It's rare that a Android or iOS game would get reviewed in this column, and even rarer that I would expend my energy reviewing a 'freemium' title, but such is the public interest in the Angry Birds phenomenon that it only feels right to mull over the finer points of the first 'proper' sequel in the insanely popular series.
The Angry Birds brand has seen its metaphorical stock fall in recent times, while developers Rovio have, quite literally, seen their stock fall as they reported a 52 percent fall in annual profits only last year. Perhaps the time was right to actually put the number '2' in the title of the game, in lieu of simply rewording the title, as they have done for the last seven instalments.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the only meaningful thing that Rovio have added to the game is indeed the number '2', as they seem to have removed absolutely everything that made the original series so addictive and enjoyable.
Gone are the times when you could kill an entire bus journey trying to earn the elusive three stars on that one level that's been giving you everything short of sleepless nights. There is now a fairly aggressive freemium payment model in place that allows you only five lives before you either wait 30 minutes for each life to regenerate, watch an advertisement to gain a life, or pay premium currency for a life refill.
There's always been a random factor in this series, but it's been cranked up for this sequel. The birds you get will be random. The materials that make up each level will be random, and since there's a greater emphasis than ever on the use of specific birds to destroy specific targets, it means you can find yourself in situations where failure is inevitable.
This is simply Rovio's way of introducing a bunch of snide tricks in order to get your life meter to run down. Better keep the wallet on standby if you think you are going to any sort of headway in this game in reasonable time.
Granted, the game now looks absolutely gorgeous and is most certainly a visual improvement on previous titles, but the introduction of the freemium system kills any good humour I may have towards this title
There's something a little sad about watching Angry Birds - once the last bastion of generosity among the vulturous developers of the app stores - devolve into an insipid wait-a-thon, but at least we can all take comfort in the fact that pay-as-you-play mobile gaming surely can't get any worse.
angry birds 2
iOS / Android