Angry Birds Star Wars

Did you know that there is an Angry Birds Star Wars for the PS4?  Yes, you knew that.  You knew thatbecause there is an Angry Birds or an Angry Birds Star Wars for every platform: iPhone, iPad, Wii, PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Atari 2600, Lite Brite, you name it.  So, there might as well be one for the PS4.  At whom, precisely, is this game targeted?  The super late adopters who haven’t yet purchased the game on one of these other platforms?  Obsessive-compulsive completionists who have to own every version?  Regardless of the answer to that question, you should probably pass on buying this version, unless you have no way of owning any other.  Other than 20 exclusive levels, there is nothing to justify paying the ridiculous $50 that is being charged for this game in the PlayStation store.

Angry Birds Star Wars is the Star Wars-themed version of the wildly popular, ubiquitous, bird-slinging, structure-destroying, pig-killing mobile game Angry Birds.  If you have never played Angry Birds Star Wars, then you should own it in some form.  It is actually one of the best applications of the Star Wars license since the original Lego Star Wars.  In Angry Birds Star Wars, the birds are now stand-ins for the good guys from the original trilogy, and the pigs are Star Wars-themed bad guys like storm troopers and tie fighters.  The young Jedi bird can slash blocks with his light saber, the Jedi master can force push blocks, and Han Solo can shoot them with a blaster.  Those birds are the workhorses for much of the game, but there are others as well.  One of them is a C-3PO bird whose special ability is getting blown into little pieces (yes, Angry Birds Star Wars possesses some of the satirical humor that the Lego Star Wars games are known for).

In addition to making great use of the Star Wars license, Angry Birds: Star Wars features some creative and clever level design.  Levels in space make great use of gravity tricks.  Weak points and explosives provide all kinds of ways to destroy levels with long chain reactions.  Turrets that shoot lasers can sometimes be knocked askew so that they shoot pigs instead of your birds.  Cloud City levels have vents that blow your birds upwards so that they can go farther.  If you have played the original Angry Birds and you are weary of its gameplay, then you may find the Star Wars-themed version to be surprisingly refreshing.  If you are new to the series, then you will find the game to be a great mixture of casual, puzzle-based destruction.

Here is the fly in the ointment though – almost everything above applies to all of the other versions of Angry Birds Star Wars.  It is nice to play the game in HD on a big screen, but the game doesn’t look noticeably better than the HD version for the iPad.  That version costs three bucks, plus another three bucks for the Boba Fett and "Path of the Jedi" missions.  This one costs $50.  For a whole bumch of extra money what do you get?  You get to use a gamepad to play the game, which is tethered to your living room.  The analog sticks work perfectly fine for the game, but so does a touch screen.  The game also uses the Dual Shock touch pad, but it controls poorly when compared to the analog sticks.  If you play this game, chances are you will find yourself experimenting with the touch pad a little bit before concluding that it isn’t worth your time.  Besides trophy support, the Playstation 4 doesn’t offer any advantage to the levels that already show up on the iPad.  It goes without saying that the processing power of the platform is not fully put to use here.  This version does offer 20 exclusive levels.  While they are quality levels, they don’t offer any new tricks or functionality.  They are essentially more of the same.

If it were priced competitively, Angry Birds Star Wars for the PS4 might be recommendable.  However, at $50, it appears to be an attempt to take advantage of the PS4 early adopters who are desperate to find something to play.  There are a lot of worthy ways for you to spend your $50, and there are a lot more legitimate excuses to turn on your PS4.