The biggest head shaking moment of 2012 was the announcement of Angry Birds Star Wars when it released on mobile devices. People questioned what Angry Birds and Star Wars had in common. The answer was nothing but a cute and fun time. A year later we now have a console release of the Rovio Entertainment developed and published title (with a little help from Activision.) Now the biggest head shaking moment 2013 outside of the Xbox One fiascos is the price of the retail/digital release of the console version. The current asking price is $39.99 which is about $35 more than the most expensive mobile versions at launch. It’s not without precedent since Angry Birds Trilogy launched at the same price tag but it included the first 3 games and bonus content. Despite cheaper offerings the real question is the quality of content the game provides. As with most Rovio titles, Angry Birds Star Wars exudes quality content with the 200 mobile levels plus 20 new console exclusive levels.
The premise behind Angry Birds carries on into the Star Wars version. Players launch birds with the intention of destroying all pigs while achieving as much collateral damage as possible for points. The Star Wars licensing turns the different birds into bird versions of the popular lightside characters while the pigs fall to the darkside. The levels take on themes from places in the movies like Tatooine, the Death Star, and Hoth. The structures that the Storm Trooper pigs hide in resemble things from the Star Wars universe like the AT-AT from Hoth. It really is a great mix of the 2 franchises that is the cutest Star Wars property since Ewoks.
The biggest change to gameplay is the birds and their new powers that cause even Angry Birds veterans to rethink their strategy. The red bird now styled after Luke Skywalker has a light saber attack that increases the damage radius and also deflects lasers. Yellow Bird goes all Han Solo and shoots first with 3 laser pistol shots that can cause damage a good distance away from impact. Black Bird channels Obi Wan and Force Pushes all over the place. The levels are a mix of the normal gravity based Angry Birds levels and the Angry Birds space levels that include flying through planetary gravities and zero G. The difficulty ramps up from easy to insane pretty quickly thanks to the new powers creating more interesting puzzles but half the fun is figuring out just want to do on those insane levels to not only complete them but get enough score for a 3 star rating.
The transition from traditional touch controls to the controller takes a bit getting used to but is very functional. The Kinect controls feel as awkward as ever and can cause some issues at times when precision is needed which is often in Angry Birds titles. The true benefit of the console move is the HD coat of paint on the graphics and it looks great on the big screen with the very colorful palette. The audio still features a lot of great sampled sounds from the movies like the lightsabers and lasers though due to the nature of the repetitiveness of Angry Birds, they can get a bit annoying after some time.
The addition of online multiplayer while different feels like an excuse to charge the premium price. The 2 player cooperative mode has players taking turns shooting birds for the top combined score. The 4 player competitive mode is more like a score attack mode where players compete for the highest score. It really comes down to just being another bullet point on the back of the box.