Angry Birds – PC ReviewSeptember 18, 2011
What is it about these birds that attracts so much attention? Rovio’s Angry Birds is a mainstream success and is one of the only mobile games worth the space on your cell phone of choice. Choice is certainly the appropriate word as the game is available for many different mobile OS platforms as well as a port on the PlayStation 3 and PSP. No matter what electronic device you own, be it a phone, console or computer, Angry Birds is available for you. Look out for the Abacus port! The title is now available for the PC, exclusively on AppUp. This has the potential to be the most accessible version of the game because mostly everyone has a computer, and since Angry Birds isn’t a resource heavy game, everyone will be able to run it. At five bucks, however, is it worth it? Other versions have been cheaper and feature touch controls, whereas the PC version uses the mouse.
Well, because it’s on the PC, I would call this version the easiest to get. And even though there’s no touch controls, the mouse is easy to use and it still functions like a touch screen. Menus and selections all have buttons on screen so you’ll only use the left mouse button and the mouse wheel to zoom the camera in and out. Presentation is still great and even on a bigger screen like a computer monitor, the cartoon graphics are vibrant and bright. Lines are crisp and there’s no visual sign of pixelation. The sound effects still feature the familiar screeches of the birds and satisfying grunts of the pigs when you take them out. Don’t you just love that? Sounds like you punched them in the stomach and knocked the wind out of them. It all sounds good, but I personally found that the menu music just started to wear on me after a while.
In case you don’t already know, the pigs in this game stole the eggs from the birds, and it’s now your mission to fling the birds in a kamakaze manner to destroy the pigs and their structures. You are given predetermined types of birds in a limited amount; you need to rely on physics to help you in your endeavor. Some birds can go through wood, some spread out like buckshot and some even explode! The less birds you use in your vengeful destruction, the higher your score. You’ll be ranked by one, two or three stars. The PC version of Angry Birds gives you 195 levels. That’s plenty of gameplay, as getting three stars on all of the levels isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t easy to get two stars either. There will be times where you’ll be frustrated that you barely missed your target.
This probably won’t surprise you, but using the mouse to pull your birds back and aim is pretty accurate. There’s also the benefit of not having your finger block your view while aiming and activating the bird’s ability afterward. However, while there isn’t anything wrong with what’s here in the game, it’s what’s missing that I took issue with. With the added ability of a mouse, I would’ve like to see some additional control features. One idea is using the the mouse wheel to fine tune your aim, similar to what you can do in Peggle. The ability to zoom the camera in and out is great though. You can zoom in so it looks like a bigger version of the mobile game or view the entire screen, which can help as you figure out how to take out all the pigs at once.
All in all, you get a great version of Angry Birds that doesn’t do anything to distinguish itself from the others. As such, there are conditions to me recommending it. On one hand, this version stands toe to toe with the other versions, and I can see this replacing Solitaire when people don’t have anything to do at work. On the other hand, it’s more expensive than the mobile versions, which have a greater convenience factor. I suppose I would say that if you already own another version of Angry Birds, there’s no reason to get this one. Yours will do just fine. However, if you don’t own it or you don’t have a smartphone, you will love this version and will keep the shortcut on your desktop for a long time. There is now a browser version of Angry Birds on Facebook (Editor’s note: also free on Chrome Web Store) but I’ve never got it working and I’ve been trying for what feels like a month so don’t bother with that. This, however, is definitely a comparable port- you just don’t need more than one copy of this game. That is until the Abacus port is released. Wouldn’t you guys like to see a Genesis / MegaDrive version of Angry Birds? 16-bit birds knocking over pixel blocks and sounding like crinkling paper…