If you’re a kid – or at least a big kid – then there’s nothing more satisfying than flinging small objects across the room in order to hit other objects and send them flying in a million different directions. All of that is even more satisfying when they items you’re launching are some of your favourite characters. It comes as no surprise to learn that toy giant Hasbro knew exactly who their target demographic is when designing Angry Birds: Star Wars – Jenga Hoth, combining the licenses of Star Wars with that of Angry Birds, then throwing in a dubious amount of Jenga, to create a game whose emphasis on destruction is certain to be the centre of any play session it’s involved in. But does the fact that something is entertaining to destroy make it inherently good on the whole?
The gameplay in Angry Birds: Star Wars – Jenga Hoth, similar to all of the other games in Hasbros Angry Birds: Star Wars – Jenga series of games, involves tasking the player with launching characters (in this case a snowsuit clad Luke Skywalker) into a structure containing one or two of the included Snowtrooper pigs in an attempt to knock it down. Points are generated based on how many pigs you were able to knock down with each turn and whether or not you were able to totally decimate the structure within your allotted number of catapult launches.
At the start of each new game, the player must roll the two dices that are included in the pack. One of these dices have an image of which structure you’re going to have to create using the Jenga blocks, and the other dice will display how many turns you’ve got at knocking the whole thing down. Once you’ve got the structure set up with the pigs in place, you’re ready to go, so all that’s left to do is place the Luke Skywalker bird onto the Snowspeeder shaped catapult and let fly. It may seem simple at first, but getting the trajectory of the catapult right (especially if you’ve made things challenging for yourself and set up the target structure far away) is rather difficult, most people will spend a good couple of their turns figuring out just how far to pull the catapult back in order to hit things; the first time you do hit it though, it gives an immense feeling of joy and achievement.
Playing the game on your own isn’t a problem either, with play just changing into being more about taking the enemy down in the least number of launches, rather than trying to rack up any amount of points. That being said, although there are a couple of game modes described in the instruction manual, most kids will be able to think up a plethora of other ways to play too; such is a child’s imagination. It didn’t take me long to start making things more difficult by launching birds further and further, or setting up the target structure on the coffee table and launch the birds over the couch, much to the chagrin of my wife when I hit the TV a few times. The models themselves are made of soft rubber, however, so even if they do hit something, they’re unlikely to do any lasting damage, although the rubber coating does mean that you’ll spend a lot of your play time chasing the birds around if you’re playing on a hard floor.
VERDICT: If you’re a fan of both the Angry Birds and the Star Wars licenses then Angry Birds: Star Wars – Jenga Hoth is at least worth a look. The game doesn’t take too long to set up, although you will have to contend with having to find the pieces again once you’ve knocked them all over the room. It’s a fun game to pull out from time to time but, unless it really is your cup of tea, then I can’t imagine people getting it out and setting it up for sessions any longer than a couple of minutes at a time. Still, there have been worse uses of the Star Wars brand.