The Angry Birds Star Wars mash-up sounds like a ridiculous premise, and another cash grab by both entities. Once you get into the game though, you realize there’s a surprising amount to like. The base Angry Birds elements are there with the smooth slingshot controls, pig structures to demolish, and highly polished design. The Star Wars variation enhances the basics to truly make it feel brand new all because of the special abilities. The birds are all connected to Star Wars characters so the red bird is Luke Skywalker, black bird is Obi Wan-Kenobi, yellow bird is Han Solo, big red bird is Chewbacca, and pink bird is Princess Leia with the pigs filling in as Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and other Empire entities.
You also get to play on Tatooine and the Death Star with Hoth levels coming soon, and Dagobah as an unlockable in-app purchase. All of the design though is just background to the new Star Wars enabled special abilities allowing you to wield lightsabers, blasters, and The Force. It’s a brand new Angry Birds experience as you tap the screen to swipe or blast through a wall before your bird knocks through it to increase the damage exponentially. The force power is massive, and all of them introduce brand new techniques to solve the many physics puzzles. There are brand new aiming requirements to get three stars on the levels as the direct attack is no longer the main force, and instead you can use the pig structures against them.
The force push can send blocks into other structures to cause more havoc, the blaster and lightsaber can knock down a wall to collapse into another, and many other variations along those lines. There are 80 levels included at launch, which is relatively little compared to other Angry Birds games, but like those there will be plenty of updates. The levels offer elements of the original as well as Angry Birds Space as you follow the storyline of the first movie, which is what is included at launch. Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are in the update plans, and the 40 Dagobah challenge levels are unlocked through a one time in-app purchase to face difficult levels with Master Yoda.
The Star Wars theme fits the idea of Angry Birds very well, as they both focus on the basic battle of good vs. evil, though I don’t know how one of the pigs will turn out to be the red bird’s father. The game also includes the Mighty Falcon which is like the Mighty Eagle, but Millennium Falcon destruction. Fans of Angry Birds or Star Wars will rejoice at the pairing, and fans of both will be in heaven. Angry Birds has definitely reached over saturation level, but the Star Wars version really freshens up the entire brand. Once you start the first level, it’s so easy to just keep playing with the anticipation of what can come next in each level.
Angry Birds Star Wars ($0.99, iPhone / $2.99, iPad) is an outstanding addition to the franchise that is easily the best yet, and a should buy. The new Star Wars abilities are quite literally game changers.
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