Angry Birds Space initially sounds like an irritating prospect. That’s just standard Angry Birds with the gravity slider moved around a bit, right? In reality, however, Rovio’s latest is an evolution that feels considerably more ambitious than previous updates. The cast of characters has been redesigned ?in fine Duck Dodgers style, a handful ?of new bird tricks exist, and the game’s explosive playgrounds have been extensively riddled with all manner ?of parabola-warping gimmickry.
Many of the new levels take place over a series of planetoids, for example, meaning that much of the fun now comes from arcing shots around spheres and watching them enter unpredictable orbits. Rovio’s dreamy physics are perfect for this, and they’re not bad at recasting asteroids as bowling pins, or encouraging you to send pigs bouncing out of a planet’s atmosphere, too.
A frosty new bird, meanwhile, allows you to turn chunks of the environment to ice, while a reworked favourite now acts as a homing missile. If it all seems ?a little disorienting, however, Rovio’s thrown in the comforting familiarity of microtransactions in the form of a suite of extra-hard challenges you’ll have to pay to unlock, while the Android version is subsidised by intrusive ads.
Rovio’s money-making abilities remain undiminished, in other words, but Angry Birds Space contains so many entertaining ideas that it’s increasingly hard to write off as a Crush The Castle derivative that got lucky.