Angry Birds Space HD
The Avian app phenomenon takes things to a whole new level
‘Bestselling mobile game of all time’ doesn’t seem enough of an accolade to place upon the original Angry Birds. ‘Phenomenon’ is more appropriate perhaps, thanks to a combined 500 million downloads. The life span of both Angry Birds and its spinoff Seasons is thanks in part to the continuous stream of new levels, keeping the games fresh and interesting. Thankfully Angry Birds Space brings enough new elements to the table to make it a genuine sequel and expansion to the familiar formula.
The core gameplay to Angry Birds Space remains the same as before. You have a selection of birds in a slingshot and your task is to fire them and destroy all the pigs. Each bird has its own unique power, and the pigs are often protected in some small way by obstacles and structures that you’ll have to bust through. What Space does is take the focus away from structural thinking and places it firmly in the field of momentum. This is a much purer physics game than the other Angry Birds outings have been.
The very first challenge pits you against a single pig on a pedestal, but instantly you can see something is different here. The pig is sitting on a moon and rather than simply judging your trajectory into the tower ahead, your bird is being pulled down with increasing intensity by the mass below. The game begins to throw in even more gravitational forces, and in more peculiar places, forcing you to think on your feet to find a path through the maze. The resultant trick shots make us wish there was a replay function and a way of saving our best attacks.
Angry Birds is no longer a case of what goes up, must come down. It could keep going up, or go sideways, or more than likely just go round and round. At its best, Angry Birds Space turns you into a quick-fire astrophysicist, predicting the trajectory of various bodies in space, estimating the chances of a collision. While throwing birds through the air with a slingshot never lacked any thrills, being able to throw them into a meandering path of push and pull, orbiting around asteroids until they finally hit their target is something else entirely.
Beyond the new physics elements there are also changes to the game structure. The most notable addition is that hidden Golden Eggs now warp you immediately to a bonus stage inspired by classics from gaming’s past such as Space Invaders and Super Mario Bros. With an in-app purchase on the iOS versions, you can also try your hand at the Danger Zone planet – a series of extra-hard levels to test expert players. And then there are the new birds…
Those that have been added or tweaked have in turn brought new gameplay possibilities to the table. For instance the Bullet bird (now purple rather than yellow) will shoot off in the direction you tap with your finger, making it easy to pinpoint your target. Elsewhere the entirely new Ice bird turns everything it explodes against into ice, making for easy pickings if you have some of those small, blue, cluster birds in your arsenal. These small new elements, mixed with the bigger changes to the way your birds move through the air create combinations and potential for new levels that far exceeds what the previous games could have dreamed of.
So, while there remains something pleasantly familiar about this new chapter in the epic saga that is Angry Birds, their journey into the stars has created an entirely new beast. This is more than the expansions of the past and for that we’re grateful. It’s already teasing more stages to come, but with the 60 here and the bonus levels to discover you’re getting plenty for your money. It’s safe to say that Rovio has struck gold yet again.
The mayhem of the original is taken into the cosmos. Brilliant.
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