How many ways can you launch an Angry Bird? The number seems to be in the thousands with different variations, and now there’s a brand new one in the form of Angry Birds Star Wars II. The first Angry Birds Star Wars covered the original films, episodes IV – VI, while number two focuses on the newer films, episodes I – III. That means Angry Birds Star Wars II doesn’t have the best source material to draw from as you set battle on Naboo & Tatooine with bird versions of Qui-Gon Jinn, Young Obi-Wan, Young Anakin, Yoda, Jar Jar Binks, Queen Amidala, Mace Windu, and more. There are 40 levels to play as the Light Side, and for the first time you get to play as “The Pork Side”. There are 40 more levels on the flip side letting you play as the pigs launching at the birds, and the pig characters cover Star Wars villains including Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, General Grievous, and more.
All told, there are over 80 levels, and more than 30 playable characters as you get to battle on both the Light side and Pork side. The game is definitely feature rich at launch, and that includes a bonus level pack for each character which revolves around Angry Birds Space planetary gravity mechanics. There’s also a a Telepods feature which lets you scan in physical toys available at retail stores to use in game. Cutting through all of the extras, there’ still the same tried and true Angry Birds formula as you simply pull back on the slingshot to launch your characters into a structure to try to destroy the enemies. The same style has now been seen in hundreds of levels each across Angry Birds, Seasons, Rio,Space, or Star Wars., and now Star Wars II. The title of it is just as unimaginative as the game, and it seems Angry Birds has far exceeded the over saturation point, and that dead horse has been beaten enough.
If you just haven’t had enough Angry Birds there are some valuable additions with a bunch of new powers added to the various characters. Many are based on the nuances of the original Angry Birds Star Wars including light saber slash and force push, but there are some new twists. Darth Maul has a dual light saber, Mace Window can toss his light saber, Yoda has a bouncing light saber attack, while Emperor Palpatine has a lightning strike, young Anakin can use his pod-racer, and Jar Jar Binks has a swinging tongue attack. Every five levels introduces a new character, and unique mechanic to keep things relatively fresh. Another addition is the ability to finally change the power of your shot while dragging the slingshot, so you don’t only adjust aim. Granted, there’s an indicator on screen at all times, making it excessively easy. Even with the subtly different attacks are there more for show than anything else as the level set-ups are just so familiar, especially if you have played any of the other Angry Birds games extensively. It seems the Rovio team is just out of ideas, and instead has focused on branding above all else.
One of the oddities in Angry Birds Star Wars II is that the physics seem to have regressed. It’s one of the key components of the game, since it’s still the same physics puzzle, but nothing reacts as it does in the first few games in the series. The wood, ice, and stone blocks all seem stickier whether it’s collapsing stacks, or complete destruction. It makes each level much more tedious to require very specific placement, and timing with much less potential for collapses, and collisions of blocks. Through all of the new features, there are still in-app purchases set-up like the power-ups in the original Angry Birds. You can swap out characters, but the extra characters are good for one time use, and are consumable. You can earn them based on achievements in the game, which is nice, but there’s also an emphasis on purchasing these single use special birds. One good thing Rovio finally added is making the game a universal app for all iOS devices, rather than a separate HD iPad version.
Angry Birds Star Wars II ($0.99, Universal) is more of the same with a new coat of paint, worse physics engine, and just repetitive gameplay at this point. It’s worth considering depending on if you just haven’t had enough Angry Birds. It’s a well made game taken by itself, but it’s far too similar to the five other games to recommend.