Battle Bay Review

Battle Bay Review

May 31, 2017

As the Rovio universe continues to expand, we get to see more and more concepts from the minds that brought us the first batch of angry, vengeful avians, and I believe we are richer for it.

Welcome to Battle Bay, where birds do their battling on water.

And these birds don’t seem pacified just yet, by the way…

Rovio generally does graphics well, and this one is no exception. It glitzy without being overdone, with a lot of attention paid to animations and physics, just like we’d expect. It uses color well, and manages to be playful and life-like at the same time. The controls are easy to manage, and work well with the landscape orientation; shooting and direction can be controlled with both thumbs.

The visual and audio aspects are a great gateway.

And what do we get by way of action? Team battling, of course. The player gets to select a personal, armed boat, join a random team and take on another team in a war of attrition. Yep, shoot and/or be shot… basically take the enemy out before your team is decimated.


And this where the controls are important. The virtual joystick is important, so that you can move, avoid fire and find opponents to get at. Shooting is somewhat automated, but requires a steady hand, plus a willingness to adjust so as to finish off fleeing enemies.

When one faction is dead, the battle is over, and it’s time to collect the bounty. These goodies — game cash, parts and the like — allow for upgrades and crafting, which are necessary to be more effective at battling. It’s a symbiotic system that works fairly well.

There are guilds, tasks and different modes to try out. real cash can be used to expedite operations, but isn’t necessary.

It’s a fun ride, almost surprisingly so, and has us wondering what else Rovio has cooking.

We’re hungry.

Iconic Hip-Hop Group De La Soul Drops New Track for ‘Angry Birds Action’ Update

Iconic Hip-Hop Group De La Soul Drops New Track for ‘Angry Birds Action’ Update

Jul 13, 2016

Ha ha hey…

De La Soul, one of the most successful synonyms for longevity in the music industry, is helping along Rovio’s pinball caper/movie tie-in game Angry Birds Action! with its current update.

Almost more noteworthy is the fact that each of the three members of De La Soul is also getting a “birdified” characterization and will be appearing in this refresh in a limited time event.

More on “The Big Pig Update” is below:

The Big Pig Update to Angry Birds Action! treats players to a new De La Soul track “Action,” specially composed by the group for the game. The update also brings a one-week event hosted by the hip-hop pioneers in their birdified form, granting all players unlimited energy as a special power. “Action” marks the first time De La Soul have created music specially for a game.

Additionally, the Big Pig Update adds 90 completely new levels and unlocks Piggy Island for all players. Previously, the Piggy Island area in the game could only be unlocked by going to see The Angry Birds Movie in theaters.

Fascinating stuff; per the press release, we hear De La Soul also has a new album coming out — the first time in more than a decade.

Angry Bird Action! remains free (with in-app purchasing) on Google Play; check out our review.

Angry Birds 2 Review

Angry Birds 2 Review

Aug 12, 2015

Angry Birds dropped on the mobile gaming scene and all but created a new genre of game. An entire generation of folks got lost in the infinite charm of bringing avian justice to wayward pigs.

What followed the original is an entire stable of spin-offs and branded versions: Star Wars, Rio, Go! and more.

Now, we get a “true” sequel to original blockbuster in Angry Birds 2. The pigs are just as insolent, the birds as, uh, angry and the game begs to be played.

While it is pretty much impossible to play this and not compare t to the original, we’re going to pretend to try. Visually, it looks familiar, with rich graphics and fluid animations. One can zoom in and zoom out to a degree, and the animated structure build-ups are a nice touch.

Gameplay involves using a bird with special abilities to take out a structure with pigs; the more damage to pigs and the structure, the better one scores. Using less birds is optimal as well. In this iteration of the game, there are elements like “rooms” within levels, a card meter, daily quests and more. One interesting piece is the presence of an energy requirement; burning up too many attempts causes one to run out of lives, and hey can be replenished over time or with real money via in-app purchase.


So, it brings a lot of the stuff from the original, with a few nice extra touches here and there, helping the experience to be familiar without being a rehash. The birds are familiar in their abilities, and how they can generally be powered by tapping: speed, telekinesis, multiplication, explosion and such. There are boss pigs too.

The energy requirement is a bit of a drag, but such is the nature of free-to-play games, and it’s hard to begrudge developers a viable means of monetizing. There’s also offers to watch stuff to double rewards.

All in all, it’s a fun refresh, full of some surprises — and mostly of the good kind.

Angry Birds Fight! Review

Angry Birds Fight! Review

Jun 19, 2015

Angry Birds were first released in 2009 – six years ago. It’s literally a thousand years in internet time. Although the franchise has long been erased from the collective memory, the games are still being released, and judging by Angry Birds Fight, they’re still going quite strong.

Angry Birds Fight is a simple match-three arcade with some fighting flavor thrown in for a good measure. The player picks one of the birds that have different abilities and stats, and fights against other players in a simple 1v1 matchmaking multiplayer. The task is to get more of attack and defense boosts than your opponent until the time runs out. After this, the birds fight each other and the winning bird gets experience, gold and possibly – some items as well. Defeating a certain amount of enemies allows the player to fight against AI pig boss that, when defeated, will open a new location and spawn some random accessories as well.

The match-three mechanics don’t really do anything different to any other similar, arcades, the only difference being that the players can mess each others’ boards by making different combos, erasing four or five blocks at once. The inventory system is really unoriginal, and while it provides some variety, I found it a bit cumbersome for simple gameplay of Angry Birds Fight. Really, the whole game has too many elements and would work a lot better as a simple multiplayer match-three arcade without the lengthy campaign and useless ship battles.

Angry Birds Fight is surprisingly balanced, if you don’t count the obnoxiousness that is its FTP restrictions. While Angry Birds Fight 2the gameplay itself is rather skill-based – at least for the time I’ve played it – there’s the whole package of the free-to-play elements, including the gems, the item upgrading, and the energy shtick, which is as repugnant as it always was. But, if you’re okay with playing up to fifteen minutes at a time, the game is rather enjoyable.

Overall, it’s another game, ruined by corporate greed and desire to have the same elements that the popular kids have. Angry Birds Fight could be a really great, simple game with good design, just like original Angry Birds were, but it’s sinking under the weight of the obligation to include every single FTP mechanic there is.

Angry Birds Stella POP! Review

Angry Birds Stella POP! Review

Apr 17, 2015

Angry Birds Stella POP!, eh? Alrighty.

If you’re casually wondering where Rovio is headed with this title, you’re probably not alone; this one manages to meld match-3, bubble popping and the familiar catapulted avians looking to get back at gruesomely smiling pigs and/or free cutesy animals. The methodology is fairly simple, and somewhat defined by its presentation.

In true Rovio fashion, there is an emphasis on expressive graphics and vivid coloration, with leafy themes and smooth animations. Unlike the traditional Angry Birds games, this one is oriented in portrait, such that a player is projecting from the “bottom” upwards, and the device sides serve as rebounding walls. It is an inventive-looking game that is in parts familiar and relatively fresh, and generally keeps the player’s attention at the start.

The basic premise of the leveled gameplay calls for launching bubbles into a maze of bubbles that pop2generally suspend a dastardly pig or two in airborne safety, or are restraining compatriots. The color of the bubbles vary, and the idea is to pop pockets of bubbles by making contact with a like-colored projectile. “Three” is the magic number here, and when enough restraining bubbles are done away with, whatever is suspended drops, which is pretty much the object of the game.

The game has an arcade feel; there are power-up birdy projectiles that can be activated by streaks, and different aspects to the gameplay (like a limited amount of projectiles, or variations in the puzzle structure) that add to the potential for fun. There is a tweaked, fillable version of the renown three-star grading system too, so that a player can look to repeat levels in the quest for absolute perfection.

Failure has costs, as there is a set number of lives, and this all but boils down to an energy requirement. This can be overcome with time or real money.

It plays well, and is helped by the fact that it is simple. There is a lot of variation within the same system, and it all ties together nicely. As with most Angry Birds games, said simplicity might also be a drawback, but the game works.

Angry Birds Transformers Review

Angry Birds Transformers Review

Nov 4, 2014

When this game was first announced, I didn’t know what to expect from it. But now I’ve played, I like it a lot. Because of two contradicting things.

I followed the announcement. I followed the news stories as they came. But it never became clear to me what to expect from Angry Birds Transformers. Well, now that I’ve played, I can truly say that I enjoyed it a lot. Angry Birds Transformers is a special game in my opinion. And a good one, because of two contracting gameplay elements. The running and shooting and the massacre of the green pigs.


Thankfully, the character (otherwise known as the birds disguised as robots in disguise) walks automatically. That is such a good design choice – it made the game that much playable. During the endless running, you shoot at the pigs in the back or evade falling structures. It is really chaotic gameplay. And if we needed to control running as well, I think it would be unplayable. So, good job, Rovio!

You shoot by tapping on the enemy or structure. In old Angry Birds fashions it is possible to let a structure collapse, killing all the green pigs (disguised as robots… you know what I mean) in it. It is the base of the Angry Birds franchise, melted into this action packed game – and it doesn’t feel unwelcome. It feels like a solid gameplay element instead, making shooting something strategic instead of mindless.

The game is free-to-play, so there had to be a money making model. In this case, it is the upgrade system. Sometimes, it is (nearly) impossible to complete a level without upgrading. And you need coins for that. Which you can buy, of course. And whether you bought them or not, there is also a waiting period for the upgrade to install. Of which you can speed up the process by spending money. Or you can wait.

It does, however, takes the word ‘fast’ out of this fast action packed game and that is a shame. Also: shooting sometimes feels kinda random and not really precise. But those are the only stains on this game. Well, if you can get past the part of the Transformers franchise being used within the Angry Birds franchise. Put that pride away and give this game a chance. I know for sure it is well worth your time.

Angry Birds Stella Review

Angry Birds Stella Review

Sep 11, 2014

The new Angry Birds Stella game just came and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to give the birds a swing again. Only this time, we’re swinging female birds with more tactics at their disposal.


With every new Angry Birds installment I always ask myself: what did Rovio do this time to not make me think this game is just like the one before? The gravity mechanic in Angry Birds Space was a first for me, thinking the developer actually did something to improve the basics of the game. And now, I’ve got the same feeling. Angry Birds Stella is, to be very direct, a new Angry Birds game that builds upon the basics of the core of the franchise and really offers something new.

Then again, it isn’t that drastic of a difference, of course. Because we’re still sling-shotting birds across the screen in order to get rid of those nasty little green pigs, but this time around, players get a different move set all together to play with. The different kind of female birds all have their own unique ability to experiment with and, while the controls are almost the same, it really does offer some unique gameplay mechanics for the series. Nothing really ground breaking, but it works.

Angry Birds Stella offers a story as well. At first I was like: why does this game have a story. But then I understood: it offered the developer some room for improvement in terms of boss fights. Well, not really boss fights, but levels that are more challenging than the levels before, but not as hard as the levels after it. It really fits with the story, whether I think the game needs it or not. If one can clear those levels with just one, flying, female bird, they are true Angry Birds masters.

And the game offers more stuff. Players can get one of those Telepods and with these things, they can unlock the other characters (but just by playing the game, you can do that too). And there is even stuff to collect besides the proven three star rating. Overall, Angry Birds Stella genuinely feels more balanced than any other Angry Birds title out there and it definitly feels like the developer put a lot of effort into making this game. Angry Birds Stella is a fun experience which many of us can enjoy.

Angry Birds Epic Review

Angry Birds Epic Review

Jun 16, 2014

Angry Birds Epic is finally here, in all its official, free-to-play glory.

While the characters will feel familiar, the gameplay is a bit different; this one is a role playing game in conception, and he action is turn-based.

The piggies have not learned their lesson, which is unfortunate. They are still stealing eggs, and the initial red bird forgoes the intricate catapult method of vengeance, and instead dons some medieval-looking gear and takes it to the streets… in a manner of speaking. The first few battles (along with the highlighting done by tutorial) help bring the basic gameplay to life: the protagonist bird faces off against a pig and proceed to consummate a battle of attrition based on alternating moves. The winner is the creature left standing at the end.abe1

The battles are a series of opportunity costs, as one can decide to either attack or fortify oneself on a turn. Attacking is done by drawing a line to the target, which allows for the bird to inflict damage on the enemy. Then, the opponent gets a chance to return the favor.

Instead of attacking, though, it is possible to pick a defensive boost, which serves to parry some damage away. As the gameplay goes on, multiple opponents can appear in a level, and there are wave-type levels and even boss levels as well. On the protagonist side, multiple bird get unlocked as well, so that the battles are a bit more even. One fun element is the ability to transfer attributes from one bird to another. This allows for a bit of strategy to be involved in decision-making.

Winning yields stars, tenders and chances to spin for further goodies. There is a crafting element that exists beyond the fighting. Crafting allows for the creation of consumables and such that make the game more challenging; real money can be used to supplement this.

I do think the crafting portion could be a bit less convoluted, and even the RPG element get a bit busy in places. Still for a deviation from the tried and true, Angry Bird Epic is very, very far from disappointing.

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Halos Fun Review

Halos Fun Review

Dec 9, 2013

PikPok brings mandarin oranges to life in a kid-safe wrapper known as Halos Fun that dares to dream of being even more.

In this one, the mechanics feel a bit like Angry Birds. While there are not any birds or pigs, we do have a catapult to the left, and it is manipulated by dragging on the cutie-laden sling and releasing. Direction and power of launch can be controlled by angling the orange and/or adjusting the virtual tautness of the pull. On the other side, as noted, there are no taunting enemies; instead, raccoons are the enemies, having stolen true halos, and these halos line the right side of the play area. And of course, the less halos needed to clear the halos, the better.

As the game progresses, the halo setups get a bit more complex, with arcade-type bumpers and slides serving as helpers and obstacles at the same time. Some levels are simple affairs; a good strike can set off a sequence of ricochets andhalos1 bounces that clear the section. Other levels need a more measured approach, with timing becoming a major factor the further one goes. There are hidden items to get and also puzzles to solve; such elements help prevent the game from being too one-dimensional.

For every level, reclaiming all the halos with the minimum number of oranges leads to a coveted three-star score. Doing it with more reduces the number of stars proportionately.

Simplicity and familiarity are the games biggest assets. The color scheme is fun and whimsical, and the artwork is bright and engaging, with smiling fruit taking front stage. The animations are smooth, with easy transitions and reasonable graphics.

For a kids game, it helps that there are no in-app purchases to guard against. It is a fun game to try… without or without your child.

Or so I’ve heard…

Bad Piggies Gets An Update for Halloween

Bad Piggies Gets An Update for Halloween

Oct 17, 2013

It’s Halloween time, which means time for mobile games to add content to keep up with the festive cheer. The spinoff to Rovio’s most successful game is getting some new stuff as well, to the tune of 30 new levels in the “Tusk Till Dawn” update.

Along with these 30 spooky and cake oriented new game levels to play on, the pigs are getting creepy masks, and there’s some new tunes available for purchase to rock out to in the game.

Source: Pocketgamer

Angry Birds Star Wars II Review

Angry Birds Star Wars II Review

Oct 3, 2013

There was a time each new a new game in the Angry Birds franchise was met with fanfare. We could not get enough of the raging flyers, the maligned pigs and the catapults. We’ve seen the birds take over Rio, inhabit space, and go George Lucas-y with the force. We even got to see the pigs become protagonists, and bought the plush toys. In our home, there is at least one Angry Birds t-shirt that is worn proudly and regularly.

But it’s 2013. There is no way Angry Birds Star Wars II can continue the streak, is there?

At this point, for most smartphone and/or tablet wielding folks with either a child or parent, the gameplay will be familiar. These birds angrily don the personae of Star War characters again, and are tasked with wrecking Empire structures and lackeys. The main weapons are the propelled birds themselves, injected with kinetic energy via the huge catapult to the left. Basically, the goal is to angle the the flight of the birds to inflict as much damage as abf1possible and destroy each pig. The number of birds available is limited, so a bit of strategy is needed to minimize the use of birds (which maximizes the score, and increases the chances of getting the coveted three-star grade).

In this version of the game, the assumed ambience is what will probably be most appealing. As in the prequel, a lot of Star Wars favorites take on bird characteristics: Luke, Leia, Obi Won Kenobi and more. But, in an interesting twist, it is possible to play as the pigs on the aptly named “Pork Side” and go with double-bladed Darth Maul, for example. In fact, the characterization component is HUGE; besides allowing players to pick a side, it is also possible to import Teleport characters via camera (I didn’t get a chance to try this), and powered characters can be earned and used at will.

In essence, it is a whole lot of the same, but quite a lot of new… mostly enough to keep folks engaged.

It’s 2013… and Rovio still pulls our heartstrings. Darn.

KickStarter Spotlight: Stronghold 2D

KickStarter Spotlight: Stronghold 2D

Aug 28, 2013

With the ever increasing power of modern smartphones mobile graphics are getting more and more console-like, but eventually one must ask if that truly is a good thing. For one, all that rendering further tightens the already short battery leash, and on a 4.5″ screen, how good do the graphics really have to be? Planting themselves firmly into the two dimensional realm, and bucking the trend is the developing troupe behind this week’s KickStarter Spotlight, Stronghold 2D. Placing solid, addictive gameplay over technical prowess Stronghold 2D is some sort of Angry Birds/Worms hybrid. The gameplay is very simple; with two players commanding separate cities that reign weapons of varying degrees of intensity down upon each other. Stackable beams are used to protect the city, and laser defense turrets are just one of the many items at the player’s disposal. As is par for the course for similar games there is a plethora of upgrade options for each building, and these are controlled by an in game currency that is collected by defeating enemies or via mining buildings that require constant attention.

The game boasts a fairly robust 2D physics engine which helps render each impact as realistically as possible. There has also been a lot of attention paid to the control layout here. One of the state pet-peeves of the design team are games that, although graphically superior, have a broken and unintuitive controlling method. This led the team to work on creating the most simple, and user friendly UI and control scheme possible. Initial renderings look fairly good, and the city skyline silhouetted onto the sky makes for a very attractive background. The interesting thing is how these graphics will change when the designers are able to afford an artist to professionally bring these cobbled cities to life.


A few reservations still remain, however, and these center mostly on the, as of now, untested multiplayer component which is the game’s biggest selling point. Also, the UI could use some touching up around the edges without losing any of its practicality. Also, did I mention it is being developed for basically any device with cross-platform matchmaking included? I didn’t? Well, it’s true. Finally Android fans and iOS buffs can lock horns in a virtual arena and even take on that strange Linux friend from across the hall.

As always here, the game will not be funded without support from the fickle internet masses. So check out its KickStarter page and judge weather this creative and potentially addicting multiplayer experience is worthy.