To say Angry Birds Epic
was a surprise would be an understatement.
An RPG was probably the last
place in which we expected to find Rovio's familiar birds and pigs (just before a gory first-person shooter or an experimental indie game about death).
Here we are, though, with the birds and pigs still battling it out over eggs. This time, though, in turn-based stat-swapping battles that wouldn't be out of place in Dragon Quest
There's no free-roaming world here, mind. You just pick battles from a map screen and move from encounter to encounter as you make your way around the island, beating up pigs, unlocking more birds, and rescuing your yolky treasure.
The battle system is pretty straightforward. You simply drag your finger from a bird to a pig to attack, tap a bird to defend, or drag between two birds to perform various co-op moves.
It's, surprisingly, a very traditional RPG with none of the rhythm challenge shenanigans from Mario & Luigi
or the Active Time nonsense of Final Fantasy
. These are just two teams politely taking turns to wallop each other.
But there is enough depth to the combat to keep you engaged. Enemies target certain birds, psyche themselves up for big attacks, and go on the defensive.And
you have a variety of moves at your disposal.Angry Birds Epic
is a free-to-play game, of course, so let's talk about what you can buy.
You can pay to revive your team if you fall in battle, and you can buy a Golden Chili power-up that enables you to start every fight with a massively powerful move.
There's forging and alchemy to make new weapons and one-off potions. You get the ingredients by finishing battles, but you can always just buy more with cash. Those items are randomly given different attributes based on a die roll, but you can pay to re-roll.
All the usual stuff, then. Thankfully, as far as I've played, there's no energy system, at least.
The biggest surprise about Angry Birds Epic
, then, is that it's actually quite good fun.
It's not the deepest RPG around, sure, but there's enough here to keep battles tense and engaging. And while it's filled with F2P gumpf, it's not nearly as heinous as Angry Birds Go!
The game is currently available in soft launch in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It will go global later in the year. Until then, watch the game in action in the video above.
Updated on March 18th, at 8:31:
Note: while Angry Birds Epic
will eventually be released on Android and Windows Phone, the soft launch version is currently exclusive to iPhone and iPad.