Angry Birds Space © Rovio

In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris goes where no man has gone before with Angry Birds Space, before coming back to Earth to check out the latest on LittleBigPlanet Karting and Kinect Star Wars…

Angry Bird Space – Review

Attempting any critique of the latest in Rovio’s phenomenally successful porcine-punishing series is kind of moot. After all, such is the all-consuming love for those antagonistic avians (the various versions have been downloaded a staggering 700 million times) that if we had a bad word to say about the new instalment, Angry Birds Space, let’s face it, you’d probably ignore us and get the app (available on iPod, iPad, PC and Android) anyway. Hell, chances are you’ve already got it.

Luckily, we don’t have a bad word to say… okay, just a few.

Just like the previous titles, the game still suffers from twitchy controls and occasionally stuttering frame-rate issues, but Angry Birds Space does benefit from an all-new setting and a clever physics engine which does a decent job of replicating gravity’s inexorable pull.

The plot, as it is, finds those green pigs (in space) nicking (space) eggs and incurring the wrath of a cadre of (space) birds gifted with various powers. Those skills are pretty much the same as they ever were, albeit with the addition of a new ice bird which freezes everything it touches and space eagles which create a mini black hole to suck in unsuspecting nearby enemies.

What’s particularly fun is the implementation of the new physics engine which allows you to slingshot the kamikaze protagonists around. Enter the gravity pull of a planet and that will alter the course of your shot, chuck a few planets into the equation and you’ve got a game that requires a lot more thought and precision than its preceding episodes. While in the other titles you shoot from left to right and hope for the best, Angry Birds Space plays more like a game of pool – only with birds and pigs and colourful planets instead of balls and pockets.

If you manage to spot and hit various bonus portals, you get the chance to indulge in some Angry Bird-ified retro games ranging from Space Invaders to Super Mario Bros. And the end-of-level boss battles are a lot of fun.

Unlike previous instalments, this seems like an actual sequel in that it manages to actually improve upon the original. Even if that weren’t the case, at 69p in the UK for 60 levels (with more to be released soon), there’s really nothing to complain about. One small step for man then, one giant cheep for birdkind.

 

Byte-Sized News

  • It looks like Sony’s ModNation Racers could be officially kicking the can following the announcement that LittleBigPlanet Karting is heading our way. The PlayStation-exclusive build-your-own car and track game failed to make a splash when it was released as a PS Vita title under the name ModNation Racers: Road Trip earlier this year, so Sackboy and pals from Media Molecule’s hugely popular create-and-play platformer are about to get their motors running for what appears to be a very similar idea. The press blurb tells us that LittleBigPlanet Karting will "play host to classic karting action as well as a host of other game modes including ultra-competitive arena battles, split-screen mode or online via PlayStation Network". We’re also told that you’ll be able to not only design tracks and karts but also determine your own game rules. Sounds interesting but something special will have to be pulled out of the sack (pun intended) to make this worth trading in your old copy of ModNation for.

     
     
  • It’s an irrefutable fact that if you put a geek in a darkened room and give them a torch, they’ll start making whooshing noises and pretend they’re holding a lightsaber. It’s people like that (and, let’s face it, people like us) who are getting excited about the imminent release of Kinect Star Wars. Accordingly, the savvy marketing bods at LucasArts are pandering to the Jedi-wannabe mentality in their launch trailer, as they show fans of the franchise just what they can expect to get their hands on when the game is released at the start of April. The clip squeezes in some new in-game footage and, while we’re not too enamoured with the shiny Lego-style heads on some characters, the prospect of taking control of a Rancor has us very excited indeed.


      

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