Angry Birds has been one of the most popular franchises since the original hit the App Store at the end of 2009, and not without good reason. Each title seen has been a stable and near bug-free at launch, exuding a level of polish that proves mobile gaming isn't something to scoff at. With a crossover between Angry Birds and Star Wars, Rovio releases its best game to date and shows it can use the licence to the full extent, providing plenty of inside jokes for fans of Star Wars while not debasing the gameplay many have come to love.
A more elegant weapon for a more civilized age, huh?
This isn't just Angry Birds with a few nods to Star Wars, but rather a slight retelling of A New Hope. Starting in Tatooine, flying into space, and ending on the Death Star, the two available worlds total 80 levels. 40 more challenging levels are available through the Dagobah-themed Path of the Jedi. Similar to the Danger Zone from Angry Birds Space, they can be yours for the steep price of $1.99 (or free if you 3-star all available levels). Rovio is already teasing an update in the form of Hoth, the next planet to be released. With the amount of support and updates seen for the Angry Birds franchise, this is probably the first of many to come.
Most of the birds also exhibit redesigns of their look and powers. The red Luke bird uses a lightsaber to carve through blocks and pigs, the yellow Han fires blaster shots, and the black Obi-Wan uses the Force to send blocks flying in a specific direction. These new powers require the player to combine birds, flinging Chewy to clear out a metal objects so that Obi-Wan can Force push the less weighty debris. Also present are R2-D2, who electrocutes pigs and structures alike, and C-3PO, who explodes into a pile of parts much like his dismemberment on Cloud City. Both these birds appear in the Golden Egg bonus missions.
The gang's all here!
The pigs, depending on the world you're on, appear as Tusken Raiders, Stormtroopers, Tie Fighters, and the occasional Darth Vader. Stormtroopers are equipped with their own blasters, making the player time their shots to pass by uninterrupted, reflect them with a well-timed lightsaber swing, or bounce the blasts off metal beams. Vader, on the other hand, calls upon the Force to hold up blocks and, once defeated, will drop them on to fellow pigs, requiring players to time their slingshots and actually consider who to take out first to complete the level.
Along with the puzzle elements gained from the pig's powers, Angry Birds Star Wars has some of the best designed levels in the series. Levels on Tatooine resemble moisture towers, the huts Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru lived in, and rusty Speeders ideal when you need to bullseye womp rats. Even the Death Star levels show great attention to detail, as the X-Wing pilots along the trench during a pivotal conclusion while you destroy enemy Tie Fighters and listen to a remix of the "Imperial March." Also included are levels using gravity mechanics from Angry Birds Space. These are a welcome addition to the game, because they change gameplay enough to keep it interesting at the perfect time.
Even the trench run is lovingly recreated.
Even if you aren't a fan of Star Wars, Angry Birds Star Wars is an outstanding game in the popular franchise, and if you've never played Angry Birds before, this is a great place to jump in. With cheeky homages to a beloved sci-fi saga, amazing level design, and strategic gameplay, this is one mobile game no one should miss. While the price of the Path of the Jedi level pack is very high for an iOS title (double the price of the app itself depending on the platform), there are no problems to be seen. Rovio has truly outdone themselves with this license.