The game the defined mobile gaming for a generation meets the movie trilogy that defined a generation. Well maybe one of those is true, although I refuse to be a neck beard prequels hater. Angry Birds Star Wars II marries classic Angry Birds action with the Star Wars prequel universe, and before you ask, yes there is a Jar Jar Binks bird. This isn’t your laser disk with original THX sound version of Angry Birds though. There are enough twists and tweaks on original that even George Lucas himself would be proud of the revisionist gameplay. Rovio has once again shown how well they understand mobile gaming and this time around has taken a few hints from rest of the gaming world to modernize their formula and keep things fresh in the slingshot genre.
This time around players have the option of playing Rebel Missions or Empire missions, also known as The Pork Side. These missions have the twist of the player flinging pigs into the birds. And speaking of the pigs and birds the game boasts over 30 different types. Each character is from the Star Wars Universe and boasts some special gameplay mechanic. The Obi Wan bird can force push enemies and blocks across the screen, while the Qui-Gon bird slashes his lightsaber destroying everything in an arc in
front of him. Some the more advanced attacks I ran across was the aforementioned Jar Jar bird whose tongue functions as a grappling hook and the Anakin Skywalker bird who can steer a podracer around the screen. The Pigs are just as fun. You start out with the Jango Fett pig , who can fire a missle to destroy obstacles, but the twist is Jango will be blasted in an equal and opposite direction at the same time. All of these special abilities lead to some of the best puzzles I’ve ever seen from the series. In order to three star rank a level you’ll typically have to make a great shot and ontop of that use the special ability of your birds at the specific right time. Using your different pigs and birds will lead to building experience for that particular character which eventually unlocks that character’s own bonus level. These levels use some of the underwater mechanics or space mechanics of previous games and are very challenging to 3 star.
That brings me to the next interesting mechanic the game has added, the ability to switch out your birds at will using in game purchases or the more fun way, using telepods. Your local big box should be stocking Angry Birds Star Wars II telepods characters by now. Retailing for 4.99 a two pack. These are miniature angry bird toys that are adorned with a tiny QR code that when combined with your device’s camera and a magnifier that comes with the toys, “teleports” your bird into the game to be used whenever you want. For the review I picked up the Jedi Luke and Emperor Pig two pack. The toys are mostly rubber and plastic but seem well made and are a fun collectible. They also look about the same size as other angry bird toys that have been out for years so if you have a kid that likes to destroy lego and lincoln log structures with his bird shooter irl you can add these to the ammo pile. The use of QR codes was pretty clever, other games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity use NFC readers and have chips inside the toy. Rovio’s solution while not as robust seems pretty cost effective and for Angry Birds gameplay suffices well. My scanned in birds and pigs lasted for my entire play session but when I came back the next day I had to rescan them in, I assume this to prevent kids from scanning all their friends birds and having them permanently on their device, I thought it was kind of a bummer but at least it gave me an excuse to take the figures off my shelf and play with them again.
I’ve always been a fan of the Angry Birds. The polish and presentation associated with the brand is here and the Star Wars branding works well with the wackiness of both franchises having a good melting point. Right out of the gate you get 80 main missions, with unlockable secret missions and character missions and with Rovio’s best in brand after release free DLC you can bet the entire trilogy will eventually be explored. That thought makes me excited for that eventual Mustafar world. I’ll highly recommend this game and if you know any younglings the telepods provide a fun and inexpensive add-on for some real world play as well, just remember to stay on target.