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Angry Birds iPhone Review

19/05/2010 Specialist Touch Gamer Review
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Angry Birds iPhone

Angry Birds



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Angry Birds is 59p on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and has sat at the top of the top 100 apps for weeks, with good reason. Charming design and a fantastic understanding of the iPhone's unique features created this success for developer Rovio.

It offers tactically perfect bite-sized gameplay that is all too easy to find hours consumed with its physics based puzzling. There's always just one more go.

Despite the endless stream of iPhone games that flood the app store it remains all too clear that the majority of developers struggle to grasp the platform's strengths. It's at its best filling those brief commutes, TV commercial breaks and, yes, trips to the bathroom.

Angry Birds exploits some of my most child-like pleasures. Presented in a two-dimensional environment the goal is to destroy green pigs that inhabit the landscape. But it is in reaching the pigs, which hide beneath ramshackle block constructs, that the game comes alive.

There is a singular joy in smashing things and scattering blocks. Perhaps it's thanks to memories of destructive phases of childhood development youth or maybe it's just fun. Whatever the reason, Angry Birds has hours of it on offer.

To destroy the pig's sanctuaries you catapult birds toward their rickety structures. More precise strikes lead to more satisfying destruction, and higher scores, but ill placed attacks resulted in depleting your supply of birds.

Physics plays an important role in success; unbalancing a tower in the right place can lead to spectacular collapses that can cut a swathe through entire stages. A variety of different birds, each with their own abilities, are porovided to help with the destruction. Smaller birds are good for shattering glass, faster more angular birds shattered wood, and birds with explosive skills allowed me to rock even the most robust towers.

To master every level requires finesse - and a little luck.

To master every level requires finesse - and a little luck. Plotting the first trajectory of a bird is easy, a poor launch easily erased with a retry. But if that dirt launch is successful the pressure soon steps up. Suddenly the next attack becomes a move of importance, not wanting to waste the achievements of the first.

I pull back my second bird an release it, within a fraction of a second I realize the volley will not reach it's intended goal. But it's surprisingly successful. Shattering a glass support that supported one of the larger rock blocks. The structure crumples in on itself taking with it the majority of the pigs. Just one remains, hidden wooden blocks. Next up in my rotation of birds hops in to the catapult; it is a triangular yellow bird, designed to disintegrate wood.

Soon after I have to have an embracing conversation with my girlfriend about why I was cheering in the toilet.

Now the only difficulty is reaching my mark. I can feel my palm slick with sweat on the back of the iPhone as I drag my thumb across the screen. A slight quickening of my heart and I realise that I am holding my breath. I release the bird. Its angle is shallow, but that's okay, this is fast bird, another tap of the screen sees him leave his elegant arch and screech forward in a straight line. I watch the score tally up, and wait hoping the full three star rating will appear. It does.

Soon after I have to have an embracing conversation with my girlfriend about why I was cheering in the toilet.

Angry Birds does it right - simple, accessible and deep. With about a thousand thirty second play sessions inside the tiny 59p app it's hard not to recommend, but if like me you are easily sucked into such high score games, make sure you play in appropriate places at appropriate times.

Written by Nathan Morgan

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Nathan Morgan writes the Touch Gamer column.

"I review a mixture of established iPhone titles and new releases from across various genres. My reviews place particular emphasis on how each game makes use of the unique potential that the interface of the iPod Touch offers."

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