If you have ever had the urge to shoot wingless birds at buildings using a slingshot, but worried about the legal implications of your actions then fret no more. Angry Birds enables you to live out your avian hurling fantasies without upsetting any animal rights organizations.
The reason for all this feathered fowl throwing is green pigs. The thieving swine have been making off with bird eggs, leaving the poor flustered parents in a state of rage. With the pigs hiding in structures made of wood, stone and glass, the birds have no choice but to fling themselves at the pigs at these structures, hoping to turn the pigs into pork chops.
Angry Birds, which owes a lot of inspiration to the classic, “Crush The Castle,” has already sold well over twelve million copies on iOS so Android owners have been eagerly awaiting its arrival. Finnish company, Rovio, has been taking their sweet time with the port, but thankfully it has been worth the wait. The idea behind the game is very simple but once you are hooked there is no turning back. Using the touch screen, you have to pull back a slingshot on the left side of the screen and kill all the pigs hiding in their structure on the right. Each level gives you a certain amount of birds with which to accomplish this task and the birds all have their own special abilities.
Red birds don’t have any special talents, but their yellow counterparts can be sped up with a tap of the screen while they are midair for some extra impact power. Black birds explode while white birds can drop explosive eggs on their targets. There are also boomerang birds and tiny blue birds that split into three when you tap the screen. You have no control over which birds you are given for each level and neither can you decide on the order with which to launch them. This might sound like a hindrance, but it forces you to think outside the box and come up with some creative solutions for some of the levels.
The game features some nice physics so birds will fly with a trajectory and structures collapse in a realistic fashion depending on where you damage them. Some levels have items such as rocks and dynamite that can help you out while others might have obstacles such as balloons and ropes that have to be dealt with. It is all about calculating the optimal strength and trajectory for your kamikaze birds and then watching in satisfaction as the pig fortress collapses like a house of cards.
The pigs don’t make it easy for you of course. Structures are fiendishly constructed to collapse to the benefit of the pigs if you are not careful about how you hit them. It is no use burying a pig under a load of debris where you can no longer get to it with your birds. Pigs will also start to wear protective hats to prevent them from being damaged by falling debris. Fortunately the restart button is always at hand and you can try again almost instantly if you fail.
At this point there is already something like nine episodes available for the game, offering literally hundreds of levels to play. I found myself playing this game until I have completed every single level and despite the seemingly repetitive gameplay it never became boring. Maybe it is because the game is perfect for playing in quick bursts while you have a few spare minutes, but a few minutes can quickly turn into hours if you are not careful.
There isn’t much in the way of music apart from a rather catchy theme tune, but the sound effects are nicely done. Hearing the birds shouting as they soar through the air or the mocking grunts from pigs as you fail a level are all integral parts of the experience. The controls are very easy to understand and this is truly a game for all ages.
With all the Angry Birds merchandise out there, ranging from toys to clothes and everything in-between, some people have understandably started to take a dislike towards the iconic birds. There is no denying that Angry Birds have become something of a mainstream phenomenon and as such have gained its fair share of haters. If however, you have an Android device and are looking for something addictive to keep you busy during long waits, then you can do far worse than this game.
*Review originally published in 2010.