Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Angry Birds Stella POP! could have so easily been yet another bubble shooter; like Bust-A-Move but not as good. It very nearly is but it manages to circumvent such issues by offering a few moments of originality that help it to stand out on its own. It’s pretty tough though, which I suspect is linked to the fact that you can buy your way to success.
As is customary, things start out fairly easily for players. You use a slingshot mechanism to throw bubbles upwards, dragging a finger back and releasing the bauble. It’s distinctly Angry Birds like, which makes sense. That brings with it a fairly good physics engine, ensuring you’ll never feel cheated by a shot.
Levels aren’t just a matter of clearing all the bubbles. One level type involves clearing a certain number from the very top row, meaning you can focus solely on getting there fast, rather than clearing bubbles elsewhere. Another involves you freeing piggies and causing them to topple to the bottom of the screen. This type is also combined with stages where every time you hit something, the other bubbles are moved around, meaning you have to plan around the fact that everything moves. It’s these little things that mean that Angry Birds Stella POP! stands out from a very crowded genre.
Where Angry Birds Stella POP! falters is in terms of how unfair it can start to feel. In particular, timed levels are very strict, requiring you to have lightning fast reactions in order to succeed. I’ve spent a lot of time playing games within this genre, but I still ended up using coins to buy extra moves to get past such a stage. That’s the point, I think: to encourage you into paying up to get ahead. It feels more aggressive than conventional means, given the difficulty spikes.
It’s a bit cheeky, simply put, and does detract from the fun that can be had. While not as balanced as other games within the genre, Angry Birds Stella POP! is still rather polished and well made. Just don’t expect it to always be on your side.