Developer: Rovio Entertainment Ltd
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
From the parabolic arcs traced by the birds you slingshot, to the slipping, sliding, splintering, crashing, and ricocheting of various objects you sling at, Angry Birds is a physicist’s dream. Surprisingly for the average Joe (or Jane), this precision doesn't necessitate a nightmare for the rest of us – unlike an actual physics class.
This is probably because the math in Angry Birds all takes place behind the scenes and what you get is a tower-demolition game filled with 105 levels of feather-fisted revenge and destruction.
Angry Birds may be powered by equal parts physics and rage, but that's not to say there isn't plot. There is. You’re the birds. Pigs took your eggs to make omelets. You’re angry. It’s time to bring home the bacon.
The bacon hides beneath progressively more Byzantine structures made of wood, glass, and stone. You acquire progressively more deadly birds to deploy: MIRVed birds, jet-boosted birds, and exploding birds make their appearances for example, the better to knock out the ramshackle defenses.
Angry Birds use simple controls. Birds hop voluntarily into a slingshot. Pull back at the desired angle, and fire.
The birds’ chattering is an endearing touch, and you grow to hate the pigs’ smug snorting when you don’t kill them.
One flaw in the Angry Birds game-play: since the app calculates realistic physics in the background, you can wait a long time between bird-slings while the game decides whether a rock will totter over or where it will come to rest. It can be a few seconds after the real “action” until you win a level—while you wait for the last rock to fall on a pig’s head.
On the flip side, its those same spatial relations that make Angry Birds so much fun. (If I break all the glass on the top, then fire the jet-bird through all the wood, could I arc an exploding bird right where he’d make the boulder roll down the inclined plane?) Every screen is a set-up for an SAT word-problem, if you let yourself think too much.
Happily, the cawing, chattering, and snorting keep you from thinking, and Angry Birds plays intuitively and fairly fluidly. Access to the global leader boards is through Crystal, and there is also Facebook and Twitter integration.
Angry Birds is well worth the sticker price—even moreso if you express it as 9.9 x 10 2 dollars.