Updated: Angry Birds Rio Review

Angry Birds Rio received its first content pack update this week, adding 30 new beach-themed levels to the mix. As with nearly every update to every Angry Birds game ever, the new levels don’t do much we haven’t seen before in the series, but if you’ve been following these ticked-off featherballs for this long, you’re well used to the formula.

Probably the most notable thing about the new levels is that in some of them you can use the blue bird duo you rescued in the first level pack in Rio. These guys are quite powerful, although most levels that allow them have strategically placed concrete blockades that halt them on the spot, and thus limit their usefulness.

Sure, we wish they’d make more use of these blue birds, or do more to shuffle up the birds that are available from game to game. But many Angry Birds fans just want more Angry Birds with each update, and that’s certainly what you get here.

If you’ve played the Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, it probably won’t come as a surprise that Angry Birds Rio isn’t out to reinvent the wheel. This movie tie-in offers the same bird-flinging destruction we’ve come to expect (and love), with just a few new elements added in for good measure. But don’t let that dampen your day, because Angry Birds Rio is as fun as ever.

One thing that sets this installment apart is that the bad guys aren’t pigs. At the outset of the game, smugglers capture the angry birds and whisk them away to Rio de Janeiro. Our avian friends can take care of themselves, though, so they escape from their cages before the game even begins. But when they see all the other birds the smugglers have stuffed in cages and stored in their warehouse, they decide to bust them out.

Why the caged bird sings.

The gameplay hasn’t changed, so in the warehouse levels you’re still slinging red, white, yellow, and blue birds at piles of materials, but this time the goal is to break open cages. Several warehouse-specific obstacles come into play, like chains and lights hanging from the ceiling, both of which can get in the way of your birds’ trajectories if you’re not careful.

When you beat the warehouse levels, you free two blue macaws, the main characters from the movie Rio. You also unlock the game’s second episode, which has you fending off mischievous monkeys as you try to escape through the jungle. Unfortunately, you don’t get to fling the new birds until the last level, which seems like a missed opportunity. On the plus side, the enemy monkeys are wonderfully expressive, which makes them even more fun to imperil. The final level is a cleverly-designed boss battle, which is very cool.

Shock the monkey.

Angry Birds Rio comes with 60 levels– each with hidden fruit, star ratings, and achievements– making it a more-than-worthy purchase on its own. But according to the episode-select screen, new level packs will be released in May, July, October, and November. We’re no fortune tellers, but we wouldn’t hold our breaths for updates to Angry Birds Seasons during that time.

It’s amazing to think of just how many hours of gaming we’ve gotten from the Angry Birds series, and that the total cost, if you’ve purchased all of the games, is only three bucks. If you’re a fan of the series, absolutely pick this one up. It’s just different enough from the others to make it distinct, and it’s also a ton of fun.

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