a new game for iOS and Android devices, set to release on Nov. 8. Courtesy/Angrybirds.tumblr.com

Rovio Entertainment has enjoyed one hell of a run with its 'Angry Birds' franchise. Since those multi-colored wingless fowls arrived on iOS for the first time in December 2009, mobile gamers have repeatedly come back to Rovio's addictive gameplay with every update, new level or game expansion in the series.

When Rovio launched 'Angry Birds Space' in March, many were blown away by the new game's creative gameplay mechanics, which involved stages comprising of several different planets that each had their own gravitational pull, affecting the trajectory of your birds once launched out of a slingshot.

But after conquering so many areas, from construction sites to mines to Rio to all four seasons, what else could Rovio do with its million-dollar franchise? Luckily, someone at either Rovio or Lucasfilm Ltd. had the brilliant idea to merge their major contributions to pop culture -- Angry Birds and Star Wars, respectively -- and launch an entirely new game inspired by this unique fusion.

The result, which launched Thursday morning on the iOS App Store -- 99 cents for iPhone, $2.99 for iPad -- and Google Play is the very best game Rovio has ever created, hands-down.

If you are a Star Wars fan of any kind and you own a mobile device, you must buy 'Angry Birds Star Wars.'

Here's the deal: Every 'Angry Birds' game until now has followed an extremely loose, if not extremely boring storyline. A bunch of green pigs capture the Angry Birds' eggs, and the birds use slingshots to pummel the pigs and get their eggs back. Simple story for a simple game. Fine.

In 'Angry Birds Star Wars,' however, players follow the exact storyline from George Lucas' popular 'Star Wars' saga, starting with Episode IV -- the real start of the franchise -- when Princess Leia (the bubbly Pink Bird) gets kidnapped by a bunch of pig stormtroopers, but not before sending a distress message with her two droids to another distant planet.

Once the droids are found by Luke Skywalker -- the Red Bird, now with a hilarious 70s haircut -- he treks off across Tatooine to find Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is played by the Black Bird.

That's where the story starts, and it uses plenty of cartoonish humor to keep it well-paced. But more important to note, this is the first time Rovio has a real stor to work with, and Rovio does a great job at translating it to the mobile platform -- without any dialogue, to boot.

But while the story is certainly stronger thanks to Lucas' films, it's the new gameplay that will have everyone talking.

Paul Southern, vice president of licensing and consumer products for Lucasfilm Ltd., warned USA Today last month that "Angry Birds Star Wars" wasn't just a simple transplant game; each of the characters would be "characters in their own right," taking on the unique personalities of the classic space saga. In this and in every sense, Rovio has come through.

Not only is the gameplay here wildly creative, but it's incredibly fun and funny. When you launch your R2-D2 bird, it screams wildly, just like the droid does in the movies -- that is, until the player taps the screen, which results in R2-D2 electrifying areas adjacent to its position. Even better, the C-3PO character moans in a British accent once you launch him, and by tapping anywhere on the screen, he explodes into golden shrapnel. We've never seen these kinds of powers in previous 'Angry Birds' games, but this kind of creativity just barely scratches the surface in what you'll see and play in 'Angry Birds Star Wars.'

Unlike other 'Angry Birds' games, the birds' powers actually change throughout the game -- a direct result of the storyline. For instance, the Luke Bird has no particular powers at first, but at one point in the story when he discovers the Lightsaber, the weapon is added to the bird's abilities, letting users do away with obstacles with that satisfying swing and buzz of the Star Wars franchise's iconic laser sword.

However, at no point in the game does it ever stop feeling like 'Angry Birds,' which is a good thing. The gameplay added John Williams' classic score and the incredible sound effects from the movie, but you still need to use your wits to find structural weaknesses in the buildings that hide the Stormtrooper Pigs to defeat them. Luckily, in this game, your Birds seem far more super powered than ever before, and it's incredibly satisfying to use these powers, especially Luke's Lightsaber and Obi-Wan's blue "Force," which creates a lot of unique opportunities for creative problem solving.

The game comes with three full levels, including Tatooine, the Death Star and Path of the Jedi -- the Hoth level will be unlocked in a forthcoming update -- but the cost of entry, whether you're on an iPhone or iPad, is well worth the purchase for the experience. The music and sound effects never get old, and the gameplay and humor is something any 'Angry Birds' or 'Star Wars' fan could easily enjoy.

These are the droids you're looking for.

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