"Super Birdio Galaxy"
If Rovio Mobile had made Angry Birds Space as yet another expansion pack for the original game, it would be hard to hold it against them. Their fowl-flinging game has proven one of the greatest successes in the industry's history, setting records for sales while also setting the standard for the ideal ninety-nine cent gaming app. So many people love the series that they would've been fine just getting more of the same, so Rovio didn't need to do anything truly different with the new game. However, Angry Birds Space offers a completely new spin on the concept, and the fact that Rovio was willing to keep their series moving forward when they had no financial incentive to do so is a real feather in their cap (no pun intended).
Angry Birds Space is exactly what the title suggests, moving the age-old conflict between bird and pig into the furthest reaches of the galaxy, complete with wacky (at least, wackier) redesigns inspired by Battle of the Planets. Like Super Mario Galaxy, Space realized gravity physics to enhance a familiar concept, in this case throwing birds at buildings in order to kill pigs. The trajectory of the flung fowl is now harder to calculate, because it's affected by the gravitational pull of nearby planetoids. Objects fall in different directions depending on the section of the level, so the debris used to destroy the pigs won't drop in a linear fashion. To do well at Angry Birds Space, players have to go beyond thinking in terms of trajectory lines and rectangular structures, instead developing an understanding of elaborate arcs and spherical movement.
The levels of Angry Birds Space are more complex than those from its earthbound predecessor, but this depth makes the game all the more satisfying. Before, the pigs merely had to worry about debris falling from above. Now, the danger comes from all directions. A well-aimed bird will lead to a chain reaction of destruction spiraling across the screen. Also, in addition to dying from falling objects, the pigs can also be killed with the cold vacuum of space. Popping their little atmospheric bubbles leads to a hilarious animation where the pig freezes before popping into oblivion, a G-Rated rendition of what would otherwise be a grotesque implosion.
Nearly every aspect of Angry Birds has been updated for their move to the stars. The different birds are tweaked to accommodate the changes in gravitational playing field, especially the Mighty Eagle (who now creates a black hole effect, sucking everything into its massive ebon beak), while the pigs have retooled their defenses. The boss battles pit players against pigs in contraptions wild enough to make Dr. Robotnik jealous, and the levels themselves contain several new traps and hazards to be avoided or exploited depending on the situation. Angry Birds Space is not just another presentation makeover, but an excellent, innovative new game. If Rovio can keep this level of creativity up with future installments, then their commercial empire's security is assured.
GameDynamo's Score for Angry Birds Space (Mobile)
Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
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