What do these birds have to be angry at? Well, for one thing, the Pig-Empire has taken over and threatens to snuff them out! They're rebelling the best way they know how, in the newest entry in the insanely successful Angry Birds franchise from Rovio Entertainment.
Following the release of the original Angry Birds in 2009, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space and most recently Bad Piggies, Angry Birds Star Wars takes the best elements from the previous game titles, mixes in the elements of the original Star Wars trilogy, and produces a fun and exciting new game that is sure to appeal to fans of both series!
This review will look at the iPad HD version of the game, but the title is also available on the iPhone and other iOS devices, Android, the Kindle Fire, Mac OS, Windows, and the Windows Phone.
For gamers that are already familiar with the progression of the game, this one follows suit. For those unfamiliar with the Angry Birds games - play is divided up into multiple levels within a series of episodes. Some episodes and all levels are locked at the start of the game, as you must progress thru the "storyline" by completing each level before moving on to the next. Peppered in between every few levels is a small cut scene that advances the storyline, which in this case is Star Wars: A New Hope. Check out this cinematic trailer for the style of the cutscenes.
The functions of the birds is similar to previous editions, but have been altered slightly for the Star Wars crossover. The cast of characters that you can play is as follows:
Red Bird as Luke Skywalker - Red Bird is the original Angry Bird. He has no extra power, letting the smashing ability speak for itself. In this release, Luke starts out as the traditional red bird, just smashing into objects, but then upgrades to having a lightsaber part way through the first episode. Tapping the screen a second time deploys the lightsaber to cut through objects, or deflect laser bolts. Bomb Bird as Obi-Wan Kenobi - Bomb Bird normally explodes upon impact, with the Star Wars flare, Obi-Wan uses the Force to blast objects into the air, or knock down structures from afar. Yellow Bird as Han Solo - Normally Yellow Bird arcs up towards his target and when tapped again, launches into a terrifically fast nosedive toward the enemy. Han is not so cavalier, but instead fires his blaster at the object clicked on as he sails overhead. This is probably the coolest character upgrade seen so far! Big Brother Bird as Chewbacca - As the Big Brother for Red Bird, this character is just a larger version with more destruction. What better Star Wars character than Chewbacca to emulate for this release? Blue Bird as Wedge Antilles - The Blue Bird launches like any other bird, but when tapped again, splits into three smaller birds that provide multiple attacks on the targets. Wedge, complete with fighter helmet takes on the role, and attacks like a squadron of X-wing fighters when deployed! Eggs as Artoo and Threepio - These are new characters to the franchise as they have no single analog in the other releases. Artoo features an electric shock feature, while Threepio explodes into pieces, that fall on the various structures and pigs alike.
The Mighty Eagle, which is a secondary gameplay function in the original games, allows the player to wipe out as much of the structures as possible in one swoop. The goal is to get 100% destruction for the level, as well as earning the three-stars for normal play. In this version, the Eagle is actually the Millennium Falcon (clever, right?) which will fly in and blast everything in sight. Falcons are earned five at a time for gathering different amounts of stars, or can be purchased in bulk using the in-app purchase feature.
Finally, from videos on Rovio's website it also appears that Pink Bird will be playing Princess Leia in the Hoth episode, using a grappling hook effect rather than the normal floating bubbles she has in other releases.
The first episode is Tatooine and features 40 levels. The object of each level is to launch your birds, via slingshot, towards structures that contain their dreaded enemies, the piggies! If you can defat all the pigs, the level is complete, and depending on the score, and amount of destruction caused, you will earn between one and three stars. There's nothing that says you have to complete each level with three stars, but the more stars you get, the more bonuses you'll receive and may potentially unlock other features!
The Tatooine level is split between ground based adventures, as Luke-bird meets up with O-Bird-Wan, and eventually make their way to the cantina to meet Han-Bird. The action then moves into outer space as the group travels towards Alderaan.
After completing this episode, the Death Star episode is unlocked, and all play then takes place within the technological terror, run by Darth Pig! Before we continue, let me say -- there is a garbage masher level and it really crushes stuff! This episode unlocks the Chewbacca-bird and introduces a more powerful O-Bird-Wan character. As the heroes complete their escape from the Death Star, there are again space-bound levels that feature Wedge-bird as he battles to defeat the TIE-pigs and destroy the battle station!
The next chapter in the saga, Hoth, is currently locked and will be "available soon," but you do have the chance to play (for free) the first level of the Path of the Jedi episode, which takes place on Dagobah. Unfortunately to continue this episode, you will need to complete an in-app purchase to unlock those levels.
What you get: The cost of the HD Version for iPad is $2.99 (compared to $.99 for the iPod Touch or iPhone). You get access to Tatooine (40 levels), Death Star (40 levels), Hoth (forthcoming), Path of the Jedi (1 sample level on Dagobah), plus the bonus levels from gathering hidden 'golden eggs' through out normal play (there are 11 of these so far.)
Unlocking the Dagobah episode will run another $1.99, plus purchasing Mighty Falcons can run between $1.99 for 20 or $19.99 for a whopping 200!
You are also guaranteed hours of fun!
POSITIVES Hey, it's Star Wars! And Angry Birds! What more do you want? The game combines the best elements of gameplay from the previous versions (ground based and space related), plus introduces new powers and abilities for the characters which necessitates new strategies for defeating the pigs. The 91 levels that come in the base version are easy enough to complete with at least one-star, but challenging enough to make getting three-stars take some time.
NEGATIVES Let's face it, paying $3 for a game, to then realize you have to spend another $2 to get another level is pretty lame. But, this is the new business model in mobile gaming-cheap entry, addiction, and micro-payments to continue. It would also be nice to have the ability to have a universal version of the app for iOS devices. Many developers produce one version for both iPhone/iPod and the larger iPad. Rovio, however makes two completely different versions.
EXTRAS For the collectors out there, purchasing any of the Hasbro produced Angry Birds Jenga games or toys, there should be a special code in the package that will unlock content in the game. What is the content? At this time it's unknown, but it could be access to other playable characters, levels or bonus Falcons! We'll update this article with more data as we find out.