Mobile Game of the Week: Angry Birds Star Wars (Android/iOS)

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Mobile Game of the Week: Angry Birds Star Wars (Android/iOS)

Angry Birds Star Wars
Platform: Android / iOS
Developers: Rovio
Release Date: 11/08/2012
Price: $0.99

For Star Wars fans, the past couple of weeks have been something of an emotional roller-coaster. First the news that Disney was purchasing the entirety of George Lucas’ media empire sent the Internet into a frenzy. But if that wasn’t enough to get people talking, it was quickly trumped by the announcement of a new Star Wars trilogy with its first installment set for 2015.

Anxiety, apprehension, frustration, and blind hope filled the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere. And then there was Angry Birds Star Wars—a seemingly gimmicky piece of brand licensing that Star Wars fans are more than used to enduring by now. But does this inconsequential iOS game provide a small glimpse into the future of the most successful science fiction franchise of all time?

Before I dive into what makes Angry Birds Star Wars the best title in Rovio’s best-selling franchise, let’s just cut to the chase: Angry Birds Star Wars is still your typical Angry Birds game. You still primarily just fling birds into collapsible towers and snorting green pigs. It still relies on guess-and-check game mechanics that reward persistence over critical thinking. Ultimately, if you never liked the Angry Birds formula, this iteration probably won’t convert you. But if the idea of an Angry Birds game set in the Star Wars universe doesn’t make you want to vomit, you’ll find one of the most polished and lighthearted casual games in the App Store today.

angry birds star wars screen.jpg

The first good decision Rovio made with Angry Birds Star Wars was bringing players back to a setting that automatically conjures warm fuzzy feelings. Revisiting scenes that are loosely based on the original trilogy feels great and long overdue—even if that involves pigs in Stormtrooper costumes and characters named “Chuck Ham Solo” and “Terebacca”. That’s right—the familiar cast of violent fowl have been traded out with the whole gang from Episode IV. It turns out flinging birds at teetering platforms is a lot more satisfying with Lightsabers, blasters, and force pushes at your disposal.

As for the core of the game, Angry Birds Star Wars takes the best of classic Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space. It’s the level design here that makes Rovio’s undeniably well-refined product—balanced, varied, and all-around delightful to play through. One star is easy enough to figure out for casual gamers, but achieving three stars still feels like a true accomplishment. As always, Angry Birds Star Wars is the video game equivalent of going on vacation—even if for just minutes at a time.

Again, Rovio isn’t do anything new here. However, with locales like Tatooine and the Death Star for levels, it’s hard not to look past Angry Birds Star Wars’ lack of innovation. Just sit back and bask in the glory of a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is actively being faithful to the sentiments of the Star Wars universe it draws from. I’m not setting my expectations too high for Star Wars Episode VII, but here’s to hoping the series learns a thing or two from Angry Birds.