Angry Birds 2 combines the series’ classic gameplay some grand new features, and the very worst that in-app purchases have to offer. If you can ignore the latter, the first two might win you over.
Rovio Entertainment has actually released more than a dozen games in the “slingshot birds at badly behaving piggies” series, but most sequels have carried particular themes (Star Wars, seasons, Transformers) or distinct gameplay (shooters, side-scrollers, RPGs, match-3).
Angry Birds 2 launched yesterday, free with in-app purchases, for iOS and Android devices. I tested it on an iPhone 5s, where it performed smoothly. On a lark, I tried running it on an iPad 2, where it crashed repeatedly.
What you’ll like
Get angry in beautiful environments
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This chapter of Angry Birds contributes more to the look and animation of the series than any other. The sets include deep 3D environments, with loving attention to little details (the leaves on the plants, the look and feel of the building materials around the pigs). Each setting varies from the next, with levels that float with balloons, fill a city, and occupy bucolic country spaces.
It adds movement and weather effects, which make each scene look dramatically different from the next — a great touch.
Angry Birds 2 also draws birds and boss mobs extremely well, with each demonstrating some pretty wonderful graphically-illustrated personality before, during and after flight. You’ll never mistake one of your birds for another.
Sounds that make you smile
The soundtrack includes exclamations by your birds and their piggy foes, reactions to your throws and the resulting destruction, and some seriously goofy music. It gets mildly annoying with the volume on high, but turned to a normal level, it provides a burbling, cheerful accompaniment to your game, one guaranteed to give you a chuckle now and then.
The sounds not only punctuate what you’re doing, they also provide clues — especially if you’re playing on a small-screen mobile device — about pigs you may have left behind, or mechanics you should take into account.
Your birds’ distinct abilities
Each type of bird in Angry Birds 2 performs very different stunts. Red can knock over buildings with his sound waves; Blue splits into multiples that work especially well against ice; Matilda drops egg bombs; the new Silver does a diving loop-de-loop; Chuck’s powers take down wood; and so on.
You can choose which bird you throw at the structures the pigs have created, and each has a different impact on those buildings. Choosing the wrong bird can end your lives early; choosing and aiming the right ones correctly can make nearly all your throws one-hit Strikes that move you to the next scene.
What you won’t like
Freemium makes Angry Birds fans angry
Remember back in the good old days, when the original Angry Birds debuted, and you could just buy a game and play it as long as you liked? Picture those days as a wine goblet full of pigs exploded with a Matilda bomb. Angry Birds 2 brings every single tactic you hate from freemium games and combines them all in a single title.