Rovio gets all Dr Brian Cox with its latest avian episode, Angry Birds Space. But does it shoot for the moon, or is this comet getting a bit long in the tail?
It’s become fashionable to think Angry Birds is passé. If you were early to the catapulting party (the original game launched in 2009), you’re probably nodding in agreement. You’ve paid your dues, firing an assortment of feathered friends from catapults in the quest to achieve three stars on every level, collect every golden egg and keep up with developer Rovio’s continued gifts of fresh level packs.
We’ve seen Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio emerge to sate the appetites of the app hardcore. Now the irate avians have gone extra terrestrial with Angry Birds Space. But can the world’s favourite app game keep delivering in zero gravity?
The gameplay hasn’t changed. You still fire birds out of catapults at smug green pigs. The twin objectives of green pig armageddon and environmental destruction remain intact. And yet Angry Birds Space has changed the playing field dramatically.
Gone are the intuitive physics of natural gravity. Instead your birds will disappear into the depths of space if left unchecked by the local gravitational forces of different planets. You can throw a bird around the back of a planet using a slingshot effect and (depending on the gravitational forces of the object planet) it’s perfectly feasible to make a couple of orbits to maximise destruction.
There’s also the opportunity to set debris in motion to make your kills – another smart addition to the destructive toolbox at your disposal – and some new (mainly modified) birds, including a get-out-of-jail Space Eagle you earn without having to drop extra cash in the App Store. Oh, and there are worm holes that port you – golden egg-style – to bonus levels.
It’s no reinvention of the game, but there are enough new tricks in Angry Brids Space to make it a worthwhile addition to your app library. It’s a testament to Rovio’s development team that it can add more than a fresh lick of paint to its winning formula, even if it still can’t resist a bad pun. We’ll give them ‘pig bang’ but ‘eggsteroids’ is enough to make you sick in your space helmet. Thankfully, Angry Brids Space is good enough to get them off the hook.