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App Review – Angry Birds Space

  • iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle
  • Mac and PC too
  • Free option for Android, between $1 and $6 everywhere else
Written by Adam Wajnberg
23/03/2012

I always dreamed of tablet computers. Mostly, I just fantastized about a walkman for my books – something I could use to carry around all the books and comics I wanted to read. When the iPad debuted in 2010, all my dreams (and then some) were realized. Well, all my dreams about tablet computers, anyway.

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  angry birds space logo ipad

And indeed, tablet computers are a tremendous technical marvel. Imagine – a library in your backpack! A portable cinema! A piece of glass you can draw on and produce full colour images! Books that contain moving graphics! Some of this enthusiasm seems better suited to a 19th century mustachioed man-of-science who has stumbled through a wormhole to our time, but put in perspective, tablet computers reallyare fantastic. And magical.

The best selling iPad app of all time is a simple game where you shoot birds at pigs.

Gamers are fond of pointing out that even with all of today’s advances in 3D, immersive gaming, nothing beats the sheer playability and engagement of Tetris. That’s a chortle-worthy bit of irony. But the fact that a device that ostensibly brings oodles of actual educational content, in a format immediately intuitive to children and non-digital types (“old people”) is mostly used to slingshot birds into pigs – I mean, whatareyougonnado, amirite?

That said, Angry Birds is pretty clever. At the heart of it, the game is a matter of basic physics and calculus. It rewards being clever and elegant, where the most effective moves are those that use the environment to cause chain reactions, rather than brute-force attacks that topple your enemies.

The sequels to Angry Birds have been a little gimmicky, adding new features here and there that mostly made the game easier. That’s ok – the addition of the Mighty Eagle cheat was more a way of adding mythology to the improbably intense world of clannish bird co-operation in toppling pigs (where are the pig variants? Are there no warthogs or tapirs willing to assist their cousins?). Angry Birds Space, on the other hand, adds a little bit of extra cuteness and a proper new paradigm for gameplay.

angry birds space screenshot

New gravity rules apply

Whereas the original game relied on gravity and inertia, Space adds atmosphere and the absence of gravity as components. Your birds can float towards their targets now, bursting little pockets of pig-air to freeze out porcine opponents. Pigs in Space can be bounced into the atmosphere of nearby planets, hurtling them towards the ground. And birds can bend around obstructions, using basic properties of Orbit, to collide with the pigs. Again, we haven’t reinvented the bird-pig wheel here, but we’ve added enough new components to make this a proper departure from the original.

The boys and girls at Rovio know their target market, too. Unlocking various golden eggs will open up secret side games that hearken back to Super Mario Bros. and Space Invaders, amongst other goodies. 80’s and 90’s kids who are now parents themselves will be able to muscle out their kids playing Angry Birds and show them how a real OG gamer plays, yo.

qangry birds space new character costumes

Same characters, same powers, new costumes

And it remains cheap. The PC and Mac versions are $5.99 and $4.99 respectively, but we all know the real action is in the handhelds. For the iPad and Kindle Fire, it’s $2.99, and for the iPhone, 99c. Android has a 99c ad-free version, and a free version with ads. With 60 levels of fun, that’s about 10c per level at its most expensive. But be careful- there are optional extras you can buy, that you don’t need. Check out our article on similar games, like Smurfs Village, that can run up big bills if left unattended.

Otherwise, it’s hard to think of anything as fun that only costs $3. Worth your time and money.

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