Since its initial release on Apple's iOS platform in December 2009, the Angry Birds
franchise has taken the world by storm. The popularity of the franchise has spawned spinoffs and sequels, which have resulted in blending the charming mobile title with one of the most popular intellectual properties in the world. This lovechild brings us Angry Birds Star Wars
, which recently made its debut on home consoles. Does the title translate well to the big screen? We sling through the game to find out.
The original Angry Birds
was adorable, charming, and humorous. The gameplay was incredibly addicting as well, with clever stage designs that were accessible while also providing a challenge. Angry Birds Star Wars
continues this tradition with funny characters, a variety of abilities at your disposal, and a challenging and variable level design. The crossover title succeeds in both remaining true to the series' physics-based puzzle action while injecting some new life with Star Wars
themed worlds, characters, and abilities.
Like previous entries in the series, the game eases you into things quite well by introducing new characters and abilities gradually. This also serves as a way of holding your interest throughout the massive amount of levels that are at your disposal. The Luke Skywalker bird, for example, uses his lightsaber to slash through environments. Han Solo uses his blaster, while Chewbacca draws strength from his size. Later on in the game, you unlock more bird types, as well as additional or upgraded abilities.Star Wars
fans will appreciate the light humor in the game, but there's fun to be had even if you aren't all that in to Star Wars
either. The level designs feature settings from across the original Star Wars
trilogy, often with their own Angry Bird
themes and accents. While the game itself is a bit satirical, it's a little disappointing that Rovio didn't go further with elements relating to story and cutscenes. Unlike the LEGO Star Wars
series, where we get many humorous cinematic moments, Angry Birds Star Wars
opts for an occasional set of frames to loosely tell a story. Given the source material of the crossover, it seems like a missed opportunity.
The console version of the game features all of the levels that were released for Angry Birds Star Wars
as well as an exclusive set of levels made just for consoles. These additional levels were a nice touch and attempt to deliver some value to the console package. You'll visit different locales featured in the movie, such as Tatooine, Hoth, and Cloud City. These levels often offer their own unique environmental features. Then there are levels that are reminiscent of Angry Birds Space
which offers a mix of weightlessness and objects with their own gravitational pulls. Overall the game has a great Star Wars
feel to it through its use of characters and worlds.
Gameplay is simple and easy to grasp, but there's a good bit of strategy involved in order to master a level. Sometimes you might nail a three-star rating on your first try, while others might have you trying many different shots before finally getting it right. The physics of the game can be unpredictable sometimes, which makes for interesting gameplay. Tweaking your shot just a little bit could cause a chain reaction of destruction and explosions versus throwing out a dud. There's something that's just so satisfying about causing so much mayhem, and it's quite the feeling when you get that perfect shot.
For a console game, the presentation seems to be a little on the dull side. The menus don't seem like they've received much of an overhaul, although they are at least functional. Playing through a stage can be kind of quiet in-between shots, since there isn't much going on in the musical department here. Again, given the source material, a Star Wars
soundtrack would have gone well while destroying structures and popping pigs. You do hear some tunes in various parts, and the sound effects are spot on.
A feature exclusive to the console version is two multiplayer modes where you can either compete or cooperate in order to take down the pig empire. The competitive mode essentially has you taking turns to earn high scores while co-op essentially has you taking turns. These multiplayer modes aren't anything to get excited over, though they may have a place for an adult and child playing together. The game does have a natural "oh, let me try that!" mentality so this might make some good family game time whether you're technically playing multiplayer or not.
The other exclusive feature is the Kinect functionality. This holds similar value to the multiplayer, as it's just merely "there", but doesn't add much to the equation. This could be something younger gamers take interest in, but most people will want precise shots versus the immersion of the motion controls.
The achievements don't appear to be quite the grindfest that Angry Birds Trilogy
was, but if you're out for a completion you're going to have to be focused on this for quite a while. A great deal of your time will be spent obtaining three stars over hundreds of levels, as well as a few high score goals, which you may get stuck on for a while. Other achievements can be earned through natural gameplay or completion. The game provides some easy points on the front end with a few challenging and grindy achievements that will see most gamers failing to complete it on the back end.
Despite an excellent concept and the amount of content, you have to question the value of the console version versus the same game already available for way
less on mobile platforms or PC. Maybe we've been spoiled; the game brings hours of entertainment on mobile phones at an extremely low entry point. On Windows Phone this same game costs $0.99 while the MSRP of the console version is $39.99. The handful of additional levels and straightforward multiplayer don't add a whole lot.
The console release also comes after a sequel, Angry Birds Star Wars II
, has already been released on Windows Phone and a variety of other platforms. There's already a lot of stages in Angry Birds Star Wars
, but perhaps chucking in the game's sequel would have upped the ante in terms of value.
It's debatable whether price should affect the outcome of a game's score, but ultimately, given the incredible leap in price on consoles with only a few minor additions, it's impossible to ignore in this situation. Angry Birds Star Wars
is a great concept with spectacular game mechanics, but a console release just doesn't seem to be the best fit for it. Perhaps if you can find this at a sizable discount it could be worth it, but until then the mobile and PC alternatives will suit just fine.
The Xbox 360 version of the game was primarily played for this review, netting the reviewer 28 of the 50 achievements for the game. The PS3 version that was supplied by the publisher also received playtime. The reviewer also has previous experience with the title on iOS.