Game: Angry Birds
Developer: Rovio Mobile
Published By: Chillingo/Clickgamer Media
Available On: iOS, Android, PlayStation 3 & PSP (Reviewed on PSP and PlayStation 3)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a while, you’ll almost certainly know what Angry Birds is, but just in case, let’s briefly indulge! Angry Birds is a simple puzzler that requires nothing more than you aiming different types of birds at green pigs (that have stolen your eggs) and trying to destroy them and their ever more elaborate hiding places/shelters. It’s not really a stretch to describe Angry Birds as a “phenomenon”, with the title slowly but surely creeping onto every platform going and having its own range of merchandise. There are even rumours of a television series in the future!
Is it worth your hard earned money to grab Angry Birds for PSP? Read on to find out!
STORY: Angry Birds isn’t exactly a story heavy title and all it really involves is you (as the birds) trying to get your eggs back from the (green!) pigs, whilst causing as much destruction as possible along the way. There are a few short cut-scenes that tell this story, but really, don’t expect Shakespearian Sonnets hidden in here.
GRAPHICS: If you are playing Angry Birds on a PSP, you’ll find it akin to any of the other portable variants of the title out there. Crisp and clean, colourful and bright, Angry Birds is pretty to look at and it’s really not difficult to see why the title has captured so many people’s imaginations as it exudes humour and charm at every corner. It is only when you play the game on a PlayStation 3 that issues occur.
The easiest way to sum the experience of playing Angry Birds on a PlayStation 3 is to say that you can tell it wasn’t really designed to be played that way. It’s obvious even to the untrained eye that the visuals are intended for smaller screens. When the game is blown up to higher resolution for a non-handheld console you can see a fair few jagged edges and some slightly blurry visuals at time. It’s important to note that it doesn’t look so bad as to stop you playing this way and maybe an arguement could be made that Angry Birds is by its very design, a game to be played on the go, but given that the option is there to play on the PlayStation 3, it’s a shame it’s not as crisp looking as when played on a PSP.
SOUND: If you played any version of Angry Birds before, you’ll know exactly what to expect in the sound department, mostly because it seems lifted exactly from the previous incarnations. Chirpy and comical, the sound will bring a smile to your face, even if it is a little bit sparse at times.
GAMEPLAY: Obviously neither the PSP or PlayStation 3 are touch screen devices, which means in this respect, Angry Birds “Mini” is different to versions on other formats. Using the left stick to aim your bird, you can either let go of the stick to fling the bird forwards or hit the “X” button to do the same thing. The trigger buttons pan the camera left and right, whilst holding them simultaneously gives you a full zoomed out view of the action.
The other biggest change to the gameplay is the “Golden Eggs”. These hidden eggs are found throughout the game (there is even one for watching to the end of the credits) and are short bonuses, either in the form of a level or (at first) a rather confusing still image on the screen. People unfamiliar with the Golden Eggs that aren’t just bonus levels may find these very confusing and not really have a clue what to do. On touch screen versions of these bonus levels, it feels a little more obvious because of the tactile feedback that is inherent to the format. However, when you are stuck with buttons and joysticks you really just have to “have a fiddle” until you work it out.
For example, one of the Golden Egg levels is a still shot of an eagle. Inside the eagle’s mouth is a golden egg, though you can’t see it initially of course. Now, on the touch screen versions you just literally “open” it’s mouth to retrieve the egg, but in this version you have to hold triangle whilst also holding “down” on the d-pad/analog stick.
There are other negatives to the “Minis” version of Angry Birds. Restarting levels isn’t as instantaneous as other version and there isn’t nearly as much content as the iOS version, which has been updated a multitude of times to bring new content and improvements along the way. That said, there are no glaring faults, even if you’ve played another variant of the title before. It’s a nice bonus that the PlayStation Minis range allow you to have (and play) the game on both PSP and PlayStation 3.
LONGEVITY: Containing 195 levels and 7 Golden Egg levels, Angry Birds Mini should keep you going for quite some time. Mastering the levels entirely with 3 stars will take you a while and finding all the hidden golden eggs adds a welcome diversion to proceedings. All in all, there’s plenty of content to entertain you for the small outlay of £2.49.
VERDICT: Angry Birds for PSP is not the definitive version of the title (that honour probably goes to the iPad version), but it is a fun diversion to pick up and play for a few minutes at a time whether you choose to have it on your PSP or the PlayStation 3. If you haven’t played Angry Birds before and have an iOS device, it’d be remiss of us not to suggest you start there. However, if you have no other way of playing the game, this is definitely a great chance to see what everyone has been talking about.