Mobile Monday game review: Angry Birds 2

Angry Birds 2 cover

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Angry Birds changed the world of gaming. And now, after roughly 13 spin-offs, we finally have a sequel. Hit the jump to see what I thought of it.

Game info
Genre: Puzzle
Platform/s: iOS / Android
Developer: Rovio Entertainment
Publisher: Rovio Entertainment

Quite obviously, if you enjoyed Angry Birds, you’ll like Angry Birds 2. Overall, little has changed from the first bird-flinging simulator to the second, and a lot of familiar gameplay elements are intact. You’re still using a kettie (that’s a slingshot to those of you who don’t live in South Africa) to fire birds at rickety structures and destroy the pigs who stole your eggs. It’s fun, charming and easy to get sucked into.

Despite the similarities, there are many improvements over its predecessors. Graphically it’s gorgeous, with vibrant colours, detailed environments and cute animations from the characters. The physics system is wonderful, and nothing beats the sense of satisfaction had while watching a makeshift tower collapse, shattering itself and wiping out the pigs inside it. Angry Birds 2 has 240 levels (with more promised to come), so there’s certainly a lot to do. Some structure designs repeat and become familiar, but the levels as a whole demonstrate tremendous creativity and require out-of-the-box thinking to complete efficiently.

So, is Angry Birds 2 good? Yes, tremendously. It’s honestly some of the best fun you could have with a mobile game, and if it had a price tag it would certainly justify its purchase. Unfortunately, Angry Birds 2 has a free-to-play system latched onto it like a fun-leeching parasite. Adverts are everywhere, and a new limited-lives system ensures that you can only play in measured doses.

Angry Birds 2 body 4

Each level is now sub-divided into stages, but the team of birds you take in with you has to last for the entire level. Using all your birds results in failure, and failure now costs you a life (and I’ve calculated the cost of failure to be exactly R10,02). The levels randomise between retries, completely removing all of the trial-and-error gameplay of the previous game, which of course makes you fail more. You can also tell that the game has been specifically designed to make players fail, usually by making you waste a bird on a single bloody pig floating around on a balloon.

Of course, you can always buy success. New consumable spells have been added to the game, and they’re as overpowered as they are overpriced. Using one is usually a guarantee of success, and removes the skill and luck requirements from a level. Some spells are given for free, but you’ll have to pay for most of them. Adding to the frustration is an inconsistent difficulty curve. Sometimes the levels are so easy you’ll blaze through 15 or so in a few minutes, but then you’ll suddenly hit a spike in difficulty and grind to a stop. You can tell the developers are trying to rope players into buying spells for these tough sections. Don’t do it! That’s how they get ya…

50 Angry Birds 2 is a great game that’s ruined by its free-to-play model. If this game could be bought and played unlimitedly, it would come with a glowing recommendation. In the end, this game is as good as you are tolerant of its monetisation scheme.