With Disney Corporation’s buyout of Lucasfilm, some Star Wars fans were left reeling at thoughts of the many ways in which Disney could drive the beloved franchise into the ground. Others pointed out that ever since the release of the Phantom Menace in 1999, decisions made for the franchise have been far from consistent. In fact it could be argued that Disney were one of the only partner companies who understood the franchise properly, with tie-in merchandise and theme park rides of a high quality and paying significant fan service to the hard-core fans, as evidenced by their recent release of a replica Disney “Star Tours” ship compatible with the existing strict scale of non-Disney produced Star Wars figures.
The other highly successful joining of franchises with Star Wars has been with the Lego toy company, who also have strong ties with Disney. The hugely successful Lego Star Wars series includes toys and even a movie, but started with a fantastic video game, and following this same route is Angry Birds Star Wars, for iOS, Android and Windows devices.
Many fans decried the announcement of Angry Birds Star Wars with fears of a cheap cash-in, but a quick play of the game alleviates fears in a game that is equally respectful of the wishes of both Star Wars and Angry Birds fans, and for those who only care about having a quick bit of fun, this is a well-balanced, cleverly designed game.
For those who have been living under a rock, the Angry Birds series of games involve using a catapult to fire rock like birds at evil pigs, obscured by various structures made of planks of wood, rocks and the like. The games have a retro 2D look but use impressive real world physics engines combined with intuitive touch screen controls to create surprisingly deep game-play. Each variant of Angry Birds has added new levels in the form of puzzles and different special types of birds, objects, power ups and physics altering properties to add a new challenge for those who completed the previous game.
For this variation on the enormously popular series, the graphics of the game receive a tongue in cheek re-design, as if the Angry Birds are having a Star Wars themed costume party. The game-play is a mix of the styles of play of the original Angry Birds with a nod to the space physics of Angry Birds Space. Additional power-ups include fun laser, light sabers and force based powers for different birds, and the sound effects are pure Star Wars.
The most fun addition is the changing of the Magic Eagle power up to a “Magic Falcon” – sending Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon flying onto the screen and causing havoc by shooting everything in sight. It’s a cool, fun and satisfying addition for those levels that are starting to become too frustrating to be enjoyable.
The first 80 levels are free to play and if those get you hooked, there is a small token fee to unlock more. If you are a seasoned Angry Birds player this will give you a fun set of new levels with some amusing additions. For those who’ve not yet played long running series, Angry Birds Star Wars is the most varied and polished game yet, and definitely a great place to start. start.