It’s been a surprisingly long time coming, but Rovio’s runaway success Angry Birds has finally hit Facebook with all the force of a Mighty Eagle. After its original December 2009 release on iOS devices, the game has since seen ports to Android, the Chrome Web Store, BlackBerry, Windows, Mac OS X and numerous other platforms. It has also seen another “social” release via Google+.
For those unfamiliar with the concept behind Angry Birds, here’s a quick recap. The game is a physics-based puzzler in which players are challenged to destroy a number of green pigs who have stolen the titular Birds’ eggs. The Birds have no wings so are unable to fly, and as such it’s up to the player to help them attack the pigs using a giant slingshot. Most of the pigs hide inside structures made of various materials, and the key to high scores is in using the available birds effectively to bring these structures tumbling down in the most efficient way possible.
As the player progresses through the game, additional types of bird are introduced: some can boost their speed while in flight, some can split into smaller birds, some can explode. Players don’t get to choose the lineup of birds that is provided for them at the start of a level, so part of the game’s strategy is in using each of the birds as effectively as possible.
The Facebook version adds an additional layer of options to players, which is also how the game is monetized. Four different powerups are available in limited quantities: a Sling Scope, which assists with aiming; a Birdquake, which shakes the ground and potentially destabilizes precarious constructions; Super Seeds, which cause the current bird to grow to large size and thus make them more powerful; and the King Sling, which makes the slingshot considerably more powerful, allowing the birds to reach targets that are further away. Players also have the option, as in the iOS version, of summoning a gigantic Mighty Eagle to cause as much “one-shot” destruction as possible. Five uses of all powerups, including the Mighty Eagle, are provided to players when they first start the game, with additional bundles purchasable through the in-game shop. Players may send gifts to one another, which may include powerups, but the only reliable means to acquire a specific item is to purchase it using Facebook Credits. There is no soft currency available with which players can earn new powerups through normal gameplay.
Besides the powerups, the Facebook version’s interface differs from the other editions seen around the Web, most of which are fairly straight ports of the iOS original. A leaderboard is presented at the side and top of the screen, with the latter updating in real time as players achieve higher scores. The game also includes a Facebook-exclusive level pack which is available for play from the outset, so even Angry Birds veterans will have something new to challenge. Meanwhile, the game’s original episodes provide a gradual introduction to the mechanics, though Rovio’s seeming aversion to using words in their tutorials can make some explanatory diagrams a little more obtuse than they need to be.
The game makes use of Adobe Flash Player 11’s support for 3D acceleration hardware, allowing for improved visuals over previous iterations of the game, maintaining a smooth frame rate even while special effects such as lighting, smoke and explosions are filling the screen. This will have an additional effect over and above improved graphical performance. Note that with an estimated 15 million fans worldwide, Angry Birds is also an ideal showcase game for Adobe.
Angry Birds remains one of the most popular iOS titles to this day, so it’s surprising that it hasn’t hit Facebook sooner. Now it has, however, developer Rovio can look forward to having a very popular social game with a robust monetization strategy on its hands alongside all the other editions of its iconic title.
Due to the game’s recent launch, detailed MAU and DAU data is not yet available. You’ll shortly be able to track Angry Birds’ progress using AppData, our traffic tracking application for social games and developers.
A solid social rethink of the immensely popular game with enough new features to attract both veterans and newcomers.