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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Angry Birds Space Rocks

I confess: I didn't think they could do it. When I heard that Angry Birds Space was coming, I honestly didn't see how Rovio could create a game that was different enough, while still retaining the original Angry Birds magic. But I shouldn't have doubted: this game is a success, precisely because it gets that balance exactly right.

One of the important aspects of the original Angry Birds was that it was a physics game, and what you'll notice straight away with Angry Birds Space is that it is still a physics game. But importantly, the same rules of physics mean that objects move differently in space, and that's the hook behind the game.

Zero Gravity Fun For All: Angry Birds Space Rocks [Review]

Same old faces. New zero gravity.

You still have the birds, and you still have the pigs. But this time the pigs have built their ridiculous fortresses on planets, moons and asteroids, and each of these has its own gravity field.

In empty space, your birds will fly in a straight line (going on forever, Frank Poole from 2001-style, if you let them). But as soon as they hit a gravity field, they get pulled inwards.

And that's where you suddenly find yourself playing a very different, very new kind of Angry Birds. You have to think in multiple dimensions. When my bird hits that gravity field, where will it go? How can I get it to hit the spot I need it to? Perversely, that sometimes means launching your birds in directions you've never launched them before – such as away from the target, so they can loop round a planet and hit it from the other side.

Zero Gravity Fun For All: Angry Birds Space Rocks [Review]

Remember your teacher saying physics was fun? Well, now you know.

The game is full of lovely little touches. Some pigs lurk inside protective space suits. Smash the suit – or cause it to break by hitting it with flying debris – and the pig inside freezes. Knock space-suited pigs just enough to reach orbit, and they plummet to their doom on the planetary surface. On some levels, winning is all about directing debris on the correct orbital path to get the pigs.

As the original game before it, Angry Birds is not a Universal app. If you want full resolution on both iPhone and iPad , you'll have to pay out twice (a dollar for the iPhone version, three dollars for the HDiPad counterpart). If you're already an Angry Birds fan, you shouldn't think twice; and even if you've never played the game before, there's a gentle learning curve right from the start, and plenty of fun to be had.

Developers Rovio have pulled it off: Angry Birds Space is both new and old, both different and familiar. Bravo, Rovio.

Post from my iPad 2


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