If you have never played Angry Birds before, here's the skinny: use a giant rubber band to slingshot a variety of birds (some of which explode, drop egg bombs, multiply in flight, speed up like a rocket, well you get the idea) at a bunch of pigs hiding in a building framework of wood and stone. The idea being to use all the demolition skills you, and your angry birds, can muster in order to destroy those darn pigs. Like all the best games it is amazingly simple and incredibly annoying all at the same time.
Simple because anyone can pick this up and play it, and that includes the ability and age gap represented by my youngest child to my elderly mother. It's a point and shoot physics blaster that takes a moment to 'get' but an age to master. Which is where the annoying part comes in. Demolishing each building on a level is relatively easy, getting the required score to attain three stars for doing so is not. And then there are a number of hidden golden eggs to release throughout, based upon scores, hitting certain objects and so on. Once you get hooked into the world of Angry Birds it starts to become a little Pokemon-esque in that you've gotta get 'em all. Which is where game developers Rovio have been pretty clever by asking you for a $0.99 one-off investment to get the game, after which they just keep feeding out free updates with additional levels and new birds to chuck in order to keep your habit fed and keep you telling everyone how flippin' great the game is.
So why would you want to pay another $0.99 for a much shorter, albeit seasonally themed, version of the same game? It's a good question, and to be honest one that can only be answered by saying that if you are an Angry Birds fan then you really won't mind shelling out what is, if you'll excuse the pun, chicken feed in financial terms for a few more hours of spooky playability. There have been some complaints in the App Store that Rovio is ripping players off, more to the point ripping loyal Angry Birds players off, by charging for a bunch of new levels dressed in Halloween outfits. But, c'mon people, Rovio has provided everything before now free of charge (if you discount the few cents you paid for the game in the first place) and now is charging just another few cents for 45 brand new levels. Is that really a rip off? Certainly not by any definition of the term that I've ever come across.
Sure, there really is nothing new here in terms of gameplay, graphics or anything much other than the slightly silly theme. But that's a good thing, we want more of the same and we don;t want the developers to mess around with a winning format too much. If they did, there actually might be some cause for complaint. That said, what Rovio has done with the Angry Birds Halloween special is tinker with it just enough to make it a little more challenging for those of use who have completed the original game, across all levels, unlocking all the golden eggs and achieving three stars on everything. Yes, I have way too much time on my hands.
Think of this as being Angry Birds: TNG for those gamers who have played the original to death and want something a little harder. Attaining three stars on every one of the 45 levels of the Halloween version is not going to be an easy task methinks.
Watch the official Angry Birds Halloween video trailer: