Those Angry Birds are back, and they’re still angry. The green pigs are also smugger than ever before. I can understand why the Birds are so livid. As if you needed an excuse to wipe those smug grins off their piggy faces, Angry Birds Space is here to fill the void. If you’re new to the Angry Birds franchise, there’s plenty of flavours available, on PC and various phones and tablets, as well as demo versions for you to try.
So far, all the Angry Birds games have followed the same premise, even though the level design has been given a certain theme, all have been based in a world with uniform gravity.
Angry Birds Space changes all that.
The Birds, and Pigs, have taken to outer space, a scary place where the game’s physics really shine. Interestingly, the Birds have no trouble surviving in the oxygen-free environment, but the Pigs die when exposed to the vacuum of space!
Needless to say, this game takes place on or near a variety of asteroids that are floating in space. Some are tiny, little more than floating space rocks, while others are much larger and have their own gravity. This gravity field is shown visually as a glowing bubble with rings pulsing towards the centre of gravity, usually the surface of the asteroid itself.
Outside these bubbles of gravity is the vacuum of space, and it reacts as you would expect – no gravity whatsoever, so Birds fly on in a straight line unless something hits them, and other space debris just float in the direction they were going until they reach an obstacle. If that obstacle is a field of gravity, the Bird (or pig, or rock) will be drawn in a new direction, often plummeting straight for the surface of the asteroid generating the field.
The levels as designed, as with all Angry Birds games, with an impressive amount of imagination and variation. On some levels, you are contained within a certain gravity field, in others, you’re completely in the void of space. In still other levels, there might be two or more overlapping gravity bubbles, meaning you’ll have to take this into account when aiming your birds. Sometimes you even have to moving targets to contend with. You will most certainly have to think out of the box to solve all the puzzles.
There are already three full sets of 30 levels available in the PC version, with more to come in future updates. If you’ve somehow solved all of them, hidden on various levels are golden eggs that immediately unlock bonus levels that are completely different from others in the game. This brings a welcome change and some extra challenge, both in finding the eggs and completing the unusual levels.
This game includes all the old favourites, the red bird, the tiny blue birds, the black bomber bird, the heavy bird (now green) and the yellow diving bird. They have all been restyled into super heroes, sporting masks and capes, making them look more stylish than ever. The yellow diving bird is now purple and comes with improved abilities. Instead of diving at a predetermined angle when you click the mouse, the purple diving bird will make a beeline for wherever you click the mouse, meaning you can take aim at targets that the normal diving bird would never be able to reach.
There’s a new addition as well – the square ice bird. When you click the mouse or he hits something, he explodes and coats the nearest surface in ice – making solid stone breakable by smaller birds. He’s very handy if you use him well.
The new ‘space’ mechanics in this title have brought some (arguably much needed) freshness to the Angry Birds franchise. Seeing birds, pigs and other objects doing something unexpected is always fun, and Space delivers this in bucketloads with its gravity (and lack thereof) effects. Another funky and rather addictive game to keep you busy in between answering emails. It also conveniently pauses (silently) when you tab away from the game.
Reviewed on PC. Also available for Android and iOS.
Angry Birds Space was reviewed by Abigail Holden