App Review: Angry Birds Rio [video] 14
There are only a few games that have mastered the art of addictive gameplay as well as Rovio Mobile’s instant classic Angry Birds. With the flagship Angry Birds game and the regularly-updated Angry Birds Seasons both out, what’s an enraged avian to do? Sign a movie deal, of course. While Rio (due in theaters April 15) isn’t a movie based on Angry Birds, it’s a movie about birds, so 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky saw fit to make a tie in with Angry Birds happen. What came out of the partnership might be the best Angry Birds game to date.
It’s clear that Angry Birds Rio is the culmination of Rovio Mobile’s experience in game making to this point. The graphics are more detailed, the gameplay smoother, the physics ever-so-slightly more realistic, and the sounds oh so richer. Instead of being set it random themed landscapes, Rio takes a bit more of a story approach, starting you off in a warehouse where you must fight your way out in typical Angry Birds fashion. The story-like progression is simple enough that it doesn’t get in the way; Rovio was smart to continue focusing on what made Angry Birds so addictive.
The gameplay of Rio isn’t much different than we’ve seen in older Angry Birds games. You take birds and launch them from a catapult at unstable piles of stone, glass, and wood. What has changed are some of the details, plus some additions. The evil green pigs that seemingly didn’t graduate from architecture school are no more, replaced in the first part of the game by caged birds that you want to free, and later evil monkeys that you want to kill (feeling good about emancipating just isn’t as gratifying as wanton cartoon slaughtering of the animated nemesis). Additionally, there are new set pieces, including breakable crates, wire spools, bendy palm trees, and bouncy inner tubes.
The game is backed up with a new uptempo samba theme that incorporates the Angry Birds theme on marimba instead of whatever unidentifiable electronic thing played it originally. The sound effects have also been the recipient of a much needed upgrade. It’s all familiar, but deeper and richer at the same time.
Rio was released with the first two of six “episodes,” adding up to 60 levels available right now. The rest will be released between May and November, ensuring that you continue to check back in and play some more, and keeping Rio the movie fresh in your mind until the Blu-Ray hits shelves later in the year. It’s a smart marketing move on the part of both Rovio and 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky. The studios get to take advantage of the addictive nature of Angry Birds and the repeat exposure the game will bring to a large customer base that might not otherwise be interested, and Rovio gets the support of a major movie studio to help promote their game.
Angry Birds Rio, while just as simple, addicting, and frustrating, might be the best Angry Birds game to date. The better graphics, richer sounds, and fresh settings all combine to rekindle this blogger’s Angry Birds addicition, and we won’t be surprised to see the same happen to many of you. Angry Birds Rio is available now from the webOS App Catalog for $1.99.