Angry Birds is arguably the biggest brand in gaming right now. Forget Call of Duty and its $60 price tag, Angry Birds is free and just about everyone in the world has played it at some point or another. The little cartoon birds have permeated everything from clothing to birthday parties making them a cultural touchstone. Their expansion into everything reminds me a lot of another famous brand, one that has stood the test of time for 35 years. And of course I am talking about Star Wars.
I suppose it was inevitable that Angry Birds and Star Wars would eventually come together in an unholy alliance creating the most evil of super conglomerates, after all Star Wars will tie its merchandising wagon to anything that moves. Angry Birds: Star Wars is now everywhere, and you can get shirts, toys, stuffed animals and just about everything else you can think of with little Angry Birds dressed as iconic Star Wars characters provided you have the money to dish out. That said, the cheapest merchandise of this whole endeavor is still the entry point, the game.
I am not going to lie; I do not understand the massive appeal of Angry Birds. I’ve played brief spats of the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Rio and while sling-shotting birds across a screen to knock structures over and kill ugly little pigs is mildly amusing, my interest wanes after a few levels. So despite loving Star Wars, the idea of a Star Wars themed Angry Birds game held about as much interest to me as throwing myself of a cliff. Still the character models were kind of cute…
Surprisingly though Angry Birds: Star Wars drew me in. The thing about Angry Birds: Star Wars is that it feels appropriate for the universe it is set in and the special powers the birds have been granted change up the simple gameplay in a way that is brain teasing and fun. Each level is designed to take advantage of the special powers of the birds but these special powers are Star Wars appropriate and it makes it amazingly more fun than standard Angry Birds.
Being able to have the Luke bird slash things with his lightsaber, or the Obi-Wan bird push things with the force is a blast. And the cutscenes every few levels that progress the story are charming and funny. It still gets a bit repetitive in spots and the physics is oftentimes hit or miss but much like the LEGO Star Wars games, Angry Birds: Star Wars is a great use of the license and it hits a special nerve that generates pure joy that reminds me why we play games in the first place. Because they are fun.
My son loves Angry Birds. He also loves Star Wars. At this point you can probably see where this is going. He loves Angry Birds: Star Wars.
Being already familiar with the Angry Birds gameplay he was able to jump right in and get to battling the evil Piggie Empire. Whereas I did not quite understand all of the power-ups, like Han’s Blaster shots or the limited use Millennium Falcon, at first go, he was able to figure them out no problem and understand how and when ty use them. He also had a better sense of how to manipulate the game to increase his score, granting him more stars, which in turn grant him more unlocks.
When asked what he liked the best he said the birds as Star Wars characters and the cool powers that they had. And while I found the repetitive nature of the game to be a downfall he would enter a weird trance-like state as he plowed through level after level. My wife and I would literally have to pry the iPad out of his hands to get him to stop. I suppose I finally understand what my parents went through when I started playing Mario so many years ago.
If Angry Birds did not already have a universal appeal, Angry Birds: Star Wars gives it that appeal. It is cute, charming, funny and most importantly easy and fun to pick up and play. Rovio has really hit the mark with this release. The mobile nature of the title allows those that get burned out quickly on the title’s gameplay loop, like me, to play for short bursts, while at the same time it can provide hours of entertainment for those that really enjoy it.
Note: This review was done using the iOS version of the game. It is also available on Android devices and PC.