As anybody who has owned an Android, iOS or any kind of handheld operating system knows, Angry Birds is the preeminent franchise for the platform. It's not exactly the most complicated game out there but it's taken hold, especially on the iPhone, to mass acclaim. Following Angry Birds Seasons, we all were waiting for Angry Birds 2. While this isn't exactly that, it is a slightly new direction for the Angry Birds franchise.
This edition of Angry Birds, the third following the original Angry Birds and the aforementioned Seasons, is essentially promotion for the upcoming 20th Century Fox 3D animated film Rio. It isn't like there's just promotion in the background of a normal Angry Birds game either; the plot line and missions you have to perform involve characters from the film. This is the ultimate form of product placement and movie promotion.
Instead of destroying pigs who stole your eggs, the Angry Birds get captured and after breaking out due to their presumed steroid rage, make it their mission to maneuver their way around seemingly random obstacles to free those birds in the first half of the game, while trying to defeat monkeys a la the pigs in the second part. That sounds different but aside from a few differences, really isn't.
The first half of the game, the freeing birds part, really isn't very hard at all. Any contact will probably free the birds and there really isn't much intricacy involved in it. You only use the red and blue birds to free them. In case you've forgotten, in the previous games, when you only had to use those two, the game was still in the beginner stages. The egg dropping white bird isn't introduced till later. The yellow bird makes an appearance somewhere in the first world but isn't really necessary. I blew through this part in about half an hour and, as my roommates will gleefully tell you, I'm not very good at Angry Birds.
The Monkey world amps up the difficulty a little bit. You actually have to get the monkeys to fall off their perches to eliminate them as just a piece of wood to the head isn't going to do it. Sure they can be beaten in one shot, like the pigs, but it takes a good one. There are times, more than with the pigs, that pieces of wood and concrete will be resting on their backs and you just won't know how to do it.
Besides being slightly tougher than the pigs, the monkeys also will perch in trees, making it slightly harder to figure out how to take them down, but like the pigs that floated on balloons in previous versions, when you perform the correct actions, they will fall down and be defeated so even that wrinkle just proves cosmetic essentially.
While the location of the warehouse you have to free the birds from is slightly different from the locales of previous games and the jungle is a slight change on past environments we've already seen before, the different locations pale in comparison to what's available in Seasons, which for my $.99 is the much superior game. Hopefully things will change once Rovio adds new levels in the future, as they've done with Seasons periodically.
Granted Angry Birds probably isn't the toughest game to develop but when they keep churning out games like this that don't really add much to the gameplay and overall experience of the series, what's the point beyond sales? I know this game's going to fly off the virtual shelves, if for no other reason than it's free in the Amazon Android App Store (and so is Fruit Ninja! Go do it for Sensei) for a limited time. They're risking oversaturating the market with release after release that includes free upgrades as this probably will and Seasons already does.
There isn't enough new here to warrant purchasing this if you already have Seasons and the original unless you've completely finished those and are just looking for your next Angry Birds fix. Just wait for the sequel otherwise.