Review: Angry Birds (Sony PS3/PSP)

Angry Birds
Developer: Abstraction Games / Rovio Mobile
Publisher: Chillingo Ltd
Genre: strategy
Release Date: 01/04/2011

The Angry Birds have arrived on the PSN in the form of a mini. Is this a bad port of the iPhone game, or a Mini worth dropping some cash on? Let’s take a look.

Story/Modes

The story for this game is very simple, the pigs have stolen the birds eggs, and they are very angry and want them back. The pigs have realized these birds are insane and have taken lengths to protect themselves with different barriers and keep the eggs. If only that could save them from the birds’ anger. The game is broken into three chapters with roughly the same amount of stages in each and a “boss hog” at the end with a chance at the eggs. As far as stories and modes go, it is very simple, but this is a mini that was converted over from and iPhone game we’re talking about and they’re not always very complex.

Story/Modes Rating: Below Average

Graphics

Visually the game actually has quite a bit going for it – well, until you put it on a big screen TV anyway. It looks pretty decent on the PSP and even halfway decent on a big screen TV when you’re playing it on the PS3. Most of it is pretty simple, but there are hidden details throughout and the backgrounds do well to keep it visually interesting while you’re launching birds at the pigs’ strongholds. On later levels, though, I ran into a bit of annoyance where the game would slow down visually. While this slowdown didn’t interfere with the bird launches or the other timing as far as I could see, it was annoying as you flipped the screen back and forth to get a good look at where you wanted to launch your attack. I didn’t notice it as much on the PSP for the same levels as I did on the PS3 however.

Graphics Rating: Mediocre

Sound

Being a more basic title, the sound isn’t exactly earth-shattering but it gets the job done. The pigs’ little chuckling if you don’t complete the stage and the birds’ hoots and hollers as you launch them, while brief, are well done. This isn’t a game for audiophiles, though, and while they work, the sounds for the game are very basic and do what they need to do to convey the boards smashing, glass breaking, etc.

Sound Rating: Average

Control and Gameplay

The controls are fairly simple, the left and right shoulder buttons on the PSP (or L1 and R1 on the dual shock controller) control scrolling to the left to see your birds, or to the right to get a better look at the pigs. Pressing both together zooms it out so you can see the whole stage. The directional buttons and the analog stick (the left analog stick on the PS3) control your birds’ launch vector as well as how far back your launch from which controls speed. The X button fires the birds off their slingshot and also activates any special abilities they might have.

Gameplay is fairly straightforward and intuitive, which is really what this game is about. You’re launching the birds form their slingshot into the structures the pigs are hiding behind to bring the structure down on the pigs or to hit them outright and take them out. Each bird has different abilities and can go through different materials more easily than others. You have a standard bird, a bird that splits off like a MIRV on a nuke into three other birds, one that accelerates rapidly to take out more objects, and then the kamikaze bird which you can explode or will explode after coming to a rest. You get graded on each level by points and how many birds you use to take the pigs out and there is no one solution for each, but there are solutions that will net you a better score.

You get different sets of birds at each stage and in a certain order. So a bit of strategy to clearing out the field and using what they give you to your advantage. Pretty deep for what at first appears to be a relatively simple game. I did have some issues with the controls however as there would sometimes be a delay from when I activated the birds’ abilities and they actually fired off. One of the other issues I’ve come across is swapping between views. Apparently moving the camera around can actually destabilize some of the structures. There were a few stages where it actually brought down the structures I needed free-standing to obliterate in the right way to get to one of the pigs. It’s a bit too touchy in that regard. The keys not firing off the specials is more annoying but you can take it into account you can work around it, but should it really be there along with the visual slowdowns I listed earlier?

Control and Gameplay Rating: Decent

Replayability

While the game itself is simple, getting a three star on every stage is not as easy as it can look, even peeking at the videos on YouTube that give you insights on how to master each level. The game itself is fun and each level has some unique challenges to it. And you do have to beat it entirely to get to some of the later levels to max them out, but other than a supreme sense of self-satisfaction at having three starred each stage, you may not get much out of replaying it unless you really like the mechanics.

Replayability Rating: Decent

Balance

Price-wise, if you don’t already have it for your phone, it’s a decent price. The port isn’t great, and you’ve got plenty of challenging stages to get through. I was really surprised by how many there were to get through. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy these types of games, but like I said if you already have it, don’t bother. The slowdown and the tricky controls aren’t worth it.

Balance Rating: Mediocre

Originality

While it’s a port of an existing game which is an original title in and of itself, the game has been done before to different effect using the same gameplay ideas. While the port is a bit poor it does the job of bringing the game over to the PSP and PS3. A few more options added to it would have been nice, and tighter controls, maybe even a way to really brag about your scores online, but it’s pretty much a straight port with the mini-option.

Originality Rating: Below Average

Addictiveness

Despite the control issues, I was attached to this game until I beat it. I had to get those eggs back and I would be damned if those pigs were going to thwart me with simple boards, glass, and stones. Add to it that they actually grade you on how well you beat the stage and you’ve got one of those recipes that keeps me playing for quite awhile. There’s a reason this game is so popular on the iPhone, and while there are some issues with controls, being really addictive and cheap will give this mini some longevity on the PSN.

Addictiveness Rating: Good

Appeal Factor

The game is easy to pick up, it’s inexpensive, the birds and pigs are deceptively cute, and my first exposure to the game was the storyline trailer off the developers website which showed the birds doting on the eggs and the pigs making off with them and then the birds getting, well, angry. Considering the game is already on phones, having access on the PSP isn’t a big deal except for those of us that don’t have iPhones, and the option to play on the PS3 is nice, but it looks kind of awful on the big screen. So there’s some appeal there, but if you already have it, I don’t see anyone picking it up.

Appeal Factor Rating: Enjoyable

Miscellaneous

There’s no reason that a port onto a Mini should have slow down or delays on controls on the PSP or the PS3. I’ve been playing Uncharted and Uncharted 2 and any number of other PS3 titles that use a helluva lot more computing power without any visible slow down and they’re full blown 3D titles. On a 2D title that’s not even really an HD 2D title there’s no reason that a port should behave this badly. It’s not really excusable, but considering the game retails on the PSN for under $5 I can overlook it a bit. It eats into your enjoyment of the title, and even though I was addicted to it and wanted to beat it then, the luster wore off after it was beaten and I haven’t touched it since. I can’t say that about some of the other free or budget titles I play.

Miscellaneous Rating: Pretty Poor

The Scores
Story/Modes Rating: Below Average
Graphics Rating: Mediocre
Sound Rating: Below Average
Control and Gameplay Rating: Decent
Replayability Rating: Decent
Balance Rating: Mediocre
Originality Rating: Below Average
Addictiveness Rating: Good
Appeal Factor Rating: Enjoyable
Miscellaneous Rating: Pretty Poor
FINAL SCORE: MEDIOCRE GAME

Short Attention Span Summary
asheresize Angry Birds is a mediocre port of the game from the phone. While it’s cheap and plays almost decently on both the PSP and the PS3, if you have it on your phone there’s no reason to pick it up again. The game has a bit of challenge and strategy to it, but there are some stages that’ll drive you up a wall mainly due to the delay in controller response, or even walls falling down just because you moved the camera. It’s worth a look if you’ve got the cash laying about, but if you’re on the fence, use it somewhere else.

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