The hotly anticipated, intergalactic sequel to the world’s most popular game app has arrived! For those dwindling few who have yet to be initiated into the global phenomenon that is Angry Birds, the concept is simple; the player wields a variety of specially talented birds against a horde of egg-stealing pigs. By use of a catapult and some expert timing the player advances through levels by knocking the pigs from their increasingly intricate strongholds. Some levels require the skills of specially talented birds while others can be barreled through with brute force but as the true Angry Birds fan can tell you the ultimate goal is to get a score of three stars on each and every level.
Angry Birds Space follows the same addictive pattern but with many new twists. The first difference a player will notice is that you are no longer tied to the flat surface of a single planet. For science geeks this is where the fun comes in. Not only do you need to accurately calculate the angle and strength of your catapult throw you have planets with varying gravities to think about. Instead of the old proverb of ‘what goes up must come down’ players now have to consider that what goes up might end up looping around an asteroid and orbiting a planet a few times before plowing into some deserving space piggies. Though this may sound complicated the gameplay is easy to get a handle on and within a few flings you’ll be plotting orbits and trajectories in a way that would make NASA proud. (Guess that’s why the first promotional footage of the game was presented by Astronaut Don Petitt while he floated around the International Space Station.)
Your birds have some new tricks as well. The yellow bird (Mach-ing Bird to his friends) is now purple and shoots like a laser at whatever point you tap on the screen. The bomb bird is not only destructive but concussive as well, a handy tool for knocking asteroid fields into pig space stations. There’s even a new addition, Ice Bird, who turns all the pig construction material he collides with into easily shattered ice. Last but not least players are granted a number of chances to use the fail-safe Space Eagle who emerges from a wormhole to destroy every pig he touches.
Much like previous Angry Birds games Angry Birds Space slowly increases in difficulty while walking players through new features and challenges in a way that makes the game easy to grasp and enjoy. Gameplay follows through three episodes with a total of 70 levels included in the game’s initial release. The game also features six hidden “eggsteroids”, which lead you through wormholes into short, fun side levels; each designed as a tribute to classic arcade games such as Space Invaders and Super Mario Bros. If all this weren’t enough, dedicated players purchase access to the ‘Danger Zone’ an additional 30 formidable brain-teaser levels deemed too difficult for the average player.
It’s not just the gameplay that’s changed, the spacey sound effects and animated deep space backgrounds bring more depth and artistry to the screen than in any of the previous Angry Birds titles. A lot of creative planning and crafty programming went into this release and it shows.
All in all Angry Birds Space is as addicting, if not more, as the original. The added twists and turns inherent in the space setting mean that there are numerous ways to approach each challenge and allow for more creativity on the part of the player. After playing this demanding yet stimulating game for days on end it is easy to imagine future generations of astronauts looking back at this app as their first inspiration to explore the physics of space!
All these phancy physics and purty pickturs do come at a cost. Your device has to do a lot of number crunching and video rendering which eventually translates into a little bit of heat and a lot of battery use. Nothing to panic over, but don’t expect to get a full day’s worth of bird flinging out of a single charge.