Angry Birds with the blonde hair of Luke Skywalker and a fiendish pig Darth Vader so terrible that he has the power of three pigs – that’s the zany idea behind Angry Birds Star Wars. An imaginative marriage of two franchises that somehow both remain faithful to their distinctly roots, the game may end up being one of the most popular of 2012. Before loading up the Angry Birds’ latest adventure, be sure to check out the following tips.

The Birds have new abilities.

First and foremost, the familiar birds that are launched at the target areas have gotten makeovers to look the part of the Rebel Alliance in Angry Birds Star Wars. Underneath the cosmetic changes, however, lurks something far more important. Each class of birds now has a special Star Wars ability, like the Han Solo bird’s blaster that fires off three devastating laser rounds. Be sure to make use of these new special abilities and don’t forget to use The Force when using a Jedi bird like Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi.

When in doubt, call upon the mighty Millennium Falcon.

Replacing the Mighty Eagle from the old Angry Birds, the galaxy’s fastest ship is here to rescue players when they get stuck on particularly hard levels. Players can earn the power up by collecting gold stars or they can buy more Falcons within the app. Calling upon the Falcon requires use of a targeting droid that sets things up for the ship to come in and lay waste with its lasers.

Golden Droids are out there, try and nab them.

With the same metallic color as C3PO, the hidden Golden Droids are the key to unlocking bonus levels. If the birds can nab the Golden Droids some of the most fun bonus features of the game become immediately accessible, so try and get close because the droids are few and far between in the game’s 80 levels.

Don’t fear the lasers.

There are enemies and fixed positions scattered throughout the world of Angry Birds Star Wars that love nothing more than shooting down defenseless birds with their lasers. Being hit with a direct shot will slow a bird right in its tracks, but this isn’t always a bad thing. Getting knocked quickly out of the sky can provide birds with a better angle to drop down with; other birds can use the Force to deflect the lasers back at the pigs.

Pig Darth Vader may not necessarily be the first target to pursue.

Some of the game’s best puzzles revolve around the presence of Star Wars’ signature baddie, Darth Vader. The three pig menace seen in Angry Birds Star Wars is a tough enemy and might seem like the first thing worth taking out anytime he appears. Sometimes, however, he is using the Force to hold up certain areas of the map, making it into a trickier puzzle than the level may seem at first glance. Be sure that things won’t come crashing down in a bad way before taking out Vader, and leave him for last when it’ll make things easier.

Look out for secrets!

There are lots of surprises hidden throughout the world of Angry Birds Star Wars. Pay attention to any reflective surfaces; there’s usually something lurking nearby. Wondering where R2D2, C3P0 and other favorite Star Wars characters are? Be sure to complete every level as efficiently as possible to unlock secret characters.

Zoom in n' out.

It’s easy to get locked into shooting birds from the same view over and over, but some puzzles are so big they simply require zooming out just to get a feel for the whole thing. Pinch to get a broad view and expand to zoom in and see details. Some puzzles require quite a bit of thinking, so zooming in and out allows players to come up with a sound strategy to defeat the Empire.