‘Angry Birds Space’ Game Review

When ‘Angry Birds’ launched in 2009 it was an instant hit. It arrived on a new platform early in the game when most developers were still experimenting with what it was capable of. There wasn’t much competition available yet and what was available was lacking much range or quality. ‘Angry Birds’ was one of the first games that build its success on gameplay rather than a gimmick, having put plenty of time into the physics that make up the core elements. The option of free upgrades that add buckets of new levels at intervals was an extra sweetener.

Since the initial launch we’ve seen dozens of games using a very similar presence preventing ‘Angry Birds’ from standing out from the crowd as much as it used to. In addition the number of extra levels for ‘Angry Birds’, the additional ‘Angry Birds Seasons’ with its holiday themed episodes and the movie tie-in ‘Angry Birds Rio’ have swamped our smart phones with levels. Even with the addition of the two or three new birds it’s starting to all look the same.

With the current state of iphone gaming, the announcement of a new ‘Angry Birds’ game is not one that inspires big excitement. It’s like getting a new ‘Assassin’s Creed’ game – still kinda fun, but we’ve done it before.

Funky new designs are clearly inspired by some Flash Gordon.

It turns out that ‘Angry Birds in Space’ is not just more of the same with a space theme, but a massive shift in the game’s dynamics and a great new challenge.

The first thing that you notice is the aesthetic changes. The new setting is very well presented, but expect to geek out over the ‘Flash Gordon’ inspired redesign of the birds themselves. Very funky indeed. The basic layout and design is the same, with the same menus to work through to get the action which involves a bird on a slingshot aimed at a pig. It is at this point that things really get shaken up. Unlike in previous versions of the game where the only variation in the gameplay comes in the level design there are multiple new elements that change the game quite dramatically.

Being set in space means that slinging a bird causes it not to travel in an arc but in a straight line. Any small landmass or planet on the screen generates a gravitational pull that draws in flying objects and can be used to slingshot objects. This new gravity feature is more than a cheap gimmick but a whole new game in itself. Whether it’s knocking objects into or out of orbit, sending birds around a planet to hit pigs on the underside of a landmass or finding the right curve in a gravity field to knock down a tower, it feels and fresh as it does familiar.

A nice touch are the secret levels that can be unlocked by finding black holes. Here you’ll see tributes to classic games such as Space Invaders and Super Mario Brothers. Other tweaks to the game include the Mighty Eagle being available as collectable bonuses instead of paying for it, adjustments to some birds mechanics to suit the new environment and the occasional boss battle.

Ultimately this new entry to the franchise not only breathes life into the series but completely re-invigorates it. Even if you’ve gotten weary of the fierce, feathered freaks this game is more than enough value for money.