Publisher: Activision | Developer: Rovio Entertainment
When one of the biggest film franchises in cinema history joins forces with one of the biggest gaming phenomenons in recent years, you know there’s going to be quite a lot of pressure to get things right. Luckily, Angry Birds Star Wars does just that. Only trouble being that it demands £35 for the privilege that would cost only £2 on iPad.
Cynics will look at the link up between George Lucas’ seminal work and Rovio’s mobile gaming powerhouse as nothing more than a thinly veiled rehash aimed at skimming little cash from two very different fan groups and, to be fair, that sounds like a pretty accurate description. However, that’s not to say it isn’t often good fun.
At its basest level, this is Angry Birds, plain and simple. You strap a bird into a catapult, aim and fire at a varying number of pigs in the hope of destroying them and moving onto the next level. The fewer birds you use, the better your score. The addition of some fine control from your Xbox controller or the option to use Kinect adds a little to the package, but not much.
Between levels, which are based on locations like Tatooine and the Death Star, there are cutscenes of famous sequences from the movies that can occasionally raise a smile. So long as you’re amused by Red Bird cosplaying as Luke Skywalker, Bomb Bird playing Obi-Wan and Matilda (the white bird) as C3PO. It’s a playful element that classic Angry Birds is known for, and keeps many fans coming back when the key objectives rarely change.
What may interest gamers, though, are the challenges that come from trying to take out the pigs in outer space. Planets have a trajectory-tricking gravitational pull (or is it a tractor beam?) and asteroid belts block your path. It adds a whole new dimension to the game, which may well lead to joy and frustration in equal measure.
It works very well on the Xbox One with the improved left trigger allowing for sensitive adjustments and the load times when you inevitably screw up and restart are non-existent. But we can see no justification for the price tag this game carries. Even if Rovio had included the more recent Angry Birds: Star Wars II in this package, it still wouldn’t be worth this much and the HD visuals and multiplayer don’t enhance the experience enough to make up that £33 difference either.