Angry Birds review
We review the App Store phenomenon that is the Angry Birds. Can this top-selling iPhone game live up to its hype? We've got five stars here that say it can...
The word 'phenomenon' gets bandied around a bit too easily these days - especially when Apple is involved - but that's the only word that comes to mind when describing the iPhone game Angry Birds.
It's topped the paid App Store games charts in some 20 countries including the UK and US while generating average reader review scores of over 4.8 out of 5. So what's all the fuss about?
Well at first glance you might think not that much.
The angry birds of the title are incensed with some green round-face pigs who have nicked their eggs for a fry-up. The pigs are holed up in various rickety buildings made of glass, stone and wood blocks.
For some reason these birds can't fly but do have access to a catapult - which they use to fling themselves in such a way that they land and break down the defences and crush the porkers.
But as so often in these games it's not the premise that matters, it's the magic conjunction of easily understood gameplay and hidden depths.
Your only controls may be the angle of flight and the backpull of the catapult - both of which you decide with your finger. But combine those with vast range of ways the buildings can collapse in on themselves and you have an irresistible combination of outcomes.
Crucially your last flightpath remains on screen as a dotted line - giving you the opportunity to learn from your past attempt rather just randomly throwing Hail Marys (a US football term there for a desperate pass into nowhere). To paraphrase the comic Harry Hill when talking about crack cocaine: "It's very more-ish."
As your progress through the levels you get access to different types of birds, each with their own special talents. There are also a variety of hidden easter eggs dotted around the 105 levels, along with an online leaderboard and Twitter/Facebook boasting capabilities.
As if that wasn't enough - the presentation is absolutely first class. The birds sound delightfully like a convention of Muttleys, cheering a successful launch and getting lairy when they miss. The graphics - though simple - are perfectly pitched. And the attention to detail is evident in the 2-minute cartoon created for the back story that wouldn't look out of place in Pixar's portfolio.
Is that not enough for you? OK - it only costs a measly 59 pence. For the price of a Bounty bar you can get weeks if not months, of first-class entertainment. Now go and buy it or I'll be the one getting angry and reaching for a catapult...