The Angry Birds license has become something of a beast. Not only are there multiple incarnations of the original video game, but there are multiple different physical board games with the name attached to them too. Some of those games play as you would expect an Angry Birds game to play, such as the previously reviewed Angry Birds: Star Wars – Death Star Jenga, while other games don’t involve flinging birds around at all, so their connections to the Angry Birds license are dubious at best. Angry Birds: Star Wars – Millennium Falcon Bounce Game is one such game, tasking you with bouncing painted ping-pong balls at a Millennium Falcon model and hoping to score points by knocking down cardboard cut-outs of the various pig types. You might well be knocking down pigs in some form, but it’s arguably so different from Angry Birds that it shouldn’t even be named as such.
As previously mentioned, the main gameplay mechanic in Angry Birds: Star Wars – Millennium Falcon Bounce Game (from now on I’ll just call it Millennium Falcon Bounce) is to bounce ping-pong balls – which are painted to look like the Angry Birds: Star Wars heroes Han Solo, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker – towards the model of the Millennium Falcon and score points based on what you knock down. For example, knocking down one of the three pigs positioned around the model will net you a tidy 1,000 points, while getting a ball into the centre target will get you 3,000 points, and landing one in the cockpit – which is quite an achievement – will score a huge 5,000 points. Players take it in turns to throw all three balls and the model and pigs are all reset after each turn. The winner is the first person to 30,000 points.
One of the benefits of Millennium Falcon Bounce is that after you’ve set it up for the first time – applying the stickers and bits of cardboard – the model can be put back into the box without disassembling it again, which means that whenever you want to give it a quick go, you can do so without spending ages setting the game up in the first place. For me, something as simple as that gives it an automatic benefit over the previously reviewed Angry Birds: Star Wars board game, and pretty much guarantees that I’ll be pulling Millennium Falcon Bounce off of the shelf a lot more often than I would be Death Star Jenga. The only real negative to the build quality of the Millennium Falcon would be the cockpit, a section of the model that has a tendency to fall off in the middle of a game causing minor annoyance. It’s not a big deal, but it’s something that I noticed with even a first play so I can imagine it getting rather frustrating with extended sessions. Another downside is that the characters are just ping-pong balls, and while this isn’t a problem – and they bounce well, which is the point of the game – if a player were to accidentally stand on them, crushing them, the piece would be useless as it’s almost impossible to get a ping-pong ball back into its original shape.Rubber balls that retain their shape a little better would have been a better choice.
You’re also able to play Millennium Falcon Bounce on your own if you so wish, although the gameplay has to change slightly to accommodate the lower player count. In the “single player mode”, instead of trying to reach 30,000 points, you have to score the most amount of points in just three balls. The maximum number of points your can score in three turns is 15,000 – getting three balls into the cockpit – so this presents a rather tough challenge, and one that’s rather fun to attempt. Having the option to play in a single player mode in a game that is clearly intended for at least two is a nice addition, and highly commendable.
VERDICT: Angry Birds: Star Wars – Millennium Falcon Bounce Game is an impressive game which is rather run to play. The amount of enjoyment you’re able to garner from such simple pieces is rather astounding, although it’s difficult to see any reason to brand the game as Angry Birds other than the benefit to sales. Sure, you’re tasked with taking pigs out using birds, but it’s using a method that’s so removed from “traditional” Angry Birds game mechanics that it’s almost unrecognisable. The game is fun to play though, and easy to set up, so if you don’t mind collecting ping-pong balls from all corners of the room, as well as risking standing on them and ruining them completely, then you’ll probably get a good few enjoyable hours out of Millennium Falcon Bounce.