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Angry Birds


EricBall

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There's a free Angry Birds beta available via the Chrome App Store. I've played through the first 21 screens and I can't understand why it's so popular.

 

This isn't to say that I don't enjoy it. I certainly had fun with this physics/puzzle game. But I also found the gameplay somewhat frustrating, and my tolerance and patience for failure is reasonably high. Thus, I imagine that most people would find the game very frustrating (confirmed by my wife), thus I am puzzled by why it's popular.

 

The problem, IMHO, is the game asks the player to do two tasks:

  1. Determine the "right" place for the bird to hit to kill the pigs.
  2. Pull the slingshot back correctly to hit the desired target. (With the additional timing requirements for some of the birds.)

 

Unlike some other parabolic arc firing games I've played, Angry Birds doesn't give the player any help in determining #2 for the first shot. Yes, you can refine your later shots base on the previous one, but that doesn't help with that first, often critical shot. And that's a problem. Because unlike a game like Worms where a mis-aimed shot typically has no negative impact, with Angry Birds that first shot can often cause the structure to collapse in such a way that it's significantly more difficult, if not impossible, to kill the pigs using the remaining shots.

 

So, in order to be successful you have to accomplish both #1 and #2 on the first shot with no aids to assist with either. Difficult? Yes. Frustrating? You betcha.

 

I also can't imagine trying to play the game on an iTouch/iPhone with the level of accuracy required with the slingshot (unless it's really zoomed in compared to the WebGL version).

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I've found frustration in some of the levels of Angry Birds, but more often than not I've enjoyed it. I just replay the levels a lot, and if I get too frustrated, I move on to the next (I don't obsess over getting three stars, because I agree that would be too frustrating). I play it on an iPhone 3GS (no Retina Display), zoomed out, and I haven't found the accuracy to be that much of an issue.

 

If anything, I like the replayability of the game, because you can usually clear a level pretty easily, but improving your score becomes the challenge. I think the popularity of it stems from it being 1) cute and 2) easy to just pick up and play for a quick gaming fix.

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