Angry Birds grows new feathers — flies as an RPG this year

Angry Birds is changing, and it's next experiment is a mobile role-playing game.

This week, developer Rovio is soft-launching Angry Birds Epic in Australia and Canada, according to Kotaku. It's an adventure-RPG that incorporates both turn-based combat and crafting — of potions, weapons, and armor. You'll fashion them using resources gained in-game or purchased with real money.

The full game will launch worldwide later this year on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.

This isn't the first time Rovio has tried steering its popular mobile series away from its simple structure-breaking puzzle format. Last year's Angry Birds Go! is a kart racer. The developer has also made attempts to redesign the look and feel of the characters, such as with the upcoming Angry Birds Stella, due late 2014.

It's good that Rovio is willing to let go of its lucrative formula and test new possibilities. And Angry Birds Epic looks … well, kind of awesome.