Angry Birds Space benefits nicely from its astronomical subject matter in both gameplay and aesthetics

User Rating: 7.5 | Angry Birds Space IOS
Note: game played on ipad mini

With the original Angry Birds exceeding over twelve million downloads from Apple's App Store alone, it was inevitable that many sequels would entail. Angry Birds Space sends the infuriated birds beyond the stars to beat up those obnoxious, green, bad piggies who have once again abducted the birds' precious eggs.

As in previous entries, you utilize touch screen controls to pull back and launch birds from a sling shot, aiming to pummel their oinking foes. A dotted line gives you an idea of where your shot will travel and ultimately end up; it is a simple geometrical game where trajectory is extremely important for success. If your bird hits an object, he automatically loses his momentum and his impact will be minimal on any pig. The pigs are usually set atop some scaffolding or beneath a tower of sticks, concrete or ice blocks.

The unique element in Angry Birds Space (surprise, surprise) is its implementation of gravity or (lack thereof). There are around ten to thirty stages in each of the six worlds in Angry Birds Space. Small planetoids are in many of the stages, and a ring of gravity surrounds them.

At times, your birds will be launched from within a gravity ring, and sometimes launched into them. When traveling in a gravity ring, the birds are pulled toward the planetoids, traveling 'round and 'round until bashing into the circular mass of rock. Pigs are stationed around the planetoids at different angles, and you must figure out how to launch your bird into the pigs in conjuction with the gravity ring's pull. This aspect alone qualifies Angry Birds Space as a deeper puzzle game than any of its predecessors.

Pigs are not always stationary; in certain stages they are floating around the level, and eliminating all of them can feel like shooting a lucky shot and successfully causing a chain reaction of explosions, collapsing parts and floating debris that fling into those hard-to-hit enemies. Thankfully, there are different kinds of birds to help strengthen your chances.

The red bird remains the "regular robin" of the bunch, but some of his friends have unique abilities. The purple bird (who is yellow in previous games) will launch himself, at a very high speed, into the desired spot that you touch on the screen. Birds of this feather don't always go to the EXACT spot that you touch, and this will cause you to fail a few times, but it works for the most part. The exploding-bomb birds return, and a bird that inflates, knocking down much of what is around him, also joins the crew.

When you defeat a boss, you may earn an eagle, or several. When you launch an eagle, he comes out of a vortex and swiftly obliterates any pork near him. When you use an eagle in a stage, you are not able to earn stars, however. Depending on how well you score on any given stage, you can earn either a one, two, or three star rating. Earning three stars for each level in a world will unlock a bonus stage. As for the boss battles briefly mentioned above, they're a real nice addition to the gameplay, and it is quite enjoyable taking down some giant pig in a wacky vehicle or contraption of some sort.

Angry Birds Space is yet another good and charming Angry Birds game. The trek into space was a good idea, not just for gameplay reasons, but for visual diversity in the series. An educational element is present: icons are spread throughout the level selection pages, and by tapping on them one can learn about astronomical subjects such as Mars, NASA, and more; it's an especially good addition for kids. As far as gameplay goes, this is yet another solid mobile/iOS game from Rovio; it can get a bit repetitive, especially if you have played previous entries in the franchise, but there is no denying that the space elements make it innovative and fun.