Angry Birds: Star Wars Review
Posted by Katy Ellis
Use the birds, Luke
A long time ago (well, 2009), in a galaxy far, far away (Finland), an unassuming development studio named Rovio Entertainment gave birth to a mobile gaming franchise which would ultimately take over the world. Three years later and still going strong, Angry Birds and the beloved Star Wars empire would join forces to create a super-game, taking on the Dark Side and fundamentally challenging the very existence of console gaming. That was, until it was released on the PlayStation 3 a year later in the form of Angry Birds: Star Wars, which really wasn't that epic at all.
Despite its Star Wars overcoat, Angry Birds: Star Wars is pretty much still the same game that you've wasted hours playing on the train to work. It's essentially still a title about inexplicably aggressive birds, plotting to destroy herds of pigs in various evil ways – even if those birds now brandish lightsabers and the pigs are dressed up in Storm Trooper outfits.
The more swine and surrounding terrain that you obliterate using a single feathered projectile, the more points that you get, so it's worth playing each level a few times in order to work out the best way to achieve a three star victory. While some stages are seemingly simple, others will push you to look for useful items of destruction, such as handy TNT boxes or precariously placed heavy objects in order to cause chaos. Failing to wipe out all of the pigs in a level brings up an infuriating screen of a snorting Darth Vader who cackles at you, which never fails to inspire a quick retry.
But how is Angry Birds: Star Wars any different from the normal edition of Angry Birds, you may ask? Well, the title puts the license to use by setting levels in locations instantly recognisable from the movies, from the desert landscape of Tatooine to the frozen surface of Hoth and Cloud City. But it's not just the environments that will be familiar to the Star Wars fanatic, as each bird type is also represented by a Star Wars character, including favourites like Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, and even C3PO, R2D2, and Chewy. While the game never overtly tells you which character is which, it's pretty easy to assume that the pink bird with the cinnamon buns on each side of its head is Princess Leia, and the wrinkly green one is Yoda.
Each feather-brain also has its own Star Wars-themed special power, which can be activated by pressing X in order to cause even more destruction. Luke uses his lightsaber to slice through pigs, Mr. Solo uses his blaster, and C3PO, well, he just kind of spontaneously explodes. While completing a level of Angry Birds often comes down to chance, these special abilities allow a deeper sense of skill – as marginal as it may be – due to the fact that you can use different character powers to target certain areas of the field.
Meanwhile, the local multiplayer mode consists of two options: co-op and head-to-head. In co-op, you'll take turns with a friend to rain terror on the surrounding piglets in order to earn a high score, while in the more competitive head-to-head mode you must destroy more items and Storm Troopers than your opponent, subsequently racking up more points. Neither of the multiplayer options are particularly inspired, and passing your controller backwards and forwards can become rather tedious after a while, but nevertheless, playing competitively with a group of friends does rouse the odd chuckle.
However, despite providing a solid twist on the popular franchise, our main issue with Angry Birds: Star Wars is simply the fact that you can grab the same game on your mobile or tablet for mere pocket change, while the console version will cost you practically full retail price. It's absolutely insane, especially considering Angry Birds is a game which is best suited to handheld play anyway, feeling oddly clunky on a DualShock 3 controller.
Angry Birds: Star Wars is a game most definitely suited to its mobile and tablet gaming origins, and feels awkwardly out of place on the PS3. While Star Wars and Angry Birds fans alike will undoubtedly love it for its smile-inducing use of the franchise's license and typically addictive gameplay, that doesn't change the fact that it's essentially just a very expensive remix of a mobile game with a new, intergalactic lick of paint. If you simply can't resist the urge to use the Force against piggy Storm Troopers, then put that wallet away and buy the mobile version.