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Rovio joins Lucasfilm in a galaxy not so far away with today’s release of Angry Birds Star Wars

by Lisa Caplan

Rovio’s irate aviators have travelled the world and blasted off into the solar system in pursuit of porcine baddies. Where else, then, to set the latest installment than in a galaxy far far away? Yes, Angry Birds and Star Wars have mated and their offspring isn’t nearly as crass as many expected. While the game is a straight-up AB derivation, the integration of the movie cast doesn’t feel forced, but instead joyfully evokes the sci-fi classic.

Angry Birds Star Wars uses familiar core mechanics. You toss birds via slingshot at structures holding enemy pigs, aiming to destroy all the bacon on each level without running out of flyers. Different birds represent the original film cast. Red bird, for example, is Luke and Princess Leia, of course, is pink bird. They all have unique powers that aren’t merely cosmetic; with a tap Luke can slice with his lightsaber, Obi Wan can use a Force Push, and Hans Solo has some serious firepower in his blaster, not to mention a head of hair that will make Harrison Ford wistful. The mean green ham hocks serve as Imperial Pigs: storm troopers, TIE fighter pilots, and Darth Vader.

Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, this latest iteration of a feathered kind will dig its claws into your brain’s addiction center. It would be nice to see Rovio stray from the formula, but in Star Wars they take the best of all the previous versions and combine them into one super-game. Star Wars mixes the regular Earth-bound levels with the Space-style funky gravitational orbit puzzles evenly. The learning curve is gradual and lessons are spread through the game. Bonus levels, where you get to fling C-3PO and R2-D2 (whose power is falling apart, what’s not to love?) appear early and often. And, the Mighty Eagle is now the Mighty [Millennium] Falcon.

The production value is console/cinema quality. The animations in both cut scenes and in-game are crisp, clean and endearing without being too cute. The sound effects are spot-on.

You start Jedi flight training on Tatooine’s 20 levels and progress to the Death Star’s 20. There ‘s a spot saved for Hoth (coming soon) and if that’s not enough a Path of the Jedi world is available, but only for in-app purchase.

Star Wars is the most fully realized Angry Birds game to-date. It’s story driven beyond the revenge fantasy premise, and has the most interesting assortment of challenges. The film-inspired design will entice Star Wars fans and the new fighting powers are just plain fun. Rovio (and Lucasfilm) will rake it in this holiday season with related merchandise already pouring onto shelves, but Angry Birds Star Wars is appealing on so many levels, it’s worth commemorating.

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