Rovio

Lightsabers, blasters, and pigs: PAR plays Angry Birds Star Wars

Lightsabers, blasters, and pigs: PAR plays Angry Birds Star Wars

Fans and writers have been mocking Angry Birds Star Wars since the first images and teasers were released, and it does sound like a cynical cash-grab. You take one of the most popular games of this generation and mix it with one of the most exploited properties in the history of ever and you have… well, you actually have a very good game.

I’ve been playing Angry Birds Star Wars for the majority of my morning out of a sense of morbid curiosity, but it doesn’t take long for the mixture of the two worlds to click. The game mixes the visual style of the Star Wars films with the plump avian weaponry of Angry Birds, turning Storm Troopers into pigs and building recognizable Star Wars vehicles out of the crates and girders of the previous Angry Birds games. Even the music is done well, featuring recognizable themes and movements from the original score.

That’s all well and good, but Star Wars Angry Birds takes the weapons and abilities from the Star Wars films and places them in the game in ways that make sense. The Obi-Wan Kenobi bird can force-push objects as he flies past them, and the little Luke Skywalker bird gains a lightsaber that cuts through structures and pigs. Enemies are often armed with blasters and you’re forced to fly through their shots, forcing you to pay attention to timing as much as angle and force.

Things begin to get crazy when you realize that your lightsaber can deflect the blaster bolts, sending them careening across the level to wreck havoc on enemies and structures. The Han Solo bird has a blaster of his own. The use of these secondary powers is essential if you’re trying to collect as many stars as possible, and it’s worth your time to master levels instead of simply running through them; you use stars to unlock bonus missions staring R2D2 and C3PO birds.

Angry Birds Star Wars feels like a much more active game than previous Angry Birds titles, as the new powers and abilities give you many more choices as you play. Deflecting blaster bolts, aiming at support structures, or even bouncing your shots off tilted surfaces allow you to pull off some crazy maneuvers, and you’ll feel great every time you pull off a tricky in-game feat. This release mashes up all the best bits from past Angry Birds games, adds a layer of Star Wars, and the result is a game that’s better due to that mixture. Rovio isn’t laughing at, they’re laughing with you, and that makes all the difference.

There is already an extra set of missions to purchase separately, and you can buy a Millenium Falcon ability that rains death down on levels that have been giving you trouble, but microtransactions are under control. There will even be a free set of missions set on Hoth released soon, and if the past games are any indications add-on packs should be common. Star Wars offers a wealth of locations, characters, and abilities to plunder for future content, and if it’s all as good as this initial purchase I’m looking forward to buying whatever is released.

The game is available now for iOS devices, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone 8, PC and Mac.