Sure birds are generally cute and harmless…but don’t make them angry. You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry. Angry Birds is a brilliantly absurd gaming experience. Who would have thought that combining cantankerous chickens, lime green pigs, and a giant slingshot could be so much fun? Rovio Mobile thought it sounded like a good idea, and they were right. The plot of game is simple. Evil green pigs have stolen eggs from the nest and these birds will do whatever is necessary to recover them. Using themselves as slingshot fodder, these birds will bombard the swine strongholds in search of their missing eggs.
The world of Angry Birds is colorful and cartoonish. Bright colors abound and the levels are full of great details. The characters are drawn and animated well making the game visually entertaining from the start. The birds come in five flavors and all have their own unique appearance giving players some variety. The pigs, while all inexplicably green in color, are adorned with an assortment of accessories to give them their own personalities as well. While the game is cute and cartoon-like, these birds are definitely angry and this is expressed on their faces. The birds and pigs will also exhibit signs of abuse as they battle one another. Black eyes are frequently displayed as well as other bumps and bruises. These are minor and are not likely anything that will deter parents from allowing their children to play this game.
Oddly Angry Birds does not employ background music during gameplay. The menu features a catchy theme and completing a level rewards players with a bit of music, but aside from that music is virtually non-existent in the game. The sound effects are ample and to be honest you will barely notice the absence of the background music. The audio is often humorous but does include some angry squawks and birdie battle cries. Parents need not worry however; I did not detect any fowl language (get it?) during the course of the game.
Angry Birds is chock full of extras. In addition to the 120+ levels of the game, there are several “Golden Eggs” that can be unlocked during gameplay. There are also several achievements to accomplish if the player so desires. Even replaying the same levels repeatedly is fun as the physics of the game allow for a virtually unlimited number of reactions to your attack making each play unique. Considering the number of levels, the low price tag, and all of the extras packed into this game, Angry Birds is a great value. A word of caution to players: the game is quite addicting. I found it difficult to put down after starting and it kept drawing me back in.
The gameplay of Angry Birds is very simple and very challenging. Stick your bird in the giant sling shot and let ‘er rip. Pulling the slingshot back on the iPod Touch is satisfying and simulates an actual sling shot pretty well. You have to control your aim and the strength with which you draw back the sling. The real challenge is finding the weak spots in the structures you must knock down to vanquish the villains and getting the trajectory right. If you’ve ever played Boom Blox on the Wii, this game is similar in spirit. The level design is very intelligent and it’s a blast to play through each one. The objects react somewhat realistically when struck, but there are some annoyances with the physics of the game. After firing a bird, the screen scrolls to the right so that you can witness the damage. This is fine, but the screen stays there until each and every object has quit moving completely. This is mildly annoying since even the tiniest movement will keep the screen from scrolling back to the left so that you can fire another bird. You can manually slide the screen back over to continue firing, but this extra step takes the player somewhat out of the experience. The sling can also be a bit on the sensitive side and is sometimes difficult to hold in place while aiming. This is all part of the challenge, but it would be nice if it were a tad more forgiving.
As far as family friendliness goes, this game is pretty safe for most
players. There is of course some mild cartoon violence and the birds
could use some anger management. I discovered no offensive content in
the game and found it to be an enjoyable game to review. I will caution
players again that this game does have the potential to become
addicting. If you keep the time you spend playing in check, you will get
a lot of enjoyment out of Angry Birds. This game may answer the age old
question of why the chicken crossed the road. Perhaps she was in hot
pursuit of these despicable green pigs.
Family Friendly Factor: 80%
System: iPhone/iPod Touch
Publisher: Rovio Mobile
Rating: '4+' for 4+
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