App Reviewed on: new iPad
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It's easy to assume that every single iOS title that makes mention of birds or anger or angry pigs or angry bird pigs has something to do with Angry Birds or is an Angry Birds clone. Save the Birds does sound like it might be trying to play a spin on Rovio's seminal franchise, but honestly, it's not. Yes... it's a physics game with projectiles and birds, but really, bear with me here.
The premise is that two babyish, doe-eyed aliens have spotted Earth birds trying to evacuate a burning forest, but dropping their eggs along the way. So out of the goodness of their doe-eyed hearts they step in help deliver the eggs to the nests. How does that translate into a projectile physics game? Well, the as the birds drop the eggs I have to catch them at the bottom of the screen. The idea is that I then toss enough of the dropped eggs towards a nest lodged on a branch above me. And no, I'm not trying to knock down any pigs up there.
The difficulty comes in how each level is more of a puzzle than it is an exercise in precision. There are blocking branches, squirrels that act like teleports, and spiders that act like magnets. The combination of these elements leads to a strong variety of puzzles even in the limited 20 levels the game currently comes with (although clearly more are being worked on). That's not to say that precision is totally out of the equation because it frustratingly is, given how the aim is a little off kilter to where you actually tap on the screen. Still, outside of physics and a current shortage of levels, what's there is cleverly designed and promises scope for future levels. The game is most interesting when it chucks eggs at me; my character can only hold two at any time and any that fall to the floor splat. This adds a little chaos to the mix and forces me to think quickly to solve that level's puzzle.
My only niggle with Save The Birds is the way ads are built around the game. You can remove them for a fee, and of course that's fair enough, but I don't like how some of them seem almost geared to trick players into clicking them by mimicking achievement messages. Save the Birds is certainly not the only game to do this, but it's an increasing trend that disappoints. Anyway, I won't let that detract too heavily from a Free physics puzzler which charms enough to warrant a sojourn and then an eye on further updates.