Angry Birds, almost certainly the most addictive game for iOS, the iPhone and the iPad, has finally made its way over to Google Android smartphones.
With than two million downloads in the first two days, it's safe to say that the word got out quickly. I, for one, greeted the release of Angry Birds for Android with a mix of excitement and terror. Excited to finally play this game without begrudgingly borrowing my girlfriend's iPhone, and terrified that I would never again be a productive human being. Which, really, is quite a compliment to this game.
In Angry Birds for Android, you slingshot birds at a group of nasty pigs and the structures they're hiding in. The pigs stole your eggs, so you're understandably peeved.
Sounds simple enough, but under the surface is a stout physics engine that really keeps things interesting. In the opening levels you only have one type of bird, a red one that you just shoot with the slingshot. As the game goes on, you get different types of birds - birds that divide into three small ones, birds that have speed boosters, birds that drop eggs like bombs, birds that are ticking bombs themselves, and more. For each level, the computer assigns which birds you have, how many, and the order in which you must use them. It gets pretty challenging pretty quickly.
As for the pigs, they come in a few types: some tiny ones, some huge ones, some wearing helmets so they're harder to kill, and so forth. As the game goes on, the structures they build to protect themselves get more and more complex, and they use different materials too, such as wood, ice and cement, so that strategy becomes every bit as important as your aim. With 150 levels of ever-increasing difficulty, Angry Birds for Android is liable to keep you playing for a very long time.
The graphics look great; the animation is smooth, even when the (amusing) sound is on; and the pinching to zoom in and out looks cool. The game froze on me twice during testing, which shows that it's still got a few bugs yet to be worked out, but your progress in the game will always be saved, so it's not that a big deal.
Another gripe: It takes way too many clicks of the back button to exit the program. Also, depending on the sensitivity of your touchscreen, misfires can be a real problem.
This game is free for Android users (iOS users have to pay 59p), but comes with a fair amount of advertisements. Personally, I didn't mind as it's easy enough to skip past them (if it's a video advert between levels) or to ignore them during the game. Rovio plans to launch an advertising-free, paid-for version at some point in the future.
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