In light of its partnership with Twentieth Century Fox, Finnish studio Rovio Mobile has released Angry Birds Rio, today, ahead of the coming animated film Rio for both the iPhone and iPad devices. Now, the egg-stealing pigs are on hiatus as the ornithological heroes are kidnapped and whisked away to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, where they get, as you’d expect, very, very angry.
Essentially the same game as the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio comes with a whole slew of new physics-based puzzles and achievements to unlock. Complete with all the quirky “bird-missiles” players are used to, the biggest change comes in the form new environmental mechanics, graphical upgrades, and an advertised boss battle at the end.
As noted already, the Angry Birds have been kidnapped and encaged in Rio. Of course, being as temperamental as they are, they promptly break free, only to learn they aren’t the only avian prisoners. As such, the objective is to find Blu and Jewel, a pair of macaws from the upcoming film, and rescue them.
Play works the same as previous titles, but for those that may not have played them, users are presented with a level filled with tediously stacked boxes and platforms. Using a massive slingshot, players fire the enraged birds at each set-up in attempt to topple them and remove all non-player characters in the puzzle; be they captured birds that need to be set free or eccentric monkeys. The trick, is that users have a finite number of shots to do so.
Each object in the game, including the cages and monkeys, has a set amount of health, and will break once it incurs enough damage — either caused by the projectile birds themselves, or other objects striking them. Because the player has limited shots, the idea is typically to strike weak points in the level layout and cause everything to topple over or into each other.
To aide in this process, many of the Angry Birds have their own special powers that players can activate, while the bird is in flight, with a simple tap. Some birds split into multiple projectiles, while others burst with speed to penetrate heavier objects. Most of these aspects will be familiar to long-time Angry Birds players, but there are a few new environmental effects that users can utilize to their advantage.
Players will notice, very early in the game, new objects such as hanging platforms, rubber inner tubs, and TNT. Each one interacts with the level in a new, and logical way. Hanging platforms can have their chains “cut” by a launched bird, causing them to fall and swing (if only one chain is cut), objects landing on rubber inner tubs will bounce, and TNT, obviously, will explode. Many levels also have golden fruits that may be collected for the previously stated achievements as well as regular fruits that add bonuses to score.
That’s really where the Angry Birds franchise comes into play. Players not only try to complete each level, but attempt to do so with the highest score possible and the highest star rating (one to three stars). As it appears, star rating looks to be based on the overall score of the user at the end of each level. Not that there isn’t plenty to do already, even without this element.
Currently, Angry Birds Rio hosts 60 levels split between two different episode. One sits within an enclosed and darkened warehouse, while the other is within a more tropical jungle. That said, Rovio is not stopping here, as they intend to release new levels episodically, starting in May. In fact, from the Episode select screen in the game, players can expect at least four new episodes for Rio in May, July, October, and November of this year.
All in all, Angry Birds Rio isn’t terribly different from the original, but it does present the player with a much more vibrant visual experience and a number of new little nuances in terms of the environment and puzzles themselves. In general, its easy to say “more of the same,” but in the case of Angry Birds, “the same” is very high quality and just as addictive and fun as past titles. Suffice it to say, Angry Birds Rio, like past iterations of the franchise, comes highly recommended.