Angry Birds Epic is now on general release, so we take a look at Rovio’s new game, and see whether it’s worth a download. We take a look at presentation (both graphics and sound) and gameplay, and see whether the good stuff can outweigh the slight annoyance of having to do a lot of grinding if you don’t want to pay for in-app purchases (spoiler: it does).
Angry Birds is massive. For something that began as an unassuming mobile game, it’s gone beyond everyone’s expectations, to become a global media brand in its own right. Now, though, a mobile game has appeared that takes the angry avians somewhere new…
It’s called Angry Birds Epic, and far from the bird-flinging or kart-racing antics of previous games, what we have here is a bonafide RPG (role-playing game).
Angry Birds Epic is available now for both iOS devices (such as the iPhone 5s) and Android devices (including superphones like the Sony Xperia Z2 and the upcoming LG G3), but does that mean it’s worth getting? Is the new Angry Birds game epically awesome, or an epic fail?
Now that we’ve played the game, we can tell you…
Well, there’s no doubt about it, this is definitely an Angry Birds game, with exactly the same now-iconic art style as previous games. The difference with Angry Birds Epic is that the whole thing is presented in a kind of pseudo-3D, with 2D sprites, an art style that brings to mind other turn-based RPGs like Paper Mario and South Park: The Stick Of Truth.
In short, if you love the cartoon-y look of previous Angry Birds games then, quite simply, you’ll love this!
Sound plays as important a role as graphics, though, and Angry Birds Epic doesn’t disappoint, with a full score throughout the game, and the sound effects (the victory shouts of the birds, the taunting of the healthy pigs, the pained squeaks of the pigs you’ve just belted really hard in the mouth, and so on) imbuing the whole thing with a ton of personality.
And so, Angry Birds Epic is off to a great start, both looking and sounding brilliant, but how does it play?
If you’ve ever played a turn-based RPG before, then you already have a pretty good idea about how Angry Birds Epic will play; it’s pretty much exactly what you would expect, with your birds wandering into battles, then taking turns with the evil pigs, to smack each other about with various swords, sticks and, once you unlock the yellow bird, lightning magic.
As well as that, certain special moves will cause different effects depending on who is in your party with you, leading to some truly devastating combos (which you’ll need when the piggies start throwing bigger and stinkier enemies at you.
There are two big difference between this and other turn-based RPGs and the first is the control scheme: Rovio has clearly put a lot of thought into how a game like this should play on touchscreen devices, and the controls are optimised for touch inputs. So, you attack by tracing a line from your bird to the enemy, you activate powers or potions by tapping/dragging, and once you get into the rhythm, the flow of battles is really rather brilliant.
The other big difference is that Angry Birds Epic is clearly aimed at people who are fans of the series, but not necessarily RPG players (which may be a disappointment to that latter group), the upshot being that the progression of the game is based on previous Angry Birds games, eschewing exploration in favour of following a set path, with specific encounters at certain points.
Thus it may not be as deep as other RPGs (and the crafting/loot system is of course vastly streamlined compared to a AAA RPG like, say, Skyrim), but that doesn’t stop it being fun.
That, really, is the key point about Angry Birds Epic: it’s really, really fun. Sure, people who have been raised on RPGs on other platforms may find the limitations of what is still a mobile game more than they are prepared to stomach. For everyone else, though, Angry Birds Epic is a blast, and we really recommend giving it try, not least because it’s free!
It does also use in-app purchases, if you want to give yourself an edge in combat (and that is one thing to be aware of: like all free-to-play games, you’d best be prepared to do a lot of grinding, if you don’t want to spend money in the game), but you’ll be able to progress nicely without ever spending a penny on the game, which is always cool!
In conclusion, then, Angry Birds Epic may not be as deep or immersive as some role-playing games we’ve seen, but it is a lot of fun. Since it’s free, and thus won’t cost you a penny if you decide it’s not for you, you definitely owe it to yourself to check it out!