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 ANDROID FEATURE

Pocket Gamer Court: Has Angry Birds become overstuffed?

Angry Customers
Product: Pocket Gamer Court | Publisher: Steel Media | Genre: True
 
Pocket Gamer Court Android, thumbnail 1
You can't escape Angry Birds.

So phenomenally ubiquitous has Rovio's franchise become that when the imminent Star Wars tie-in was announced, we thought, 'that's a bit of a coup for old man Lucas.'

Actually, I thought, 'that's a bit of a COOP for old man Lucas', then spent the next ten minutes sniggering to myself.

But, has Rovio stretched its slingshot too far? Has it over-egged its pudding? Has it... pelted... too many green pigs?

Faltering puns aside, are we all fed up of Angry Birds, or is there room for more? Judge Jon weighs up the arguments put forward by you, the good readers of PG, then makes his final judgement.

Order! Court is in session, etc. etc.



For

PG reader Contest Chris is a full-fledged Angry Birds conservationist, and it sounds like he'll take issue with anyone taking pot shots at them.

His argument is that Rovio is innovating with the series sufficiently to warrant a stay of execution. "Angry Birds Space was actually a good spin on the series. If we see something similar in terms of magnitude of change, the Star Wars games will do well," he says.

Lonely Tylenol launches an impassioned defence of those irate flappers. "Rovio's flagship franchise is still innovating - albeit in small increments," he reckons.

He also points out - quite correctly - that the Angry Birds Star Wars tie-in is far more than just a lazy reskin. While the commenter "wouldn't market it as a game in and of itself", it still features all-new levels.

Lonely Tylenol also points out how generous Rovio is with its content: "For your dollar, you get a relatively cheap, but well-executed game from a familiar brand that updates its games so they do not become stale. I'd call this good value."



Against

PG contributor Swallowfire is all for putting Angry Birds in a slingshot and pinging it to a galaxy far, far away - not least because he thinks it's a bit of a clone.

"Angry Birds is a rip-off of Crush the Castle," he points out. "I'm not going to deny that the AB games are well made and fun, but the connection is impossible to deny."

Swallowfire also reckons that "Rovio has been becoming increasingly greedy with AB:Space changing the format to require pricey IAP 'Golden Eagles'" and that "AB had run its course by the time Rio had been released."

Excelcius concurs, arguing that the ubiquity of Angry Birds, coupled with the recent iTunes redesign, makes it even tougher for smaller games to push through.

SRBian echoes Swallowfire's sentiment that the Angry Birds series has only really developed in one contentious way.

"The first version was okay, nothing ground breaking (as mentioned, Crush the Castle was first but didn't get the weird celebrity backing), and it hasn't actually moved on except with new ways of making money."

Jay Anil is a lot more positive about the Angry Birds franchise, but still agrees that it's time for a bit of a breather.

"It's time to move on, head in a new direction," he says. "Bad Piggies is an excellent start, but perhaps delve a little into something more for the hardcore audience? At the very least, try something new, or leave the birds to rest awhile, then make a comeback sometime in the future."



Somewhere in the middle

Kbrpilot isn't a massive fan of the series in general, and only keeps Angry Birds Seasons installed on his device. However, he can see a way for the series to maintain interest levels among the smartphone community.

"It needs something added to the gameplay to remove the feeling that if you [have] played one, you've played them all. I am thinking about grabbing Bad Piggies though as that is clearly a new and different take on the games."

Finally, MrMarmite lets off a barbed aside that cuts like a lightsaber: "I think this says more about the painful decline of the Star Wars brand than of Angry Birds." Harsh to all concerned, but arguably fair.

RockinIt is fairly ambivalent about it, though if pushed, he'll tell you that he doesn't think Angry Birds has run its course: "I don't particularly like Angry Birds; there are far better small puzzle games like the Cut The Rope game and the more recent Girls Like Robots out there."

"On the other hand, I actually think Bad Piggies is a great little game," he adds. RockinIt then states that at 69p Rovio's games are always worth a download.

NotSpam has his own pragmatic view on the matter: "I actually think AB is a cute time-waster, but the core gameplay does not allow enough skill. For longevity they need to do more with the physics and control system, but for financial success... 'stay on target!'"

Of course, if we're using that particular Star Wars quote, we should probably point out that the response from the doomed Rebel pilot was, "there's too many of them!"



Professional opinion

For our professional view on this matter, we call upon PG handheld editor Peter Willington. When not talking a little too loudly about Pokemon and snorting contemptuously at dodgy virtual controls, he's often spotted stealing the office iPod touch for a quick trip to the cleaning cupboard for another go on Angry Birds.

Yes, we know what you're doing in there, Peter.

"I still really like Angry Birds. It's a great brand, the games are funny, they're well put together and they take ages to complete," Peter begins, unable to look us in the eye.

"I'm not a massive fan of Star Wars, so I don't really mind if they birdify Han, Chewie, Luke, or whatever. Personally, I'd quite like to see Jar Jar Binks make an appearance, too. I secretly always thought he was a decent addition to the franchise."

That's all very reasonable, Peter, but "I'd quite like to see Jar Jar Binks"? You're in contempt of court, buster.

Final Judgement

First up, let's make it clear - Angry Birds is not going anywhere, regardless of what any of us think. While the spread of views was relatively even, the only opinion that really counts here is that of the millions of customers plying Rovio with coins.

The second important point to make is that we like the Angry Birds games here on Pocket Gamer. The series has consistently received Bronze and Silver awards from us, which is no mean feat.

What's more, the most recent additions (both of which got eights) are titles (Angry Birds Space and Bad Piggies) that have injected new life and fresh ideas into the series.

Rovio is clearly intent on spinning Angry Birds in new directions, which we're all for. So, we have to conclude that there is still creative life in the franchise and say 'not guilty'.



However, it's a closer-fought thing than it should have been, presumably due to the franchise's overexposure. Fluffy toys, boardgames, card games, TV shows, and now a tie-in with another (arguably over-saturated) major IP.

Rovio still has our good will, but it should perhaps be a little more selective with its promotional activities in order to retain it.
 

Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy 7 November 2012
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NotSpam | 14:10 - 8 November 2012
>"there's too many of them!"

Good come back.

>"MrMarmite lets off a barbed aside that cuts like a lightsaber: "I think this says more about the painful decline of the Star Wars brand than of Angry Birds.""

AB/SW widgets: Toaster, mug collection, tea-towel range... !
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