At what point does cost begin to affect your appreciation of a videogame? I couldn’t tell the exact moment, but what I can tell you is that it comes a long way before you reach Angry Birds Star Wars levels of financial chicanery. At just 69p to download the near identical Angry Birds Star Wars on mobile devices, a relatively major price hike was always expected for a fully boxed retail version, but man, 69p to £29.99? Now, that is something else. While I wouldn’t have been particularly happy with it, I had basically accepted that a £17.99 RRP was all but guaranteed….but £29.99? Come on, how greedy do you have to be?
The outrageous increase in price might (might) have made sense if there had been an array of new content involved, but beyond 20 new levels, the inclusion of the paid DLC and two new multiplayer modes, this is exactly the same game available for the price of a chocolate bar on iOS. I mean really, they didn’t even see fit to include the sequel………is that going to be yet another overpriced released a few months down the line? I wouldn’t be surprised. Yes, I’ll admit, the lack of distracting advertisements is relatively pleasant, but that doesn’t even begin to justify what must be the most outrageous price hike in gaming history.
Two things in particular make this undeniably greedy price point even harder to bare, 1) it’s your fault. Well, maybe not you exactly, but the original Angry Birds Trilogy was also released on console at the same price, and you know what? It sold like bleedin’ hot cakes. Way to encourage them…..idiots! 2) Get past the price (easier said than done), and Angry Birds Star War is actually a rather fantastic videogame and certainly one of the finest Start Wars videogames released in the past decade.
And that’s what makes this game so particularly hard to review. Should I review the game or the price? Tricky. If this had been released as a download only title on XBLA/PSN/eShop at a reasonable price, honestly, you would be looking at an 8/10. Despite being an obvious cash-in and driven solely by the Benjamin’s, this makes better use of the Star Wars license than most, providing a surprisingly charming affair that manages to marry the finest aspects of each franchise without ever feeling like a lazy cash-in. As it stands though, well, just check out the score below.
Approached purely on its own merits, there is actually very little to dislike about this most unlikely of collaborations; it looks fantastic, plays great and uses the source material to consistently impressive effect. It’s still Angry Birds at its core, but one might be surprised just how great an influence the inclusion of the Star Wars brand has had on the overall design.
The first few levels are actually Angry Birds by the number and don’t actually make the best first impression, but once the character specific skills come into play, Angry Birds Star Wars begins to become its own, surprisingly technical beast. Of course, as ever, there is a certain degree of luck involved, but thanks to force push abilities and timed lightsaber and blaster attacks, you actually feel more in control of your success than ever before.
With each of the main Angry Birds characters given original trilogy skins and a unique power set, each character feels more individual than ever and with brilliantly designed levels aping the look and sound of the movies, Rovio have created a title that, despite the odds being stacked against it, feels like a genuine love letter to the Star Wars universe. The visuals, the audio, the imagination, it’s all top notch. Things get even better when levels begin to take inspiration from Angry Birds Space, with zero gravity and planetoids coming into play to add an additional level of tactical nous to the core gameplay while keeping each of the 200+ levels fresh and largely rewarding.
Despite home console controllers not adding anything to the actual core gameplay (it’s arguably best played on the Wii U’s touch screen), Angry Birds nonetheless makes a fantastic visual transition from small to large screen. It may not have improved technically, but the finer details and gameplay really do shine through on a large widescreen TV. I’d love to say that the console specific two player co-op and four play competitive gameplay adds a degree of value to the package, but despite being relatively entertaining, feels decidedly tacked on and certainly does not go anywhere near justifying the outrageously high price point.
And back we come, to that price. If you’re happy to pay over the odds so that you can play Angry Birds Star Wars on the big screen and rack up some Achievements / Tropies in the process, you’ll likely come away happy, just don’t go expecting anything particularly new from the much more expensive console release. It plays well, looks great and is as loving an homage to the original Star Wars trilogy as you are likely to find. Thing is, it’s also available for 69p on a device that is probably sitting in your pocket.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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