Mobile gaming entered a new dimension of popularity (and, some might say, a totally different market) the day Angry Birds was released. Above and beyond the likes of Doodle Jump, Angry Birds went stratospheric almost immediately, and has since blossomed into a hugely popular brand of its own, encompassing clothing, soft toys and racks and racks of branded electronics and other goods.
In short, Rovio got lucky with Angry Birds (after a slew of not-so-brilliant titles) and then marketed the hell out of what’s essentially a very simple game. It was, and is, a massive success.
Other games in the series followed – Seasons, Rio, then Space. The games have been ported to every format you can think of, portable, home console, board game, you name it, and they’ve had some profitable tie-ins with a few big IPs over the years. None, however, have been as big as Star Wars, a franchise that’s now going to see at least three more movies and – as of today – an Angry Birds game.
And as you’d expect, it’s brilliant.
Which is good, because as you can see from the short above, there’s been a lot of money invested in this. The publishers can relax though, the same Angry Birds gameplay mechanics actually fit the Star Wars ethos pretty well, the birds replaced (or at least transformed a little) with the age-old Star Wars characters, and all the effects from the films are echoed in the game with the same confidence that the LEGO Star Wars games had.
It’s even got the proper music.
What’s most interesting, perhaps, is that a new generation of gamers will be playing this now, and this is what they’ll remember Star Wars for. Not that 1970’s action movie, but a cheap mobile game with bizarrely placed pigs dressed as Stormtroopers and cute little lightsabers. And, somehow, it doesn’t feel like an easy cash-in.
Angry Birds Star Wars is out now for iOS (starting at 69p for the iPhone version, which is iPhone 5 ready) and Android, where it’s (naturally) free, with adverts. It’s also available day one for Mac and PC, which is something of a first, I think. Basically – you’re more than likely to own a format that the game works on, now.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Pig Star to destroy.