When it comes to mobile videogames only a very select few have probably made it to almost every device on the market, in some form. Franchises like Candy Crush and Angry Birds are synonymous with addictive mobile gaming, whether you’re on the train or killing time at work. Now, thanks to a collaboration between Rovio Entertainment and Resolution Games, the iconic bird flinging title has not only been brought into 3D but also to virtual reality (VR). But beware, because Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs has lost none of the series’ charms.
What’s great right from the word go is that both studios haven’t tried to do anything radically different that might alienate the core Angry Birds audience that has followed the franchise since 2009. Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs is still very much part of the family, both in its design and light-hearted comedy overtones. You instantly feel at home in the warming embrace of the first level’s exotic island, ready to start dispatching pigs from your land.
Just like the 2D version, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs is all about catapulting those brightly coloured birds at the pig’s various fortresses, finding that perfect weak point to bring it all crumbling down with a single perfect shot. If you’ve played any VR title with a bow then you’ll be right at home here, with the catapult automatically loading a bird for you, all you need to do is pull back the elastic, aim with the dotted reticule and fire.
All the usual familiar faces are there to, from Red, the angriest of Angry Birds, yellow Chuck whose special ability is speed, and Bomb who has an explosive personality. None are individually selectable, with each level giving you a select quota to complete the challenge.
Ideally suited to seated gameplay rather than standing or roomscale, these 3D fortresses are no longer designed to be hit from one direction, with each level offering different points in the scenery to which you can teleport to. This certainly helps to give a better viewpoint on the more difficult levels, revealing hidden TNT boxes, certain structural weak points or a sneaky green pig trying to avoid your attention. These are fixed, however, so you can’t fully view each building which is a little shame but won’t hinder getting maximum stars.
Again, the same mechanics apply. To complete a level you’ll need to kill all the pigs. That’ll get you a single star. To get a maximum of three stars you not only need to cause total carnage but do it with as few a birds as possible. And there are quite a few levels to complete, with four different locations to play through each with 13 stages, the final one being a Boss level. Just like its brethren, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs leans heavily on repetition, going through the levels quickly the first time gaining one or two stars, then spending time perfecting each level for those three stars.
Rovio Entertainment and Resolution Games have certainly played it safe with Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs. While there aren’t really any major surprises when it comes to content and gameplay the adaption to VR has worked superbly well, with the studios retaining the high production values they’re known for. Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs is Angry Birds just in VR, and that’s no bad thing, equally fun and frustrating as it ever was.