Angry Birds escape gravity

Spoiler alert! If you liked Angry Birds, buy it. If you haven’t played yet, start with this one. Five stars.


Angry Birds inspired more new genre games than any I can think of in a long time. I’m sure it borrowed heavily from a more obscure game that true game geeks can name before I finish this sentence. In fact they probably named it as soon as they read the word “inspired.” But the fact that only geeks can name it indicates why Angry Birds gets the credit.

Apple’s game of the week, Angry Birds Space HD, goes a step beyond the original and its many tropical vacation flavored sequels (which, I admit, I never loved the game enough to buy). The developers took their time, looked at other emerging games that extended the physics of their original, and then released a new challenge that exceeds all the competitors. I love it. I love it more than Angry Birds, in fact.

Outer space changes the physics of puzzles and trajectories. Particles move in a straight line in space with nothing to slow them down. If they enter atmosphere the trajectory immediately changes, as does the amount of resistance. The denser the atmosphere the more resistance. Add a planet’s rotation into the equation and you have an entirely different challenge.

Almost immediately Angry Birds Space HD throws astrophysical conundrums your way. This level requires you to deal with the gravity and atmosphere of two different planets to create a slingshot effect.

Okay, I haven’t had a chance to play much past the first stage, but the puzzles are far more challenging than many I’ve encountered in the later stages of other games. The challenges mix up and change far more quickly than in other games as well. You have little time to get used to one approach when the game throws a curve ball from top left center field (don’t forget, space is 3D). You may even have to shoot the birds backward.

Best of all, it was hard, but I didn’t have to use any space eagles to get through a level.

The graphics follow the established Angry Birds design, even with the birds’ new space suits, and the sound effects bring nothing new to the mix. But you have to keep some elements of the Brand in play. Too many changes and brand loyalty disappears.

In this level you have to break through the grid, burst the bubble and let gravity draw the pig to ground. The puzzles change direction almost every level.

In addition to the standard stages and levels, Angry Birds Space HD includes Easter Eggs that launch minigames and mastery levels at the end of each stage featuring a pig that fights back with fruit. And, unlike similar games, passing the first stage unlocks every stage. One small disappointment, however, is that the fourth stage is the mini game. Once unlocked, it doesn’t get any better than the version you played to unlock it. (It’s kind of like the level for the younger kids).

There is a small catch, but enough to knock this off the best buy list. Once you get to the third stage, “Danger Zone,” you can only play one sample level before you are told you have to purchase the rest of the stage for a dollar. I assume this will be true for any additional stages added later. In addition, you can’t just buy one special eagle to solve levels. You get three free eagles early in the game, and after that each eagle costs. You can buy eagles in packs, but the cost can add up if you’re impatient to move on.

Oh, and the eagle no longer takes out everything on the level. It’s just a more powerful version of the other birds. It can rip a hole in an otherwise impassible barrier but that’s it. So you could, theoretically, use up your eagles and still not finish a layer.

I can’t blame them, games this good cost money to upgrade. But sooner or later the price will cross the bargain threshold. It’s worth the price, but you can find games almost as entertaining for slightly less. The key word here is “almost,” but if you’re iTunes store bill is looking large, you can find them.

Jenny Manytoes rates Angry Birds Space HD

Jenny Manytoes would make biscuits all over Angry Birds Space HD. Of course, she tries to kill the birds and leaves the pigs alone, but cats don’t follow the same rules we do.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

 

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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 5 Stars - Biscuits, Entertainment, Games, Puzzle Games and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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