With a $0.99 game, players shouldn’t expect much. Perhaps something interesting, or an addicting formula that has you coming back for more, but always something simple. I mean, who can afford to make a complex game for just a buck?
Angry Birds does all three, and marvelously. From developer ClickGamer, Angry Birds tells the simple story of a rivalry between birds and pigs, where the pigs are tired of boring grass and want eggs, either scrambled or sunny-side up. Thankfully, their neighbors, the birds, have a built-in egg production factory ripe for the taking. (Thus the ‘angry’.) The birds will do whatever it takes to get those eggs back, and besides a 90-second Looney Toons’ style video, that’s all there is to the story.
Gameplay is simple enough: shoot birds with a slingshot at a selection of pigs, defended only by their glass, wooden or concrete surroundings. The angle you shoot them at makes all the difference, and once the bird is fired, physics takes over and drives the propelled artillery at the unsuspecting pigs for massive damage. The trick is getting through all the glass, wood and concrete in the way, and using as few birds as possible.
It sounds easy enough, but this puzzler will leave players stumped with each new level to find the best way to eliminate all the pigs on screen. Different combinations of structures and defenses the pigs employ will wreak havoc on player’s minds night after night, as this 6-20 hour long game will literally steal your time, either because you’re trying to get all three stars each level has to offer, to beat your personal high score for every single level, or just to get all those darned pigs in the first place.
To complete each level, a preselected assortment of birds is given for ammunition, and players must find the best way to use them. 10,000 points is offered for each bird left unused, though points are also earned by destroying anything destructible on the given map. Most levels have some method of toppling every pig with just one blow, but finding it is never so easy. Thankfully, there isn’t just one type of bird in our arsenal, but rather a growing multitude. Red is the standard, blue is small but can split into three birds and is powerful against glass, yellow can get a speed boost and is powerful against wood, black is heavy and goes through concrete easily and is explosive, white drops an explosive egg, and green has a boomerang effect so it can come around and hit anything from the back.
With eight worlds and 21 levels per world, there is so much to do and so little time to do it. Thankfully, each level should only take a few minutes to complete, though I’ve found some take no less than 30 seconds while others took 10 minutes or more. And if you want to set high scores, well, you’ll probably never turn the game off. Thanks to the built-in Crystal service, players can keep track of completed challenges, collected achievements, leaderboards, and edit their profiles for all Rovio titles (Rovio being the publisher of Angry Birds, among other mobile games).
The best part of Angry Birds, however, isn’t just that it’s inexpensive and offers hours upon hours of fun and puzzle-solving – it’s that the game is still being built, and that your $1 investment will continue to pay off as more and more levels become available. As of this writing, five worlds with 21 levels, and a sixth with 15 levels, are open for owners to play. That’s a total of 120 levels, and the ease-of-mind that more are coming.
If you don’t already own Angry Birds for the iPhone, don’t fret, a lite version is available for you to try out. But for a dollar, the only justification for not buying this creative title is that you hate games and read this site just to make yourself angry. If so, good job. Otherwise, get Angry Birds. Now.