A few weeks ago, when I first saw the trailer for ‘Angry Birds Go!’, I thought that it looked great, something that I could really have a good time with, on both my phone and tablet. Having not really been hooked into the traditional Angry Birds games, but nonetheless still a fan of the characters and style Rovio have managed to achieve, it seemed like a great opportunity to enjoy that world in a completely different play style. Talking about this also reminds me of the Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare game which is trying a similar tactic of evolving past their traditional formula. It seems to be a popular thing to do nowadays, especially for franchises that started off on the mobile devices.
So how does Angry Birds Go! hold up? Well first of all the game offers two options of controls, either tilt to move or tried and true direction buttons, allowing people not to make total tits of themselves on the train or getting into the corners by leaning unnaturally at home. While these are by no means revolutionary set ups, the controls feel sluggish and slightly unresponsive. Even karts that are supposed to handle well can feel slow and just not as sharp as they should be. The tracks themselves vary, as you would expect from any racing game, from mud to grass to snow to … boring, boring and boring. There really is very little on the race course to set this game apart and to be honest, off the track is not exactly a party either.
As you progress throughout the game you will gain coins to level up your chosen karts in areas such as top speed, acceleration, handling and strength. Advancing through the levels you will also unlock more playable characters which of course are variations of birds and pigs from the game. Each character will have a special ability from extra boosts to shields and explosions! These will be needed to get an advantage and to gain those all important 3 stars at the end of each race.
One nice note harmonising from this game is the race types, of course there is the standard race against everyone to the finish, but that is only one of a few possible race varieties to choose from. One race will see you picking up fruit until a quota is full, while another will see you dodging various obstacles to reach the finish line before your kart explodes like a can in a microwave (WARNING: DO NOT PUT A CAN IN THE MICROWAVE). These objectives do the job of momentarily taking your mind off the clunky controls and standard level designs as you slide dangerously close to the edge of having fun. Unfortunately, while these game mode offer a bit of variety, to pad out the game you will be required to play them over and over again to the point of sheer frustration.
A big factor for the structure of this game is that it’s free to play, making it accessible to anyone who has a device the game has released on. The free to play concept is a subject of a much larger debate that I wouldn’t dare to try and answer right now, but here it doesn’t feel necessary. Making this title free to play means that it is littered with in game purchases, each characters require a recharge time before they can go back on the track and of course this can be sped up by spending cash or you can choose to splash the cash on the best karts, some of which can set you back over £30! Now I have no godly idea who in the hell would pay that much for a vehicle in a game that should be priced at £2.99 at the most and, I hope to never meet them as they are clearly clinically insane. It also makes me lose some respect for the company who up to now has been a massive figure pushing mobile games to the success they now enjoy.
So should you play Angry Birds Go!? Well as it’s free there is no excuse for you to not download it and see for yourself whether it is worth your time, but if you are content to just listen to me, then I would tell you to avoid it for a little while. Rovio may be planning something bigger for this new venture, and who knows if we will get new maps and game modes sooner rather than later. For now, if you want to play a fun racing game, why not try out Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed? It may cost £2.99 but you are getting a great racing game with a lot more depth and gameplay than Angry Birds. And I think that this is the curse of these fun racing games, ultimately they are always competing with the likes of Sonic and Mario Kart, and when you are offering a free to play game, why would I want that over other games that can offer me so much more for just a little bit of cash.
Games Publisher: Rovio
Platform: IOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry 10
(If you are an individual that sufferers with the need to spend £34.99 on a kart in Angry Bird Go! Please seek help immediately, or please finance our website)