Updated: Angry Birds Star Wars Review

Angry Birds Star Wars has just received a free update that unlocks the Hoth level pack, adds two bonus levels, and adds a Princess Leia bird to your arsenal. It’s a lot of great, free content, just as we’ve come to expect in the weeks following the launch of a new Angry Birds game. It’s enough of an added bonus that we’ve decided to up the game’s score to Must Have.

Hoth, for all you non-geeks, is the wintry planet where the rebels hide out at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back. That informs the level designs, so expect to find lots of ice in the structures the Imperial pigs are hiding in. The levels are often built on fluffy snow drifts that you can chip away at fairly easily, creating satisfying domino effects as the structures collapse. They’ve also incorporated new enemies found in the battle of Hoth, like hovering probes and four-legged AT-AT constructs.

The Leia bird has a tracking beam device in her hand, and when you tap the screen as she flies across the screen, she’ll use it to pull up any Imperial pigs and chunks of environment in its grasp. It’s a fun toy to play with, especially in the later Hoth levels that incorporate floating asteroids in outer space.

All in all, this is a lot of new content, and it adds a major challenge to anyone trying to get three stars on all the levels. The game is still composed of the same old Angry Birds gameplay, but with the loads of content and clever integration of the Star Wars universe, we’re upping our score to a 4. Just about anyone who buys this game will know what to expect, but that’s not a bad thing.

By this point, fans know what to expect from a new Angry Birds game. You’ll get a bunch of levels where you fling birds at flimsy structures to kill pigs. The presentation will be playful enough that you’ll forgive the physics engine when it doesn’t cooperate with your plans. Angry Birds Star Wars delivers exactly that, with a helping hand from everyone’s favorite space epic.

Smells like bacon.

In a very basic form, the game follows the story of Star Wars, taking you from the deserts of Tatooine, to outer space, the Death Star, and beyond. The game comes with 40 Tatooine levels, 40 Death Star levels, and 11 bonus levels. It also contains 40 Dagobah levels, but they’re locked behind a paywall. Rovio, the developer, promises a Hoth level pack will be available soon as a free update.

When you’re on a planet, traditional Angry Birds physics hold true, with gravity curving the trajectory of your flings. When in space, the levels act just like they do in Angry Birds Space, so unless you enter a gravity bubble, you’ll drift in a straight line.

An army of Obi-Wans.

Most of the main characters appear as you play through the levels, and they show up exactly where they should in the story line. For instance, you don’t get access to the Han Solo bird until you reach the Cantina on Tatooine. Each character also has a special ability that’s true to the movies. When your bird is airborne and you tap the screen, Obi-Wan uses the force, Han shoots his blaster, R2-D2 shocks nearby enemies, and Luke swings his lightsaber– but only after Obi-Wan gives it to him.

When you get in a pinch, instead of the Mighty Eagle, you earn a limited number of Millennium Falcons to rein death on hapless imperial swine. Star Wars music and sound effects also fill the game’s score, which is sure to bring a smile to all the fans.

Yo yo yo yo yo yo-dah.

But mostly this feels like an Angry Birds game, so if there’s something that bugs you about any of the other games, it’ll probably bug you here, too. For us, we could do without the drifting camera that insists on focusing on either the pigs or the birds, but not the happy medium in between. We’re also not thrilled to hear the constant squawks and snorts from the characters when you idle on a level. But those complaints are small potatoes compared to the fun we had playing the game.

Just as we expected, Angry Birds Star Wars is a delight. It takes lots of inspiration from the Star Wars universe and integrates it seamlessly into the Angry Birds template. It doesn’t revolutionize the Angry Birds series, but should certainly satisfy fans of either franchise, provided you’re not suffering from Angry Birds or Star Wars fatigue.

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