Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1G
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Do you like Angry Birds? Do you need some more excuses to fling cartoon birds at structures? Then Angry Birds Rio HD is here to satisfy your incurable addiction. If you have still managed to not play the game, Angry Birds has you launching birds at structures with enemies in them, trying to take out all of the enemies, trying to get as many points as possible, and using the special abilities of the birds to help you along the way. The premise this time is that instead of turning pigs into bacon, you’re thrust into the world of the upcoming movie Rio, and you have to free birds from their cages in a warehouse in the game’s first set of levels, and take out marmosets (one of the nemeses in the movie) in the second set of levels, so despite the new faces, it’s the same basic game. The same birds are here, and your targets behave similarly to the pigs of the original, so despite the new branding, it’s still the Angry Birds that you’ve come to know and love.
And that is the game’s greatest strength – it’s familiar, and still as curiously addictive as ever. There’s still just that X factor with the game, where it is just difficult to put down, where you want to keep playing, and want to go back and improve your scores. While the game comes with 60 levels, 4 updates are promised in the level selection menu in May, July, October, and November, so this is definitely an app that will increase its value over time. There’s Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements, of course. The Rio product placement angle is actually very subtle – you’re largely just freeing random birds from cages in the “Smugglers’ Den” levels, and then taking out strategically placed marmosets in the “Jungle Escape” levels. This is really just Angry Birds set in a new locale with different targets to take out; the Rio branding hasn’t changed much, except for one particular boss fight that incorporates one new bird against a moving target, and the one new bird should hopefully play a role in the future levels.
The general lack of change is also the game’s biggest problem, there is no major gameplay innovation here beyond the one use of a new character that really shows where the series has come from since its initial release. You’re launching the same birds at the same structures, all that’s changed is the paint job. Is it still fun and curiously addictive? Definitely. But there’s also that feeling in the back of my mind, that I can’t entirely get into it because it feels like the same thing again, and again. I wonder if the Angry Birds bubble will burst any time soon, if people will just eventually get sick of the game, or if demand from new players will decrease to a point where the kind of tremendous success it is having unless the game can do something new in the near future. As far as actual issues with the game go, some of the levels are small enough to where you may accidentally fire a bird backwards when you think you’re just trying to scroll from the left, so be careful on those levels. Also, the game won’t likely challenge Angry Birds veterans – I was at level 4-12 after 2 hours of play.
Angry Birds Rio HD may not be all that innovative, but it’s still Angry Birds. It’s still remarkably fun and addictive. If you’ve played a ton of the original and Seasons versions and need more, then definitely give this one a whirl. If not, then there isn’t anything here that would convince you to love the series if you haven’t fallen under its charms already.