Yesterday, Angry Birds Space became the first Windows Phone 8 game available for purchase. While its appearance may have disappointed those Windows Phone 7 gamers who can’t upgrade to WP8 anytime soon, Space is exactly what WP8 needed to kick off its bid to seriously compete with iOS and Android. Sure, the game arrived about 7 months later than on competing platforms, but it’s timed perfectly with Microsoft’s new mobile OS launch.
Today Windows Phone Angry Birds fans discovered even better news. Angry Birds Star Wars, first announced for Windows Phone alongside every other version on October 8, has just launched for Xbox on Windows Phone 8. That’s right, day and date with the iOS and Android versions! That’s a far cry from the days when Rovio almost couldn’t be bothered to even announce a WP version, let alone support WP7 Angry Birds with the same updates as the other platforms.
An avian galaxy far, far away
Angry Birds Star Wars is more than just a crossover. It’s Rovio’s attempt at reaching gamers who don’t care about Angry Birds – gamers like yours truly, if we’re being honest. And further enhancing this version’s cred with geeks and hardcore gamers, it’s based on the original Star Wars film, not the generally loathed prequel films.
At launch, Angry Birds Star Wars packs 80 levels of pig-busting fun, with free Hoth levels teased for the future. The new stages start out on Tatooine, where Luke Skywalker first met the creepy, err kindly old man who pointed him to his destiny, and travel through movie locations all the way to the Death Star. Some levels take place on ground and resemble traditional Angry Birds stages, while others happen in low-gravity space environments, just like yesterday’s Angry Birds Space.
Heroes and villains
The best addition to Angry Birds Star Wars is undoubtedly the Star Wars-themed characters. Each bird is based on a classic character, and they even have unique abilities from the films. After firing Luke, you can tap the screen to make him swirl his lightsaber, while Han can fire three blaster shots wherever the player aims. It adds a new layer of control and strategy to the series that is sometimes looked upon as too simple by many gamers. Fan-favorite characters R2D2 and C3PO made the cut as well, but they’re only available in levels unlocked by reaching star milestones or finding hidden eggs.
Don’t think the bad guys are just pigs in this installment. Well, they are still pigs, but now they’re dressed as imperial forces and popular villains. Players will fling the heroic birds at such villains as Stormtroopers, sand people, Darth Vader, and the Emperor. Darth Vader even uses the force to levitate blocks into the player’s path; take him out and the blocks plummet.
The other versions of Angry Birds Star Wars offer a few forms of PDLC from the start, including a ‘Path of the Jedi’ level pack and limited access to the Mighty Falcon (based on the Millennium Falcon). So far, we’re not seeing the option to purchase these goodies in the WP8 game, putting it at a slight disadvantage. Perhaps Microsoft is revising their PDLC model for WP8 and hasn’t settled on new payment options yet. If we’ve just overlooked the PDLC options in this version, let us know, faithful readers!
Into the garbage chute, flyboy!
Windows Phone 8 players, your only exclusive gaming options right now are Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars. Space has 150 levels of bird flinging while Star Wars offers just 80. But with clever artistic design and a theme beloved by many, Angry Birds Star Wars might just be the one to get. Of course, Star Wars costs only 99 cents – the same price as the iOS game – so buying both won’t break the bank.
Get Angry Birds Star Wars for Windows Phone 8 here at the Windows Phone Store. No, this game will not play on Windows Phone 7 devices. Yes, upgrading to WP8 as soon as possible is a terrific idea.
Thanks, everyone, for the tips!