"Angry Birds," the poster child for right time and right place, conquered the small screen space a few years back with simple gameplay and cute characters at a perfect price. While it quickly invaded everyone's smart phone and was fun to play in short bursts, it was a pretty shallow game yet rewarding when you finally nailed a 3 star rating. Basically it was the Tetris analogue for your internet phone's Game Boy (thanks, Matt, for that little bit of
plagiarism inspiration :-)). Everyone installed and quickly became addicted to slinging birds at evil pigs.
As with anything that becomes larger than itself, eventually an opportunity for cross-branding emerges. Enter 'Angry Birds Star Wars,' a clever rebranded spin-off transforming the classic sci-fi/fantasy heroes and villains into their avian and porcine doppelgängers. It was a fun offshoot for fans of both IPs to take a bathroom break and play a few rounds of physics based puzzle solving. Of course, anything Star Wars can't only have one episode, so Rovio obliged to create a second venture.
Fortunately, "Angry birds Star Wars II" is much, much better than it's movie counterpart.
I'll level with you here. "Angry Birds Star Wars II" is exactly what you think it is - pretty much the same as its previous incarnations with a cute gimmick. You sling birds at opposing pig encampments in hopes of knocking down and destroying each one. The big twist here is the incorporation of the Telepod tool -- a device that allows you to pick your preferred hero by replacing the default line-up.
While it isn't a radical addition, the new ability to swap out characters is a clever way to challenge yourself while adding a new layer to the gameplay. This makes it more of a puzzle game allowing you to select the right angry bird for the right job. Don't like the current bird? Simply use your Telepod and your favorite character and instantly swap them in the blink of an eye. This doesn't give you more shots, rather allows a different option to take out the villains pig empire.
That is, unless you want to play as the pigs.
For the first time in the series, you can play as the bad guys! The gameplay is virtually identical. Instead of launching birds, you chuck pigs at the rebellious bird scum. Honestly, I was hoping to reverse the roles here, allowing users to build their own fortress but perhaps that can be included in a future update. Otherwise, it's just as fun throwing waves of piggy soldiers to defeat those bird-brained Rebels.
The only real downside is that you'll need to carry around a bunch of rubbery figures and the Telepod in your pockets. You see, "Angry Birds Star Wars" also has a bunch of physical playsets for kids. We built one and had some fun on instagram -- that busted-ass sneaker is mine BTW. The sets are pretty neat and give something for kids to play with when parents to want to use their iPad for
Netflix Angry Birds. The figures aren't exactly huge but you might want to dedicate a carrying pouch of some kind so you don't lose them.
All in all, "Angry Birds Star Wars II" is more of the same - simple, addictive gameplay on the go. The toys skew young so if you're an adult fan maybe you'll just pick a character pack and skip the playsets.
Score: 8 out of 10