Angry Birds is one of those odd things—some might call it a phenomenon, but I think that’s taking it a little too far—that takes the entire world by a series of tropical storms and lets loose. It’s available on practically everything from phones to tablets to computers to consoles. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a version of it appeared for my headphones. It’s spawned dozens of licensed merchandise from toys to books to pyjamas to…well…headphones. Nonetheless, the game, in its Star Wars incarnation, is now out on PS3 and Xbox 360, so I summon the midichlorians and use the Force to find out whether the Force is with this game.
If you’re not aware of Angry Birds in any shape, form, colour, consistency, or taste, then you have no business reading this review. Move along! Yes, you there, with the Nokia 3310 and your however many shades of some dull colour. The rest of you can pay attention as usual, and I will spin you a tale. Picture it: Sicily, 1945. A Galaxy Far, Far away. Time: A Long Long Time Ago. There were some birds. And legend had it that they were a leeeeetle bit ticked off.
If you’re aware of Angry Birds but not the Star Wars incarnation, then this is all you need to know: all the original birds have been replaced with Star Wars counterparts (Red bird as Red Skywalker, or Black bird as Obi-Wan Kaboomi, for example), and the pigs are all the baddies from the films (Storm Pigtoopers, or Lard Vader). The gameplay is identical to Angry Birds in parts, and to Angry Birds Space in other, appropriately spacey parts. The story follows the film fairly closely, and it’s all done in true Angry Birds charm.
I played the PS3 version of Angry Birds Star Wars, which supports the Move controller. Seeing that I was Move Controllerless, I played with the regular controller, which I discovered worked absolutely brilliantly. It is intuitive, and anyone used to a standard controller will find the default configuration more than comfortable and familiar. Visually, the game is of course, just a larger, more glorified version of what I’m used to playing on my smartphone. The sound is no different, either. On the other hand, the game has 20 console-exclusive levels, and access to all the paid DLC from the mobile version. There are also co-op and competitive modes, but they don’t really gel well with the rest of the game.
The key question here, then, is: is the game worth the hectically overinflated price just for the pleasure of playing it on your TV? Short answer: no. Long answer: aw hell to the no to the absolute no with a side helping of no served with extra no on top. Do the math if you will: on Android, the base Angry Birds Star Wars game is yours for the low low price of free. On iOS, it can be had for R10 or so. Not sure what the price is on Blackberry, but even then it’s not to be had for very much in space bucks. Heck, even the PC version is just under R100 if that’s the way you want to swing. R400-plus for 20 extra levels and motion controls that are sadly inferior to a touchscreen? I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
Overall, price aside, the game is almost exactly the same experience you’ll get in a dozen other ways in a dozen other incarnations. It’s still brilliant fun, and charming as always. The added Star Wars powers and abilities actually make for a game that’s superior to the original Angry Birds in so many ways. Why the console version? I can’t justify it to you, sorry, and that’s why the score is so low. Had the price been fairer, the game’s score would have been up at the top. I’m actually trying to find out whether Activision themselves can justify the price. No luck yet, of course, but if I find out what it is, I’ll be sure to let you know.
Final Score: 5 long time ago in a galaxy far far away prawns out of 10
Platforms: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PS Vita, Wii, Wii U, 3DS
Age Rating: 3+