Angry Birds may have been one of the most anticipated Windows Phone games. Most are familiar with the game as it's been available for some time on other platforms. While I've played my fair share of Angry Birds on other platforms, it was nice (almost refreshing) to see the popular game come to the Windows Phone platform.
For those not familiar with the game, evil pigs have stolen the birds eggs and have angered the feathered population. Negotiations fail and to arms (or wings) the birds go. The pigs fortify their positions with sticks, rocks, and anything else they can get their hoofs on. Your mission is to destroy the pigs by hurling an assortment of birds at them from a slingshot. You work your way through the various levels to eventually take on the pig king.
Sounds easy, right? Shoot on past the break to see how the Windows Phone version of Angry Birds measures up.
Angry Birds for the Windows Phone isn't much different than any other version of the game. Angry Birds is an XBox Live game that integrates your scores and achievements with your XBox Live profile.
From the main menu you can launch the game, check the leader board and achievements and access Angry Birds YouTube videos. When you launch the game, you'll see four chapters (plus a Golden Egg bonus chapter) and within each chapter you have various levels that will progressively unlock as you complete them. Once you complete the first chapter, the second, third and fourth chapters unlock. All in all, there's 165 levels of play throughout the four chapters to Angry Birds.
The gaming screen is consistent with other versions. You have your high score for that level and current score displayed in the top right corner with a pause button in the left corner. When the game is paused, you have the options to re-start the level, access the chapter level menu, mute the sounds, and access the help section.
Stage left you will find your sling shot and supply of birds to shoot and to the right is the enemy fortifications. There are several different types of birds ranging from the red bird that has no special abilities to the toucan that will boomerang around when you tap the screen to attack the pigs from behind. Each level varies in the number of birds you can use and the types of birds become available as you progress through the levels.
To shoot your birds at the pigs, you tap, hold and pull back on the sling shot. The further you pull, the more power is applied to the shot and you slide your finger up/down to determine the trajectory. A dotted line will appear marking the flight of your last shot to help you gauge your next shot.
You score points as you destroy the pigs and their fortifications. At the end of the level, your performance is measured in stars based on your overall destruction of the pig forts. The more destruction, the higher the score and the more stars earned.
Should you fail to destroy all the pigs, not only will you hear the mocking laughter from the pigs but you'll receive notification that you failed that level. From there you can re-start the level or return to the chapter menu.
The pace of the game is interrupted at various stages with story boards that illustrate the underlying story of the game. Some reflect victory by the birds or continued misbehavior by the pigs.
For the most part, Angry Birds for the Windows Phone ran smoothly. There is one small bug in the game that freezes the camera pan. As you shoot your birds, the camera view pans with the shot and then the screen pans back to the sling shot once the shot is done. Every now and again, this panning motion freezes. While it doesn't happen enough to be a deal breaker, when it does happen it can mess up the timing of shots.
While I've played Angry Birds on other platforms, for some reason the Windows Phone version didn't feel stale. It's virtually the same game but it felt rejuvenated being on the Windows Phone. Maybe it was because the game has finally come to my platform of choice but I found it hard to put the game down after I downloaded it.
Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 is basically the same enjoyable game we've seen on other platforms. The one feature missing that I would have liked to have seen carried over is the Mighty Eagle. The Mighty Eagle is used when you get stumped on a particular level. The Eagle swoops down and wipes everything out.
I'm also a little surprised that Rovio didn't do something special for the Windows Phone version. Android got the Rio version and the iOS fans have the holiday editions. Hopefully we'll see more chapters added to Angry Birds on down the line.
Overall, I found Angry Birds for the Windows Phone just as entertaining and addictive as the other versions I've played. Hopefully the first update will take care of the camera panning issue and the game will continue to grow with new chapters. As is, Angry Birds is a welcomed addition to the Windows Phone gaming library.
There is a free trial version available for Angry Birds and the full version is running $2.99. You can download both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
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