Retry Review

Retry Review

Nov 5, 2014

Rovio isn’t just a company making games – specifically making Angry Birds games. It also published games from other developers, like the game Retry.

It wouldn’t do the game Retry justice by calling it a Flappy Bird clone. Maybe that game brought a new genre of mobile games upon us, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. In case of Flappy Bird, well, there was a lot to wish for. You know, like, better, more responsive controls, for instance. Or how ’bout an hit detection that actually makes sense. Stuff like that.

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Over the past few months, we’ve seen, and sadly: I’ve played, a lot of games within the same ‘one button gameplay’-genre, otherwise known as Flappy Bird clones. They all had something different than the original. Better controls, colorful environments, a hit detection that actually makes sense or even game modes or gameplay interpretations we thought we’d never see with this kind of gameplay.

Enter Retry, a new ‘one tap’ game, published by Rovio. it is a game where you control a plane across a level. The thing it, it only starts its engine, when you tap the screen. If you hold the screen, the plane will go up, making a looping as a result. By slowly tapping the plane, you’ll see it will actually glide along the clouds and bushes, on its way to the end of the level (where you can land as you see fit).

The controls of Retry are brilliant. It did not took a long time to get used to them and within minutes, I was flying the plane like I intended to do. It really felt I was controlling it and that is an important aspect of this genre. Also: the hit detection made sense. Literally everything you touch is deadly, except for the runway of course, but it was always fair in my eyes.

The game has plenty of levels and challenges you can complete, so there is enough to do. In those levels, there are even checkpoints you can activate by spending an in-game coin. Coins you can collect during flight (there is always one easy to grab) or can buy from the menu. But I never felt forced to do so. Fun is what matters in this game – so give it a try. Even if you hate Flappy Bird.

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.

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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.

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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 Space Review

Angry Birds Space Review

Mar 22, 2012

Angry Birds Space is exactly what it says it is. It’s Angry Birds in space. Not even gravity or the lack thereof can change what it is at its core – for better or for worse.

For those living under a rock or in a comatose state the past two and a half years, Angry Birds is a physics puzzler where players must launch birds with different properties at pigs, who are positioned both on and in structures of wood, stone, and ice. The goal is to destroy all the pigs before running out of birds, and to score enough points to try and collect three stars in each level.

Of course, everyone probably knows that because the Angry Birds franchise is absolutely gargantuan. The big twist here in Angry Birds Space is that the game takes place in space, which means that various levels of gravity come in to play. Levels incorporate the alteration of gravity in two ways. First is that there are zero-gravity sections, where objects travel in a straight line, losing no momentum unless they hit an object. Second, some moons will have their own gravitational field that can be used in various ways, like either pulling a pig from zero-G to fall to his doom, or for a bird’s flight to be altered by flying around it. Some levels actually play more like traditional Angry Birds levels, taking place entirely inside a gravitational field.

The gravity switching is a neat trick, and it’s the heart of this game. The new wrinkle brings some creative new levels to the process, yet it does all feel very consistent, and it still feels like Angry Birds. The controls are still effective and easy to use, and the physics engine is top-notch, even with all the new gravity effects. Everything feels like it works the way it should, and that’s especially important here, where things do get all topsy-turvy. Due to all the new gravity effects, the dotted line showing the expected flight path appears to be extended. It helps out a lot with understanding what the birds are going to do, considering that the different gravities can be confusing.

Tablet owners will be glad to know that the game runs perfectly on the high-resolution devices. My Samsung Captivate, a 2010 phone, runs the game extremely smoothly as well , so I must say that Rovio has done an excellent job at optimization. I’m also rather impressed and satisfied that they managed to launch it on Android simultaneously with iOS, instead of the typical delay between platforms. There’s the ad-supported version on Google Play and Amazon Appstore, and an ad-free one on the Amazon Appstore with a special Kindle Fire version as well; the ads are non-obtrustive, so going with the free one is my call.

What I am curious about with Angry Birds Space is how the casual audience is going to react, and if they’ll enjoy it the way they have with previous iterations of the series. With the way that gravity doesn’t the same thing in one level to another, it can get confusing because while the physics engine ensures everything works the way it ‘should’, the way it should work is not entirely clear! Granted, this is largely a matter of perception, and figuring out what effects are going on by looking around the level and becoming acclimated to it all, but understanding the physics is a more involved process than it was in any of the other games.

I would love to see more of the golden Eggsteroid levels that pay homage to classic video games like Super Mario Bros. and Arkanoid, especially those Arkanoid ones as they really mess with the core physics of the game in an interesting way. The free version seems to be missing the “Danger Zone” levels that are unlocked in the iOS versions.

As well, the gameplay is really just the same as it was in its previous iterations. The gravity’s different, and the birds behave a little differently, but it’s still Angry Birds at its heart. The “launch birds at pigs” formula just can’t change that much. It’s still a good formula, and I had fun with it, but it’s clear to me now that no matter where in the universe this game goes, it will always be the same.

Angry Birds will love this game because of what it is. It’s sixty-plus new levels full of more pigs to launch birds at, and the new gravity effects are legitimately interesting to play around with. It is more complex than the other games, but that’s a good thing for the future of the franchise, to have an iteration that sticks out a bit. The older versions aren’t going away, and they actually got new levels recently as well. Those sick of Angry Birds might enjoy the new gravity effects for a short period of time, and to see how they change things up, but this is still Angry Birds, and altered states of gravity can’t change that.