Seems like yesterday when Rovio’s infamous hit Angry Birds took over the mobile game market. A game where you fling birds from a slingshot to fire at structures made by green piggies that was simple and fun. So twelve decent follow-ups later we come to the thirteenth title in the franchise with Angry Birds 2. The unlucky number 13 fits this perfectly, as a terrible IAP (in app purchase) system renders what could’ve been a fantastic mobile title into a fowl mess that’s best left for the birds.
At its core, Angry Birds 2 is basically the same but with more detailed, colorful graphics and animations. You still fling birds at the pig’s buildings, but instead your birds come in the form of cards you get to choose from, each having their own special power (Red can push stuff over, small bird still splits into three smaller birds, etc) with the ability to get spell cards as well. Some of the spells include making a blizzard rain down on your enemies, making the pigs grow large enough to topple their own buildings, making rubber ducks fall from the sky and more.
It’s pretty neat how they’ve included a sense of strategy in deciding which bird and spell to use and when. Also as you destroy things, you’ll fill up a meter that grants you an additional random card when it’s full. The card can either be one of the birds or a spell, which makes destroying stuff pay off just as much as killing the pigs. You’ll want to keep these random cards coming, as the stages now have multi-level parts to them that keep the action going longer, as well bosses you’ll have to take on.
Now that all the fun stuff is the way, let’s talk about the not-so-fun things. The main problem is that instead of being a paid game like the first few entries were, Rovio went the freemium route like their last few games. Some of those weren’t that bad, but this one is where they really messed up. There’s gems that you can get while playing that let you retry levels without having to start from the beginning or purchase more lives. Oh yeah, you have lives now, five of them. Guess what happens when you run out? That’s right, you gotta use those gems to play more, buy some with real money, or wait forever for enough gems or lives to pop up to start playing again.
There are a few ways to earn gems, none of them are really good though. You can join the competitive arena and try to win some, watching video ads, or playing with some of your friends. But of course the easiest and quickest way is to buy them, which most people will be tempted to do since the levels tend to get difficult quickly in order to push you to add funds to your mobile account. To me (and I’m sure A LOT of players) this is just a sad, terrible attempt at making money by frustrating those who play into caving in and buying the IAP the game provides, much like EA did with Plants vs Zombies 2.
Angry Birds 2 could’ve been the awesome sequel that everyone was hoping for, with improved graphics and animations along with a neat card system that gives the title a much needed sense of depth and strategy. Sadly, Rovio chose the greedy route and make it difficult to play and enjoy without forking over some cash to do so. If you’re OK with this change (and have some spare change), then chances are you’re already into this. Everyone else will want to leave this fowled up mess to the birds.