Angry Birds Review
Even if you don't have an iPhone or iPod touch, you may have already heard about Angry Birds. The game has sold over 12 million copies as of this writing, and still isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Now it's spreading its wings to other platforms and is landing on the PSP as a Mini game, which means that you'll be able to play it on your PS3 as well. You can probably guess that it’s a pretty enjoyable game based on its sales alone, but how does the touch-driven game fare on touchless, nub-controlled PSP?
First a little about the game itself. The titular birds are angry because some pigs have stolen their eggs and they're out to get them back. And that's that for the story, but you don't need any story for this game. It's basically a castles and catapults game, but instead of chucking rocks at Medieval fortresses you're using a slingshot to fling birds at makeshift forts with pigs hiding inside. The goal of each level is simple enough – fling the birds at the pig fort and knock enough of it down to squish the pigs hiding inside – but it's often a lot easier said than done. You've got a limited number of birds in each level and so you'll need to make every shot count. The levels are challenging enough that they take some time, experimentation, and a little bit of luck to beat, but not so much so that they're frustrating or feel unfair.
The birds will load themselves into the slingshot in turn, and to fire the slingshot you use the nub. The more you move the nub to the left, the more you pull on the slingshot's band. Add a little up or down drag on the nub to control the angle, press X, and the bird goes flying towards the fort. The first shot is always blind, but after that you'll have the benefit of seeing a tracing of the last bird's arc to help you adjust your next shot.
There's one more thing to take into consideration when taking your shots, and that's the type of bird you've got sitting in the slingshot. Different birds have different abilities that have a direct impact on how you should utilize them. The basic bird is pretty much a wrecking ball, but others can be split into multiple birds in flight, kick in a turbo burst before impact, or even explode after landing. You can't select which birds you have available on a level or even in what order you can fire them off, so the levels also have a puzzle aspect to them – it's not just a question of knocking out the pigs, it's also a question of how do you do that with the birds that you've been given.
The game has plenty of levels to keep you busy for some time, and each level is virtually infinitely replayable. The game is backed by a pretty realistic physics engine that pretty much assures that each fort will collapse in different ways each time you play. Angry Birds is certainly one of those games that has the ability to hook you in and have you playing it for a lot longer time than you originally intended. It's hard to leave the game in the midst of a struggle to beat a particular level and there's always the curiosity-driven motivation to see what's in store for you in the next level.
Angry Birds would be a slam-dunk recommendation if it weren't for an annoying problem on the PSP version of the game. I've played plenty of Angry Birds on my iPod touch, and even played this version of the game on the PS3, so the issue seems to be exclusive to the PSP. Sometimes the nub will lose control of the slingshot and the slingshot will seem to have a mind of its own. Sometimes pushing the other buttons for a bit will fix the issue, but there are times when I've had to quit the level ad restart it before I could get it to work right again. This bug is the only thing that mars an otherwise excellent port of an excellent game, but it’s a pretty annoying one. I'd easily give the game a good rating without the bug, and if you're going to play this exclusively on the PS3 you consider the game to be rated higher. With the bug, though, I'm going to have to give this a 69.
Final Rating: 69%. Angry Birds on the PSP is one really annoying bug away from being a fun game.