Angry Birds Star Wars Review (X360)

Flinging Angry Birds Has Never Been So Fun

Angry Birds Star Wars for Xbox 360 is packed with dozens of hours of content to play through, decent presentation, and solid gameplay that is really genuinely fun.  It will also cost you a "bargain" price of $39.99, which is a tough pill to swallow considering a lot of the same content is available for a fraction of that cost on your mobile device.  For some players, that price difference is too much to overcome.

  There are benefits to buying a console version though, such as achievements, great controls, and being able to play on a nice big screen, just to name a few.  Some people just don't like mobile gaming, though, and being able to play something as fun as Angry Birds Star Wars on a console, even at a premium, just might be worth it.

Update - It has been a couple years, so Angry Birds Star Wars is now dirt cheap - the price it should have been to begin with - which makes it much more worth picking up. 

Game Details

  • Kinect Sensor Optional
  • Publisher:  Activision
  • Developer: Rovio
  • ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Pros:  Tons of content; genuinely addictive and fun; funny take on "Star Wars"
  • Cons:  Load times; awful menus; price; Kinect controls

Features

Angry Birds Star Wars is a birds vs. piggies take on the classic "Star Wars" trilogy.  The characters are re-imagined as birds and pigs, and it is all rather cute and clever how well done it all is.

  It is only the classic trilogy and doesn't contain any of the prequel stuff included with the recently released Angry Birds Star Wars II.

There are more than a hundred levels split between Tatooine, the Death Star, Hoth (and the asteroid field), and Cloud City as well as levels featuring Boba Fett, Jedi Training with Yoda on Degobah, new exclusive levels, and more.

  There is dozens of hours of gameplay here, and it can really hook you if you try to go for high scores.

Gameplay

The basics of Angry Birds Star Wars gameplay is like this.  Each level has a bunch of pigs that need to be killed, so you launch birds at them - by pulling the left analog stick back at the angle you want to launch them at with a slingshot, and then pressing "A" to fire - to either hit them directly or to cause items in the environment to fall on them and crush them.  It really is that simple.  At least at first.  As you play through the game, you open up new characters and powers that make you much more effective at exterminating those Imperial pigs.  Luke has a lightsaber he can swing.  Obi Wan can force push objects.  Han has a blaster.  Leia has a tractor beam to pull objects apart.  And Chewbacca is just a big brute that can smash through stuff the other characters bounce off of.  As you play you'll unlock enhanced versions of these powers. 

The real key to the game, however, is that the level designs continually add new and interesting mechanics.  Levels set in outer space will require you to slingshot your birds around planets with different gravity levels, and finding the perfect angle to land your attack just where you want it is tricky and satisfying.

  The Cloud City levels have currents of air that toss your birds (as well as any debris you create) around in predictable patterns you can use to cause a lot of destruction.  The level designs in general just get more and more complex with more pigs to beat, more obstacles to get around, and more interesting ways to use the great physics to cause a lot of mayhem as efficiently as possible. 

The idea is that each level has one "right" way to beat it, where you can finish off all of the pigs with just one bird, but not really any "wrong" ways of doing things.  You might have to use all of the birds at your disposal (usually 3 but sometimes more) to finish it, but as long as the pigs are dead it doesn't matter.

  Unless, that is, you want to try to get high scores and earn 3 stars on every level.  Then the game becomes very addictive and fun as you try to figure out the best way to beat each level.  Believe me, you'll get hooked, and since you can instantly restart a level simply by holding the "X" button, you can try and fail and restart really quickly.

I do have a handful of issues with the game on consoles, though.  First, the load times seem kind of excessive for how small and simple the levels are.  Luckily, like I mentioned above, once the level is loaded you can restart it instantly with no load times, which helps quite a bit.  Another problem I have is that the menus are just totally awful.  They are generally just icons with no text to describe what they actually do, so when you first play you'll fumble around on the menus not knowing exactly what does what. 

Kinect

The game also has optional Kinect controls, but they aren't really worth using.  They don't work nearly as accurately as using a standard controller, greatly hinder your camera control (which makes later levels much harder), and they also tend to slow down the pace of the game far too much.  The whole point here is being able to quickly and easily restart a level over and over again, and doing so is a pain with Kinect. 

Graphics & Sound

The presentation is only okay, but it doesn't have to be spectacular.  You can easily see everything you need to see, so no complaints here.  The sound is quite good, since it all is taken from the "Star Wars" movies, and the music is nice too even though it is largely themes that are "close" to the themes from the movies, but not the same.

  It still sounds good.

Bottom Line

All in all, Angry Birds Star Wars is a really fun game.  If the ludicrously cheap mobile versions didn't exist, I would easily recommend it even for the full $40 price tag.  But those mobile versions do exist, which makes paying full price on Xbox 360 sting quite a bit.  With that said, maybe you don't like mobile gaming.  Maybe you want to play on a nice big screen with great controls.  Maybe you want to play a fun and funny game with your family.  If any of these scenarios apply to you, there is enough content here that I don't think you'll mind paying full MSRP for Angry Birds Star Wars because it will be exactly what you want.  And, hey, purely by lack of competition (LEGO Star Wars, Force Unleashed)  it is one of the best Star Wars games on Xbox 360, so it has that going for it as well.  The game will also be available on Xbox One.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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