Star Wars news is hot right now. It wasn't enough that LucasFilm was purchased by Disney last week, with a new movie announced and all sorts of moves being made to guarantee the future of the franchise, but there's also the latest Angry Birds game, which ties in with George Lucas' much beloved space franchise. This Thursday, Angry Birds Star Wars will be available for just a few bucks, bringing the puzzle-solving nature of the hit Rovio game together with various locales and characters from the movies, mapped to fit the style of play. We've taken a close look at the gameplay to see what players can expect.
First off, the traditional rules of Angry Birds still apply. You've got a group of bad pig heads that are scattered throughout each stage, hiding beneath elaborate buildings made of wood, stone and glass. You've got a particular set of birds for each stage to break through these materials and bring it all toppling down in the most minimal amount of turns available. Sometimes the solution is as simple as bringing down one small structure and watching everything else topple, like a domino effect.
What's different about this game is the whole Star Wars theme, and how it's implemented. Various levels across Angry Birds Star Wars will take you through such settings as Tattooine, with its sandy hills and treacherous Hutt-like obstacles, and Hoth, filled with icy surroundings and walking AT-AT's that are surprisingly vulnerable, as they can be taken down with one hit in the right place – unlike the film. You'll even reach the far reaches of space for some particular levels, including planets that resemble ones from the movies. We wouldn't be surprised if the Death Star showed up at one point in the game…
But character is truly defined in Angry Birds Star Wars. That's because each of the familiar birds, including the familiar red hero bird, the "splitter" blue bird and the speedy yellow bird, have been remapped with characters from the film. For instance, red has become Luke Skywalker, lightsaber in hand; the yellow bird now resembles the gun-toting Han Solo; and the giant red birds has become the incredibly hairy Chewbacca.
These redesigns aren't just for show. Each bird has an extra effect that helps them destroy items in the environment as each stage passes, along with their own speedy strength once they're launched out of the familiar slingshot. For instance, with the red bird, once he's flying through the air, you can tap the button a second time for him to quickly swipe his lightsaber. Doing so gives him a somewhat limited but powerful attack range, destroying anything – even stone – in the vicinity. He's ideal if you want to do a lot of damage on a lower level of a structure, so it can come crashing down on the others with ease.
Princess Leia, aka the pink bird, actually uses her own "force" powers, as lasers shoot out of her eyes that enable her to pull an object out of its place. In the trailer that we've included below, for instance, you can see she makes short work of an AT-AT while flying straight at it, with the remains heading toward a nearby building that doesn't stand a chance against its size.
The other birds are quite useful. Han Solo, aka the yellow bird, can fire lasers, and not just for straight-on shots. In some levels of the game, the lasers can actually bounce off of reflective services, continuing to go until they hit something. This adds a new degree of strategy to the game, as the right shot can easily send everything in a stage tumbling down, gaining you extra points for the leftover birds you didn't utilize.
Chewbacca serves his purpose, not only with his immense size, but a strong "bark"-style attack that sends sound waves rippling through certain objects, causing them to break. The droids R2-D2 and C-3PO also serve a purpose, as you can guide the golden 3PO with an additional push to hit enemies, or let loose with a devastating charge with R2, frying pretty much anything within his range.
Other characters will be introduced in the game as well (including Obi Wan Kenobi), and you can bet that Rovio will be supplying plenty of downloadable content in the months ahead with new level packs. Personally, we'd love to see a Yoda-related bird show up, just for the sake of pushing things around and being an unstoppable Jedi.
If you're a fan of either Angry Birds or Star Wars, this will no doubt be a dream come true for you once it releases this Thursday on both the App Store and Android market, with possible future platforms to come as well. Clearly, the Force is strong with this one…