Angry Birds review

Angry Birds title screen

The great thing about mobile and even flash gaming is that you can bring a dynamic that may not work in the console and PC world. Though there have been many successful puzzle games for console and computer systems, some of the most played have found their birthplace in the mobile world. One such game is Angry Birds, a game that has swept across the mobile gaming world with fun gameplay, level design and even music and sound effects that has captured the hearts of even the most hardcore gamer. You would be hard-pressed to find someone with an advanced mobile device that does not have this game on it.

The Breakdown

Angry Birds was published by Chilingo and developed by Rovio , a game maker out of Finland. The game in a nutshell is to fire different types of birds at pigs who surround themselves in various structures. It is almost a play on the three little pigs in that the pigs barricade themselves in structures made of wood, concrete, glass and other materials.

A group of pigs have stolen un-hatched eggs from the birds making them angry. The theft of the eggs begins a war between the birds and pigs. Each level has the pig’s setup in various positions with items such as wood planks, concrete beams, tnt and glass. Your task is to fire the birds via slingshot to take out all the pigs on the level. Sometimes the pigs are in the open and by hitting them directly with the bird takes them out. Other times the pigs are hidden beneath various objects and you need to either break through to hit them or cause the structure to collapse onto them. When you take out all of the pigs you advance to the next level.

Angry Birds bomb
Angry Birds bomb

Level Design

For the most part there is only one screen for each level of Angry Birds. What this means is you can view the entire playing field at once. However, to do this you have to zoom out in order to see the full screen, otherwise you begin from the left hand side with a view of the slingshot and the birds allotted to you for the specific stage.

The slingshot always stays the same, but the amount and type of birds you are given access to changes. The levels are made in a way that you can take out all the pigs without using all of your birds, but that takes planning, some skill and a bit of luck. Since the configuration of the structures the pigs surround or hide themselves in changes each level you need to know what type of bird to use and where to hit each part of the structure for maximum effect.

The Cast

Angry Birds is the war of birds versus pigs and there are different types of each. For the most part the pigs are the same as there are only a few size differences and what they might be wearing, but everything comes into play when deciding how to best take them out.

The Pigs

  • Small Pig – The small pig is your basic grunt, it is taken out pretty easily and does not get to wear any accessories. You can hit these directly for an instant kill or having almost anything fall on it will take it out, the same goes for it falling even a small distance.
  • Large Pig – The larger pig can take a bit of damage from a falling structure and is reflected by the appearance of black eyes.  However, a direct hit from any bird will take it out and a fall from most distances will kill it. The large pig can wear a helmet that gives it further protection from falling debris, but it does not really protect it from a direct hit from a bird or a fall.
  • Mustache and King Pigs – These pigs are pretty much like the large pigs except they may be a little more resistant to damage from a short fall or smaller debris.

The Birds

  • Red Bird – The red bird is your standard and starting bird, it is average against most structures, but is mainly for either knocking something over or a direct hit on a pig.
  • Blue Bird – The blue bird breaks into three small birds once you launch it and hit the button. These birds are great against glass.
  • Yellow Bird – The yellow bird has a speed burst if you hit the button after launch. These birds are great for wood.
  • White Bird – These drop one single bomb egg when you hit the button after launch. These birds themselves do little, but the egg bombs can destroy structures or take out pigs.
  • Black Bird – These overstuffed birds explode once launched and you hit the button or once they come in contact with any object they explode in a few seconds. These birds are pretty strong against anything, but they are really good against concrete.

Additional Birds

  • Boomerang Bird – Yes, it does what it sounds like it would do. This bird can curve once launched to come back and hit those hard to reach places.
  • Fat Bird – The fat version of the red bird, think wrecking ball.
Angry Birds bomb
Angry Birds bomb

The Strategy

When you start out each level you have a predetermined amount of birds and they will vary per level. So you may start out with three red birds, but there are six pigs to take out. You also get to use the birds in a specific order so you can’t pick the black bird first as an example. Keeping this in mind helps you plan for the best way to take out the pigs and the structures around them.

The slingshot is pretty simple. If you have ever used one as a kid the principle is the same. If not the idea is a rubber band around a curved tuning forked shaped stick. The more you pull back on the band the farther the object will fly. You can also adjust the band to fire the bird high or low and to create launching angles and bombing trajectories.

Sometimes the best way to think of each level is how much slash damage you can do. As an example, if you start with a black bird you might want to explode it in a place causing the most debris to fall that can not only fall on the pigs but cause the pigs themselves to fall over and die. However, you must know your enemy. If the pig has a helmet and you bury it under debris and it doesn’t die it can be very hard to get to it with the birds you have left.

Not only do you have to think about taking out the pigs, but there are hidden golden eggs and other things to hit and destroy. You earn points a number of ways.

  • Destroying structures
  • Killing pigs
  • Remaining birds

Sometimes causing a structure to collapse is the best move and other times you may want to cause a chain reaction as in the case of TNT. Sometimes there are boulders or other items that when you detonate the TNT can fly out and take out the structures or the pigs. Other times the pigs may build a structure you can weaken like a train out of glass or a boat of wood. If you take out its support structure you can win the day. The good thing is you can go back to any level once you complete it to earn a higher star rating, so you can go for the quick kill and then come back later to get fancy.

Platforms and Add-ons

Angry birds has five storylines with over 60 levels in each and that is before you add in the holiday add-ons for Halloween and Christmas. You can find Angry Birds on the Apple, Android, Palm and Maemo platforms.

Overall

Angry Birds is fun and addictive and can be frustrating so if you are the type of person prone to fits of anger then take a class before you play this game or you might end up destroying your phone. Personally the best thing about this game for me is seeing a chain reaction you did not expect. Sometimes I would be stumped on a level and then all the pieces would fall in place and I would win. I think that makes the game fun to play again even after you have beaten it.

If you have a phone that supports this game it is worth the price. It is a serious time killer and will make even a 14-hour ER wait bearable.

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.