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COLUMN: Aaron's Backstage Pass: Angry Birds Star Wars Wii U Review

Updated: 11/06/2013 12:03 PM
Created: 11/04/2013 4:50 PM KSTP.com
By: Aaron Chalich

One of the games that I am really addicted to on my phone is “Angry Birds,” and I have spent endless hours playing it and trying to figure out the best way to pass each level.

For those of you who have never played “Angry Birds,” it is a puzzle game, and your goal is to take wingless birds and shoot them at pigs with a slingshot. Blocks and other objects sometimes surround the pigs, and you must try and destroy all of the pigs by using the least amount of birds.  It is possible to destroy all of the pigs in each level with one bird, and the thing that makes “Angry Birds” fun, in my opinion, is trying to figure out how to do it.

Each bird has its own unique abilities, and as you play, you will unlock different birds. Some birds fly farther than others, and some will explode if you push a button at the right time, causing more damage. 

There have been many sequels to “Angry Birds” since its release in 2009, and this past week, Activision released “Angry Birds: Star Wars.” It is my favorite sequel so far. 

This game is so awesome because it mixes the “Star Wars” universe and “Angry Birds” together. 

Your goal is to defeat the evil Pig Empire by using your Jedi powers.  The pigs are scattered all over in familiar “Star Wars” locations, and you must try and destroy all of them in each level using the least amount of birds.

There are eight main planets that contain many challenging levels to play.  You can choose to play on Tatooine, Death Star, Hoth, Cloud City, Boba Fett Missions, Path of the Jedi, Exclusive Levels, and Bonus Levels.

Each level has three stars that you can get.  If you destroy all of the pigs in a level, you will at least get one star and will move on to the next level.  If you destroy all of the pigs and do a lot of damage by using one bird, you will get three stars.  Your goal is to try and get all three stars in each level.  Once all of the levels are complete in a planet, you will unlock the next planet.

The story is pretty simple and follows the “Star Wars” movies pretty closely. It is told through pictures, which is pretty neat.  As you unlock different levels, a picture will also unlock and show you some of the story.

I thought the graphics were great.  The birds and pigs all looked great, and they all had their own unique characteristics.  The pigs looked like Storm troopers and Darth Vader.

The birds resemble all of the famous “Star Wars” characters and they all have their own unique powers.  For example, there are birds that look like R2-D2, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and C-3PO.  The Han Solo birds can shoot lasers.  As soon as they are launched a target appears, and you can move it to where you want to shoot.  When the target is on the spot, you just push a button and fire your gun. It destroys pretty much everything in its path.  The Luke Skywalker bird has a light saber, which is awesome.  As soon as you get close to the pigs, you can activate your light saber by pushing the button, and it hits everything around you.

The backgrounds for each level also looked great.  For example in the “Path of the Jedi” levels, you are in the Dagobah swamp. There are rocks and swamp grass all over it and it looks like a dirty, filthy swamp. 

The controls are very easy to learn.  You basically just pull back on the analog stick, and while you are holding it back, you can move the stick up and down to aim.  You can see where the bird is going to go by a series of dots that go from your bird and arcs toward the pigs. Once you know where you want your bird to go, you push the “A” button, and your bird will launch.  Once your bird gets close to your target, if you push “A” again, the bird will do its special power. 

As soon as your bird hits its target and does all of the damage it can do, the next bird will jump into the slingshot, and is ready to be launched.  One thing that I learned right away is to be patient and not hit the “A” button too quickly, because it will launch the next bird.

If you are using the gamepad on the Wii U, you can also use the touch screen when you are aiming and launching your birds.  You just touch the bird on the screen and move the stylus or your finger back. When you are ready to launch the bird you just lift your finger up.

One nice thing is that whenever a new bird is available to use, a menu will come up and show the bird being launched and what it does when you activate it special abilities.  I thought that this was very helpful.

Another thing that I thought was very helpful is that when you push and hold the “ZL” button, the screen will zoom out, and you can see the whole level.  That really helped me when I was trying to line up my shot.

You can unlock the Millennium Falcon and can call it in to help you out in a mission.  There are only so many times you can use it, so you have to use it wisely.  An icon will appear on the top of the screen that looks like the Millennium Falcon, and if you hold the “X” button down, it will light up and activate.  As soon as it’s activated, all of your birds will turn into metal eggs.  Once the eggs are launched, they will sit where they land.  If you push the “A” button, the eggs will give off a signal, and the Millennium Falcon will come and destroy everything around the egg. I thought this was pretty cool.

There are tons of unlockables in “Angry Birds: Star Wars.”  By completing different tasks in the game you can unlock stickers, movies, pictures, and awards.

I really thought the awards were awesome and added a lot to the game.  You can go to a menu and see all of the different things you must do to achieve the award.  For example, if you destroy 50 blocks or if you get ten character stickers, an award will unlock.

Another cool feature is that there are leader boards for each level, and you can see how well you rank among other players from around the world.  It shows the name of the player and their score.  I thought this was awesome because it made me want to play each level more to try and get the high score. 

I really enjoyed the multiplayer mode a lot.  My daughter and I spent many hours playing together, and it was a blast.  You can play co-operative where you take turns trying to destroy the pigs, or you can play a score attack mode with two to four players.  This was also a lot of fun.  You can choose to play one, three or five levels, and your goal is to see who can get the most points.

I really thought that Activision’s “Angry Birds: Star Wars” was awesome.  It is a very challenging game, and I really enjoyed the “Star Wars” theme a lot.  I thought it was great seeing how the birds and pigs looked like all of the familiar “Star Wars” characters that we all know.  I really thought the multiplayer was fun, and it is great to play with family and friends.  I know that fans of “Star Wars” and “Angry Birds” are really going to enjoy this game a lot.

“Angry Birds: Star Wars,” is rated “E” for comic mischief and mild cartoon violence.

Photo courtesy of Activision

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