ANGRY BIRDS REVIEW HEADER

Once upon a time the mere mention of Angry Birds would send men, women and children into a frenzy asking for more. It’s still popular but we’ve gone past the peak of interest in chucking birds at piggies, does that mean Angry Birds Star Wars will re-ignite that fire as it arrives on Xbox One?

For those of you who been secluded from society, Angry Birds Star Wars is a puzzle game developed by Rovio Entertainment and published by Activision. Angry Birds has always dabbled in different themes like Rio, Halloween and Christmas, but none are as iconic as Star Wars. As a follow-up to the Xbox 360 title Angry Birds Trilogy, it’ll be interesting to see if this well loved franchise and popular bird series gel together for a match made in heaven or whether the formula will become a little stale.

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At first it seems as though they’ve just given the birds a makeover with a few wigs and props, but then you are introduced to the Force powers. These are the most important new addition to the birds, whereas normally you’d have the basic exploding bomb bird or the speedy yellow one, you now have the Luke Skywalker red bird with a devastating lightsaber swipe. Other powers include a blaster pistol (Han Solo), force pull (Princess Leia) and force push (Obi-Wan).

Those are your weapons to slingshot into the dark sided Pig troops which come in all forms like Mynocks, turrets, Darth Vaders and many more. You will do this in over 200 main missions based on locations from the original Star Wars trilogy such as Hoth, Tatooine and the Death Star. For those who played the mobile phone levels already you’ll be pleased to know there are 20 exclusive console levels to freshen things up a bit, although it is a slight shame there isn’t more.

The idea of popping all the pigs with the fewest amounts of birds for the highest scores still stands, however there are a slightly varied bunch of levels in space. Here there is no gravity in some areas and then a gravitational pull in other parts of a level which gives you something to think about before you send in your army. These are increasingly frustrating at first but once you get used to the way the gravity can work in your favour it adds a new dimension to factor into your success or failure.

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As usual you need to earn at least a star in each level to progress onto the next one, with the main aim being to go for the maximum three stars. What I noticed in comparison to previous versions was that even when I worked out the best tactic, it would take a tiny bit of a fluke to get the aim to the exact millimetre and time the powers to the exact second. A few times I would even hit all the pigs in one go but I didn’t destroy enough blocks to build my score up so missed out on those precious three stars. Alongside the stars, where there was once a mighty Eagle now stands a Millennium Falcon to send in to cause major destruction and hopefully 100% that level.

For the first time they have included Multiplayer and it’s a real treat playing against family and friends, as long as you’re on the same console. This comes in two forms, competitive where random levels are selected for up to four players to compete in to get the highest score and co-op (two) which allows each player to take turns across every level in the game. The maximum enjoyment came from co-op where I and a family member would try to complete them all; everything goes brilliantly until one of you wastes a bird.

The use of Kinect is possible via both voice command and motion control, to do nearly all the game has to offer, except for in multiplayer. Kinect is much improved from the last Angry Birds and this benefits it in the way it picks up the hand closing and opening motions. I found in some tough levels I needed a finer aim which was difficult to do via Kinect because it’s very small hand movements whereas on a controller it is easier to judge.

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With the exception of better usage of Kinect I am now going to tell you that nothing else that I’ve mentioned is any different to the Xbox 360 version, should you not own the next-gen console. That being said I’ve kept one tiny gem up my sleeve, Challenges which will update on a periodic time scale and that is something I haven’t seen on the Xbox One predecessor. Unfortunately it is only one challenge at a time and currently it seems over a week between them so it won’t add too much to your game time.

Angry Birds Star Wars has managed to take everything that made the original addictive, adding a few new features that really crank the strategic nature up as you weigh up all the variables. Getting the three stars on a large amount of levels still feels like it must be done which brings hours more fun and at times has you trying obscure, one in a million style shots. A very solid puzzle game that’s worth picking up if you enjoyed the original or you are looking for a classic example of pick up and play gaming.

DRAFT 4 TXH Rating

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