Monday, 8 September 2014

Angry Birds Stella’ for iOS and Android game review

Rovio recently released a new Angry Birds game. The 48712721317th game in the series, Angry Birds Stella features brand new characters and story. Let’s take a look.


At it’s core, Angry Birds Stella is still essentially the physics based bird flinging game. The difference here is the presence of brand new characters, each of which have unique abilities.
There are five birds in total: Stella, Poppy, Luca, Willow, and Dahlia. After you fling each of these birds, you have to press and hold on the screen to unleash their special abilities. Time slows down temporarily when you press and hold, allowing you to aim your special attack, before speeding up again.
Stella can bounce off surfaces. You can press and hold on the surface you want her to bounce off and the game shows the path she would bounce on so you can use the temporary slowing of time to aim your attack. Poppy can drill down vertically and even break through stone to get those hard to reach pigs. Luca can emit a high pitch scream that cuts through glass. His scream can pass through wood but not through stone. Willow can shred through anything and Dahlia can do pretty much the same.
All the abilities are fairly fresh and the implementation is also unique to this game, which makes what would have otherwise been yet another Angry Birds game seem new and interesting.
As before, you get up to three stars for each level. One good thing is that this time you are shown how much points you need to get all three stars and it’s not vague like it is on older Angry Birds games. The stars you collect unlock additional items. Also, depending upon the total stars you have, you get the birds for each level. If you don’t have enough stars, you get fewer birds, which in effect reduces your top score, which reduces the number of stars you get. Fortunately, getting at least two stars is not that difficult and you should get all three with some practice.
The stars also unlock outfits for the birds, which you can use within the game. The game also has support for Telepods and you can purchase Telepods of in-game characters that you can place on the device’s camera and the character gets unlocked within the game. (This is why the game requires access to camera, and not to spy on you.)
Angry Birds Stella is a free game. Although there are no ads, you pay in other ways, to be specific, through in-app purchases. After every few levels, the game would just stop and tell you to come back after a few hours. The alternative is to pay using in-game currency, which you earn as you play the game and get more stars. If you run out of in-game currency, which is almost never enough, you have to pay real money.
The ‘pay now or come back later’ system is annoying and really breaks the gameplay experience. This is sad because the game is actually good.

Graphics and Sound

Angry Birds Stella actually looks amazing. The standard Angry Birds visual design has been given a nice overhaul, with sharp, vibrant visuals that look very pretty. The animations for the birds and pigs are also cute.
There are some minor issues with the visuals. On iOS, there are some ugly non-Retina assets that stand out like sore thumb on an otherwise attractive game. On Android, there is no immersive mode and you have to deal with the navigation buttons on the side, which is annoying.
Sound-wise, there is not much to talk about. The music, if at all it exists, is entirely forgettable (I literally don’t remember what it sounds like). I like the sound effects, but even those weren’t particularly great.


Angry Birds Stella is a fresh take on an ageing game. The new characters and gameplay mechanics breathe new life into the series and the latest iteration is genuinely fun. The refreshed graphics are also quite attractive.
Unfortunately, greedy money-making tactics prevent you from really enjoying the game, unless you keep throwing money every now and then. Giving the game away for free and then stopping you every now and then to pay is like a restaurant giving away a meal for free and then stopping you after every two bites to either pay or come back later to finish the meal. Eventually you stop and don’t go back, which is what will happen with this game.
Unfortunately, this is what gaming has come to these days. Best thing to do would be to not give in and pay such developers. If at all you care about gaming as a whole, that is.

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