Review – Angry Birds For The Playstation Portable
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation Portable.
Angry Angry Aviary
If you haven’t heard of Angry Birds, then you’ve been out of the loop. A game that started as an iPhone app in December of 2009 has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. Rovio continues to expand the number of platforms it’s available on, and now it’s finally moved to the console on PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable in the Minis section. The premise of Angry Birds is simple. A group of pigs has stolen the birds’ eggs, and they want them back. Using a slingshot, you launch your birds at the pigs that are hiding inside, behind, or underneath structures made of glass, wood, and stone. The pigs are eliminated either by launching the birds directly into them, or more often, by toppling the structures surrounding them.
The PlayStation Portable/PS3 version contains four episodes, broken into three acts, each containing 21 levels to play through for over 180 levels of bird vs. pig mayhem. Levels increase in difficulty and complexity as you progress. And as you go through the game, you are introduced to new birds over time, most of which have special abilities that are activated while the bird is in flight. The controls are relatively simple. Use the analog stick to aim your bird in the slingshot, press X to release it, and while it’s in flight you press X again in order to perform its special ability. A nice feature they have is the ability to use the left and right shoulder buttons to go back and look over the layout of the level so you don’t have to try to memorize it before the round starts.
The Angry Birds
The red bird, which you start with, has no abilities. However, you are quickly introduced to the blue bird, which is capable of splitting into three birds in flight. The yellow bird has the ability to speed up to increase the amount of damage it does. The black bird explodes, and the white bird will drop eggs like bombs on its foes. Each bird is best suited for tackling a certain type of obstacle (as I explain below), as well as having different flight characteristics. For example, if you launch a red bird across the screen, and try to follow it up with a yellow bird, it will not fly as far as the red bird if you aim it along the same path.
Once you’ve completed the first episode, the other three episodes will unlock, allowing you even more hours of enjoyment. Each one has a slightly different theme, and they get more challenging as you progress, but gameplay remains fundamentally the same.
The puzzles in this game grow more complex as you progress. Some of them require some strategy while others will test your skills with timing and precision. The ones that I found most challenging were the levels where you had a mix of birds, and you had to figure out which bird should be used for what purpose. For example, if you had to go through a block, you would use the black, exploding bird. But for glass, the little blue bird is more effective, and the yellow works best on wood structures. If you encounter a level that has a mix of birds in certain order, you’ll want to take your time and look closely at the level to figure out the most effective way to solve the puzzle.
Graphics And Sound
Overall, Angry Birds looks very nice. Its cartoonish looks and sounds are half of what makes this game so enjoyable. Combine that with some of the chain reactions you can make when blasting those little birds through the structures and hilarity can ensue; however, the graphics aren’t completely without complaint.
Part of the problem with porting over higher resolution textures to a smaller screen is that they can look pixelated or or the lines on the characters and objects can be a bit jagged. This is especially noticeable when things are moving around pretty quickly. At times, it’s very difficult to see the detail on the characters faces, or even in the background environments.
Another issue is that after prolonged play, about 20 minutes or so, there’s noticeable chop in the frame rate. Backing out of the game and going right back in resolves it for a little while, but the issue comes right back. Hopefully, the fine people at Rovio will come out with an update to resolve the problem.
Story and graphics alone does not a great game make. The eternal question of “but is it FUN” can be answered here with a resounding “YES”. There’s no wondering why Rovio has sold over 12 million copies on multiple platforms so far. This game is rapidly becoming that guilty pleasure in my collection. It’s the one game where I can just curl up on the couch and ignore everything for what seems to be 20 minutes, only to look up and find that two hours have gone by.
The only thing that I have to wonder is will we be seeing the holiday versions of Angry Birds anytime soon? Only time will tell. However, it was confirmed in November that an Angry Birds 2 was in development by Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka, so even if you manage to blow through all 180 levels fairly quickly, you still have something to look forward to in the future.
I give this game a 4.75/5.
In Case You Can’t Get Enough
You can tell that Rovio’s marketing team is in full swing with the Angry Bird craze. Now you can purchase plushies of your favorite birds, as well as the pigs here. Prices for the plushies are $11.99 for a five-inch, and $14.99 for an eight-inch doll. Or, you can go all out and order a sixteen-inch Angry Bird for $59.99.
Hmm. I think I might just have to pick one or two of those up.
And Now The Surprise!
Chillingo was kind enough to give me a download code for Angry Birds for the Playstation Portable to pass on to you readers. So, for reading all the way through this article, I’m having a contest.
Basically, all you have to do is reside in the US (it’s a US code), and post a comment on this review. A random comment will be selected at midnight tonight. Good luck!
Somewhat official rules are posted here.
Special Thanks to @sopipari and Dominic for subbing as my editors today.
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