When a game gains like Angry Birds becomes an international phenomenon, it can be hard to keep the core product from going stale. Sequels tend to be pale imitations of the original and if the game maker is not careful fans may gradually lose interest. Rovio, has been able to conquer this problem and remain at the top of the charts with each successive release of Angry Birds (except for, maybe, Amazing Alex). The newest Angry Birds Star Wars is another feather in Rovio’s cap.
The result of Rovio’s partnership with LucasArts is a winner, a combination of the familiar catapulted birds mixed with the lore of a galaxy far, far away. If you like Angry Birds and you like Star Wars, you are going to love Angry Birds Star Wars.
The game starts at the beginning of Episode IV: A New Hope with the familiar Red Bird as Luke Skywalker. Red Bird cannot do much at first, he is just the same bludgeoning bird that every Angry Birds game starts with, except for a tuft of wispy blonde hair that would make Mark Hamill proud. We are soon introduced to Black Bird, the bomber of old, who has traded in explosions for the Force in his role as Obi-Wan. After several levels fighting bad piggy Tuskan Raiders, Red Bird learns to use a Lightsaber.
Yup, you can now use a Lightsaber and the Force in Angry Birds.
It gets better. Yellow Bird is introduced soon enough … as Han Solo, complete with blaster. Then comes the kicker. After achieving a certain number of stars, you unlock the Millenium Falcon.
That’s right. The Millenium freaking Falcon.
The Falcon is an not your ordinary bird though. It is an egg, and you only get five of them to start. When you unleash the egg, you target a certain spot and tap the screen. The Falcon then appears, blasting everything and anything in its path. It’s an awesome trump card to bulldoze your way through even the most difficult levels.
Rovio has made a few interesting choices with the game play of Angry Birds Star Wars. Most of the previous versions of Angry Birds started slow with easy beginning levels so you can get a handle of flinging your avian heroes at the suidaeus evilus. This time around, Rovio figures, if you are plunking down $2.99 to buy yet another Angry Birds game, you are probably already familiar with how to play it.
You battle from the desert planet of Tatooine with the usual mazes of bricks, ice and metal as your obstacles. But a Stars Wars themed game would not be complete without a venture into space. At later levels, the game transitions to the gravitational physics that Rovio introduced in Angry Birds Space. Between the new capabilities of your birds and the increased difficulty and varying environments, Angry Birds Star Wars provides enough new material that even experts are going to have to remaster their fowl-flinging skills.
And that is Rovio’s particular genius. In a world where apps are popular for a month then fade to oblivion (does anyone still play Draw Something?), it has managed to create a franchise where each successive iteration is as new and challenging as the previous one. Instead of just slapping a new skin on an old game, Angry Birds Star Wars introduces new game play in fun and challenging environments.
The best part? All that is served up with all the geeky goodness that is Star Wars. What’s not to like?