From Big Screens to Small Again: Angry Birds Evolution

Jul 4, 2017
Role Play

Since as long as they’ve been around we’ve had films based on original material, real life, and books; more recently films have even taken inspiration from the video game industry. But apps? You would have thought they were too small, insignificant, their stories too shallow. Yet Angry Birds threw away all conceptions about what apps really mean and the effect they have on public consciousness when The Angry Birds Movie was released in 2016, proving it’s more than just a one-touch smartphone game. Now there’s a new instalment to the franchise, Angry Birds Evolution, a game which turns the original, winning formula on its head.

From the original’s arcade-style gameplay, Angry Birds Evolutions expands the birds’ world into more of a role-playing, strategy game, in which you collect, battle with, and level up over 100 new, unique characters. Beginning with just three birds at a time, you aim and fire against over 90 different types of egg-thieving pig in an enclosed space. Each level differs in what you find within the arena; some have dynamite, others spikey rocks. No matter what the aid or obstacle, though, your mission is to tactically take out every pig before they defeat you. To do so, swipe your finger away from the direction you want to shoot the bird, and a dotted line will show where it will move – It’s like a game of pool more than anything else. Once your round is up, it’s the pigs’ turn to hit back at you, a process that continues until one side’s health is depleted.

From the original’s arcade-style gameplay, Angry Birds Evolutions expands the birds’ world into more of a role-playing, strategy game, in which you collect, battle with, and level up over 100 new, unique characters.

During and after each battle you’ll be rewarded with gold coins, crystals, and eggs. After each egg hatches a new bird will appear, allowing you to decide on your best team of three. Gold coins can be used to level up, and eventually evolve, your team, alongside – rather bleakly – a sacrificed bird. Crystals are the game’s central currency; they can be purchased with actual money, and further used to buy more gold coins or special loot bags containing eggs.

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As your funds increase and your team improves the challenges become more difficult. You begin on one part of an island, and four or five battles in will be up against a boss: a much bigger and more difficult enemy. Once complete you’ll be transported to another part of the island and a seemingly different country altogether: barren deserts with pyramids in the background. Each unique area brings with it different styles of arena, new enemies, and more creative ways of defeating them. To prepare your team even better, random challenges appear, rewarding you with even more loot.

Angry Birds Evolution is far bigger in scope than any of its predecessors. The change in genre has resulted in more features, meaning every game is personal to the player. With over 100 characters to choose from – each with evolution trees – no two games are the same. This is a drastic change from the linearity of the original games, and means Evolutions has a longevity never seen before in the series. It also allows room for more narrative; whereas the original Angry Birds games were simply about hurtling some different-coloured chickens at pigs suffering from acute radiation syndrome, this instalment tells a story and thus gives you a reason for playing.

Yet, while the game is more complex than its predecessors, it’s still extremely easy to play. It takes just a swipe of one finger to direct and shoot your bird, and the route it will take and direction of ricochet are already marked out for you. As previously mentioned, it’s like playing a game of pool on your phone – only instead of potting balls you just hit them as many times as you can. It’s a fresh turn for a series which otherwise was going on for too long, and shows that there’s more to these characters than initially thought.

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It’s incredible to think just how much has been squeezed out of the Angry Birds franchise. If nothing changes, though, people inevitably begin to get bored, no matter how unstoppable it seems. Evolution marks a turning point in the series: a clever decision to move out with the old and in with the new.

Angry Birds Evolution is available on Android and iOS.

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