Version Reviewed: 1.1
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Casual games are king in the App Store, and MUST.EAT.BIRDS. certainly distinguishes itself with a unique art style. Though the gameplay is nothing spectacular, the graphics definitely make the game worthwhile.
It seems that Nomster, an unassuming little monster, was about to enjoy a nice picnic. Suddenly, what should appear out of the sky but...birds with parachutes (yes, they apparently need parachutes even though they can fly. These birds are hell-bent on eating all your food. Using your hastily constructed catapult, you must launch yourself at birds in order to nom them. You can bounce of the sides of the screen, but once you either fall to the bottom or go over the top, your monster never re-enters the playing field. You have four pieces of food, and when the birds get past you four times, the game is over. A nice twist is that you can nom yourself, creating an even bigger monster. There are also different types of birds: fat birds that fall faster, birds that require two noms, eggs that when hit spawn more birds, and more. The game is very reliant on combos. You earn combos by consecutively nomming birds without a miss. Earn a combo of 25, and you'll enter maximum bake mode. In this mode, your monsters will continue to bounce around the screen without leaving via either the bottom or top for a limited time. This usually means you'll eat yourself several times, creating a huge monster. While the gameplay is nice and certainly contains enough elements to keep things interesting, it simply lacks that "addictive" quality present in other games.
The game is mainly structured in a mission format, with nine missions. You have to beat a mission to unlock the next ones. Missions involve nomming a certain amount of birds or scoring a certain amount of points (based largely on combos) often with limited ammo. These can be very difficult, and not necessarily arranged in order of increasing difficulty. There need to be more missions with a more refined difficulty curve. In addition, there is a challenge, or endless, mode, but unfortunately, there are no online scoreboards. There is also a limited achievement system.
Using your catapult is simple: touch, drag, and release. There's nothing more to it. Strangely though, on rare occasions, the controls felt slightly unresponsive.
The graphics truly make the game. They are done in an amazingly absurdist faux-japanese style. I can safely say that no game in the App Store looks like MUST.EAT.BIRDS. Music and sound effects, are mediocre, but these shortcomings are almost completely made up for by possibly the greatest App Store sound byte to date, the unmistakable cry of "MAXIMUM BAKE!!!"
If you're looking for something with good humor and great graphics, it's hard to pass up MUST.EAT.BIRDS. for less than a dollar. However, after an initial play-through, when the novelty of the graphics wear off, MUST.EAT.BIRDS. simply won't earn a ton of play time on your iDevice.