Monday, 6 May 2013
Angry Birds Space (PC)
Honestly, I'm as surprised as anyone that I'm playing this, but someone thought it'd be hilarious to gift me a copy and ask me to write it up for the site. Not that I'm ungrateful, much the opposite, it's just... well, it's Angry Birds. How am I supposed to get an entire post out of this?
Glad to see Candy World present and accounted for. An iced doughnut in space infested with green pigs, a true video game Utopia. Actually I'm thinking it's more like Cinema Carpet World looking at the crap collecting around the outside of it.
Well fuck catapulting birds or whatever it is you do in these games, I wanna know about the infinite wonder of the cosmos!
Well I'm suddenly a whole lot less interested in this now, so I'll switch back over to the game and see how bored I can get in five minutes.
Once there were a team of superhero birds that lived in peace under the shade of their giant catapult on a lonely rock in space. Theirs was a simple life of tedious bliss, until the fateful day the pigs arrived. They came from far beyond in powered suits to gather up handful of the billions of egg shaped asteroids in the area, presumably to mine the precious metals within. Shocked to discover that they were not in fact alone in the universe, the birds were stirred into a frenzy, flinging themselves into the inky blackness on a mission to destroy all intelligent life in the galaxy.
I mean that's my guess at what's happening here anyway. The comic's... vague.
Oh hang on, there's a button on the main menu to watch a proper intro video. Hopefully this will explain things better. I mean how am I going to get invested in this simple puzzle game if I don't understand the protagonists' motivations, huh?
a youtube video! I realise this was originally a downloadable title for portable systems where it'd make sense to keep the filesize low, but come on, in the era of 10+gig PC games I think they could've gotten away with throwing the intro in with the game files this time around. No one would have minded!
Also holy shit that's a lot of views! So many people have travelled this path before me, just to watch the animated introduction to an Angry Birds game.
The video tells the tale of an ice cube bird that fell to Earth through a swirly purple portal in the sky, protecting a golden space egg. (You can tell it's space egg because it's covered in craters, no doubt the result of a millennia of asteroid impacts.)
But oh no, the Angry Birds' eggs were there too! The pigs have kidnapped their unborn children! Man, pigs are such assholes.
Actually they were all given superpowers by their trip through the portal, because why not? Plus they also get superhero outfits and a set of pearly white teeth! Wait, I think the birds actually had those teeth already. Damn, that is just weird.
I suppose I have to play the game now. Fine, let's get this over with.
All I have to do is pull the bird back on the catapult using the mouse to adjust its launch speed and trajectory, refine my aim to compensate for the gravitational effects, then release the button to fire it off towards the planet. It's hardly rocket science. Well okay it's a little tiny bit rocket science.
As I solved the puzzle solved with just a single martyred bird I get bonus points for the two I still have in stock.
I've got plenty of birds left to try different approaches with, though I restarted anyway. Those spare birds are worth points and there ain't no way I'm walking out of here with anything less than a full three star score if I can help it. I need my triumphant music dammit.
I jokingly mentioned that the birds were basically suicide bombers earlier, but they've given me a new type of bird for this level that explodes on impact, so... yeah. Variety is good though and these guys give me new options in how I tackle a level, so let's go blow shit up.
Random chance definitely seems to play a big part in the outcome of any shot in this game, with tiny changes in aim and power potentially leading to totally different results. I have to try to refine my approach after a failure, but it's not like I get my current angle displayed on screen in numbers, so it's all about guesswork. I mean I do get a dotted trail to show me where my last shot went, but even that's washed away each time I click the retry button. But hey, at least I get infinite retries.
I like how there's no difficulty select at the start. Instead the challenge is set by how many stars you're willing to settle for in a level, and you can replay each level as much as you want from the level select. I can't say I've got a perfect run so far, but I haven't given up on the dream quite yet.
Uh, is this level bugged or something maybe? Because I can't help but notice they've forgot to add the pigs. It doesn't matter how far I zoom out, there's nothing to hit here. I'm not seeing what I'm meant to... oh! OH!
That white egg with the star shapes on it is a bonus level and there's one on each page of levels. I just need to get a full three stars on every level in a page to unlock it.
Unfortunately I could play this forever without ever unlocking a single one of these damn eggs, because I honestly don't know what some of these levels want from me. I assumed clearing them with one bird would be enough to get a three star score, but nope, not always.
The pig king seems pretty harmless though weirdly. He just likes to trundle back and forth on his little moon spitting out carrots and rocks in bubbles. Not at me, just.... around. I haven't actually found one pig in the whole game that's been anything less than entirely passive towards me. This is the first of them that's even moved!
Actually he wasn't much of a problem when I figured out his weakness. Turns out I'm supposed to drop the carrots and rocks on him by bursting the bubbles. Which kinda makes sense. Except for the part where all his does in his defence is give me ammo to use against him.
Look at this crap. I'm apparently supposed to curve my bird around in an anticlockwise arc and hit the bottom tower in the exact right way to fling the debris around into the next tower as it collapses, triggering a chain reaction that kills all the pigs.
I always manage to miss one pig though and I don't have the patience to keep clicking retry and fine tuning my aim by another pixel until it works though. I mean it's possible I've just got the wrong solution, but I doubt it. Trial and error's the only way I can beat this.
I guess what I'm meant to do here is detonate an egg at the right moment as it's arcing over this pyramid of bricks to send fragments shooting up into the pigs hiding up there in bubbles just out of gravity's reach, but I can never quite manage to get the bricks to scatter into the right directions. Ah fuck it, this seems as good a place as any to stop playing.
You know, I had a feeling that Angry Birds Space would be a incredibly shallow puzzle game based around lucky shots and trial and error rather than thinking your way through a problem, and it turns out I was absolutely right! Well, about the luck part anyway, the game's actually a bit more complex than I'd expected. But it's so well presented and designed that I can kinda forgive it, as all the frustrations are in the puzzles, not the interface. There's no timer or finite lives. Plus even though I'm finding it impossible to earn three stars on anything anymore, I have been making steady progress through the levels without a ridiculous number of retries, and... I kinda want to keep going.
I can't believe I'm doing this but... Angry Birds gets my shiny star award for not being crap. I just can't hate a game with a Parasol Stars themed bonus stage it seems.
Have anything you want to say about Angry Birds Space, my post, my site, or anything else that's halfway relevant? Feel free to leave a comment.