Hello, fair readers, and apologies for being late! I’ve been a little conflicted about how to write this. Rovio has released a sequel to its 2009 smash hit, Angry Birds. Thirteen (13!) spinoffs, license collaborations, and repackaged iterations later, Angry Birds 2 has finally come out, and it’s wonderful. It’s like being handed a tray of delicious cookies.
The Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie
Rovio has really made a wonderful, solid game. They have introduced a couple of mechanics that I really enjoy including a damage meter and card system. When you start a level, you start with one of every bird you’ve unlocked. You get to pick which one you will use out of a cluster of three birds. That’s seven attempts to clear a level. To add difficulty, though, they have each level split up into multiple rooms. This means you have to ration your birds and their varying abilities to complete the level. If you cause enough havoc and wreak enough damage, you’ll fill the damage meter and receive a free card. This can be any bird you’ve used, or even a spell card. Spell cards special abilities that affect the pigs directly and automatically.
All and all, the game itself is a blast to play. It has the extra challenge of needing strategy, and thereby the extra satisfaction when you beat a level. On top of the added pressure to ration your birds, each room will construct itself differently each time you attempt it. This means you have to understand the mechanics better to be successful.
Lastly, they’ve added a competitive arena where you can compete with others for feathers, which you can then use to level up your birds. I’m not sure what the levels do besides increase score potential, but the arena is definitely interesting. It’s an infinite level where you try to get through as many rooms as possible with the seven birds. A new tournament starts each day where you can compete with other players to see who can score the highest. It’s all in good fun, and adds a little extra game time and fun for the player.
The Coveted Oreo
Angry Birds 2 is rife with personality. Rovio has really improved its artistic quality over the years. The graphics in this game are fantastic. The different cities you fight in are beautifully rendered. The pigs are incredibly expressive. I almost feel bad crushing their little faces. You can see them telling jokes, laughing, napping, etc. It’s wonderful! The only real shame is that the birds don’t really get the same expressiveness. It’s understandable why, but it’d still be nice to see the stars of the game be a personable.
Adding to the beauty of the game is the wonderful music. Yes, the theme song is still the same, and we all have it seared into our brains from years ago, but there’s more! I really enjoy the music you get while playing the levels themselves. It’s hard to describe them each, but they all fit and enhance the game, which is all I can ask for out of game music.
The Suspicious Rainbow Cookie (feat. Cracked M&Ms)
The gameplay isn’t all perfect. I do have one minor gripe about it involving the floating pigs. In the first Angry Birds, whenever you have a block dangling on the edge, slowly moving to do something, or a pig slowly rolling to their doom, the game would wait until they stopped. You could skip this eventually, but it did slow the game down substantially. To remedy that, it looks like Rovio made it to where the game will push along even if things are still wiggling about, piggy and otherwise. This has actually killed a couple of lives for me because the wiggly pig in question was floating. In one instance, the pig had a parachute and was slowly dropping to its doom. I had shot my last bird (in the last room!), and was waiting for him to die. The game, however, decided I had lost the level and went to the fail screen immediately. I’m not really enjoying this push to make you play faster. Part of me thinks it’s to make the gameplay faster and easier for someone to pick it up and put it down quickly. The rest of me thinks it has to do with the last cookie.
The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie That Looks Like Chocolate Chip and Has a Fly Baked Inside
I hate Candy Crush. Play Bejeweled while harassing your friends into oblivion and/or pay a ridiculous amount of money to progress. Nothing about that sounds fun, even the Bejeweled part. Well, guess what? Angry Birds 2 has taken on the same business model. The game itself is completely free, but will constantly pester you to connect with your Facebook to “share gifts with your friends.” It’s like a digital STD. I may have it, but I don’t want to be the reason why my friends have it.
On top of that, there’s a microtransaction currency in the form of gems. Every day, you’re given three to six gems. Unfortunately, to use those gems, let’s say to continue a failed run, you have to spend sixty gems. That’s an insane amount compared to what you can earn. Conveniently, if you spend a dollar, you’ll get enough gems to continue. It’s the exact same thing as Candy Crush. Ick.
Lastly, there are ads. This is to be expected with any free game, but there’s a strangely pleasant twist. You don’t have to see the ads unless you want to view them. You’re given the option to pay the obscene amount of gems, or sometimes given the extra option to watch an ad and get an extra bird or another life. You only get five lives before you have to wait, so this can actually be beneficial. I recommend muting your phone, putting it down for thirty seconds, talk to your family, and the resume the game.
I want to say put it down and just leave it there, but I just can’t. The gameplay itself is really fun and a little addicting. If you really enjoyed the first Angry Birds, you’ll probably get a kick out of the new game. If you find the Candy Crush model abhorrent, maybe you’ll have to reconsider. I’m completely on the fence when it comes to recommending it. I will say this, which applies to any freemium: try it, but don’t be shy to delete it.