Angry Birds Review—Enraging
*The version played for this review is the North American version.
Minis ports from the iPhone/iPod are generally great games. They wouldn’t be ported to the PSP if they had sold poorly in the iOS environment. Though it would be ignorant to conclude that a game were good simply because it sold well, it is more often than not true. And porting costs a lot of money, too.
Angry Birds is one of the most popular mobile games. This seems to be a first day purchase for those who have Apple products that support this game. Angry Birds appeals to almost everyone. It’s got the charm, the humor and the simplicity. But, all of those qualities are radically useless if you can’t stay in the game. For the PSP version, things become enraging when the framerates start to drop.
Angry Birds is a slingshot game. A brief summary of the story behind it: the pigs stole the birds’ eggs, so war ensues. You launch birds to destroy pigs garrisoned in intricate structures made out of concrete, wood, glass, etc. It’s really difficult to compare the different versions, since I didn’t have the chance to play Angry Birds on the iPhone. But, I have to assume that the touchscreen controls are excellent, based on the game’s immense following. The first thing people will ask of the Minis port: how do the controls fare? They are adequate but not the best.
The analog nub works “okay.” You manipulate the stretching of the launcher with it. Letting the nub go launches the bird, or you can press X as an alternative. However, I go full stretch most of the time. It gets pretty awkward to not stretch all the way, especially when things become so laggy.
The more birds, pigs and structures there are, the more lag there is. The first few levels have minor hiccups. But, later in the game, the lag is a game breaker. Aside from its choppiness, the game also features freezes and crashes. This infuriates me a lot since part of the game is about hitting the weak spot of the structures to leave them in shambles. Aside from skill, luck is needed. There is no chance to be lucky if you can’t aim right!
Content-wise, the levels are well conceived. There are five kinds of birds to launch, from the normal ones (which do absolutely nothing special) to birds that lay bombs. Each of them has a certain personality. The pigs also have their personalities. And how I love the way they smile if you run out of ammo birds.
In each level, you are given a certain number of birds to launch. The fewer your shots, the higher your score, as the game awards extra points for spare birds. The game then rates you with stars (out of 3) in each level you complete. You can always replay the level or actually reset it if you got screwed.
There are lots of levels, but I doubt you can finish them all in its current state. Some levels are difficult to complete; add in the framerate issues, and you won’t be seeing anything other than this game for a long while after purchase. I spent hours on this game due to technical defects, mostly. Some levels are just difficult to complete, and I do aim for 3-star ratings all the time.
The content of this game is vast. There are certain “golden eggs” AKA bonus levels when you achieve something like…ability to withstand its technical issues (joking). The gameplay is simple and enjoyable. The 2D graphics are excellent, and the music is not intrusive and blends well with the atmosphere. However, no game is worth anything if it’s broken. But, all hope is not lost; Rovio/Chillingo can always make us a patch.