To be honest, I’m already getting burned out with Angry Birds.
Granted, I would still fire away the original game on a rest day and before long, I would have realized I have burned away hours into the game, painstakingly abusing the refresh button to unlock three stars in each level. But outside of the game, I wonder how far can Rovio stretch the game before the formula snaps. I am keeping the original and Seasons, but uninstalled Rio because I’m still working on the first two and wonder if I will ever finish them, considering that I have two more level sets in the original and is stuck in the 2011 levels for Seasons. I didn’t even bother checking out Space anymore, or even the spinoff game Bad Piggies. I don’t play it much on tablets, either. I found myself doing more Plants vs. Zombies instead.
So, when Angry Birds and Star Wars started posting the same contents in my news feed (I liked both their pages on FB), I had zero interest in the announcement of a crossover game merging the two universes.
I did install the game, eventually, but for a different reason.
I was browsing for apps in the Windows 8 store and tried installing some apps just for the sake of finding out the look and feel of downloading and running these so-called Metro apps. I included this title, mostly because it was one of the showcase apps in the store. I installed the trial version, sadly I had no means of purchasing the full version, which is priced at ₱220 (roughly $5.50). This means that I won’t have any access to some levels and I can’t be able to access the game’s XBox Live integration, however.
The game feels right at home with Windows 8 tabletization that puts emphasis on full-screen applications. There’s no exit button, so you close the game as you would any other apps: by dragging the upper portion of the screen down to the bottom. I do have a problem with the game’s control locations, which are located on the left or right side of the screen. There were a lot of instances that I accidentally bring out the charms bar or the left-hand swipe (which is used for switching between Metro apps) when I try to pause or reload the game and during gameplay.
Gameplay is typical Angry Birds. You still fling the birds using a sling shot and eliminate all piggies onscreen by destroying their bases. Your performance in each level is still graded through stars. However, in place of a large piggy, you’ll get laughed at by a Darth Vader Piggy instead when you failed a level, heh. Some levels can be unlocked after getting a certain number of stars.
The biggest difference between this and the other games is that, each bird (as well as the piggies) gets to act out the characters in Star Wars, giving them some brand new abilities and making the levels more challenging. The normally weak red bird has suddenly become powerful being cast as Luke Skywalker, gaining the ability to swing a light saber. The bomb bird became Obi Wan Kenobi, and he can throw objects using the Force. And the yellow bird became Han Solo, and he shoots lasers. Not to be outdone, the piggies had became storm troopers, and they’re much tougher to kill and some even wield laser guns to stop the birds. More characters will appear as the game progresses, and sadly I won’t be able to see them until I get the full game.
The result is a more action-oriented gameplay, minimizing the idle moments waiting for the piggies’ base to collapse (for instance, you can use a piggy laser to your advantage), emphasizing a heavy reliance for the dual-swipe controls and finally, less reliance for shot angle and strength. Surprisingly, the mechanics stick true to the rules in the Star Wars universe.
The game closely follows the plot in the original Star Wars movie, with the capture of Princess Leia (enacted by the pink bird) and the escape of R2D2 and C3PO to Tatooine (accurately rendered with its twin suns), where the action starts. Blocks are made of wood, glass or steel, which have their unique properties. After 25 levels, action shifts to outer space (which was humorously introduced by launching the Millennium Falcon through a slingshot) where you need to contend with gravitational fields directly taken right out of Space. Then the trial ends. Moving forward, I wonder how the space battles will be implemented, as well as the climactic Death Star battle. Boss battles, which were introduced in Rio IINM, will be expected and they’re going to be more epic.
There were bonus levels devoted to the droids’ escape, and I hated the levels because of their extreme difficulty.
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I pretty much exhausted the game in a week, leaving me wanting for more. The great thing about inserting the Star Wars license in this game is that it opens up new gameplays, leaving the slingshot as just an afterthought. Angry Birds Star Wars will go down at the end of 2012 as one of the best crossovers of the year.