So I’ll be completely honest from the start of this review; I have never been a fan of the mobile Angry Birds games. I’m not a fan of mobile games at all but as bright and as beautiful as the graphics were within Angry Birds titles, I just couldn’t get into them. So, why did I want to review a new console version of the games, especially from an unknown team at XR Games? Well, why not?
For both Rovio and Sony to put their trust in an indie team of developers to create the official game to partner the release of the latest movie must have been a huge risk. The Leeds (UK) based team at XR Games ran by Bobby Thandi haven’t had a release yet and are focussed on soley bringing out VR titles for the PS4, but have they been able to pull off a credible game?
The simple answer to that is yes! OK, the idea of a movie tie-in is a risky one, most come out as awful attempts and I cant think of a decent title at all. Its probably because a movie can be made a lot faster than a game can but they both need to be released at the same time so the games get rushed. I’m no expert, but that’s how it always feels when you do get hands on with a movies game.
One of the first things I noticed with the game was just how hard it was on single player trying to do everything myself; there’s a simple reason for this, the game is designed for upto 4 players and more emphasis has been aimed toward the multiplayer aspect. But it’s a VR game, how does local multiplayer work? I hear you ask. Well, once I had given up on trying to defeat the game on my own I called in my daughter to help out. I had the VR headset, and she had the TV screen. I found myself talking to her describing where she needed to go by looking at the area with my headset as with all VR games, whoever is watching you play via the telly, they see exactly what you see.. not in this game which is why I understood her confusion, although whilst in the world of VR I had no idea.
The TV shows a completely different layout of the game for upto 3 players to help out. The player using the VR controls an external plunger which hooks in treasure chests from the seabed outside of the submarine you are inside of, but can also influence movement from inside as well. I’ll break down the basics of the game so its a little more understandable..
Inside of the submarine you can control upto 3 birds. With the birds you will need to grab coloured boxes and put them in corresponding coloured containers. Those containers will turn the boxes into ammo for you to fire at the treasure chests. Once the ammo has been created then that then needs to be loaded into launchers. When treasure chests are successfully grabbed from the seabed then the boxes that are retrieved need to be loaded onto their storage spaces.
The player controlling the VR can grab boxes from inside the submarine and fire them toward their needed locations in order to help, but as I said before, there is so much happening on the screen needing to be done, this makes it almost impossible for one person alone to do via the VR, especially when you have to switch between the plunger controls and a bird that’s running around the deck.
If you are taking control not using the VR, I did notice some huge similarities with the gameplay to Team 17’s Overcooked. That being said, I really enjoyed those games, and was lucky enough to test Overcooked 2 at Team 17’s Wakefield studio before it was released with my daughter. It combines extremely well with the VR play.
The game is obviously based off the new movie which I haven’t seen, but if XR Games want to treat me to some tickets I’d be happy to go and see it after experiencing this game (joke), and is packed full of clips from the movie which look fantastic in total HD. I’d actually like to experience the Angry Birds Movie 2 without being constantly sat on the edge of my seat randomly swearing at my daughter (dont worry, shes 16) as we always seem to do with co-op games of this nature, not to mention the stress especially as the game moves into later levels with even more to do as well as the submarines floor changing for every level you play. I could feel the sweat running down my face the more I played.
In a game that is so bright and colourful you would think it was a simple task to work your way through it, but this wouldn’t go amiss in a companies team building weekend away as you all really need to work as a team. With 30 levels it will take you a while to work through them as the difficulty ramps up really fast.
How would I score the game though? As a single player game it is way too hard to play; the game is definitely a multiplayer only and that does kind of let the game down a little as the game seems to be aimed toward a family audience more than a ‘Moms basement’ audience, I just hope that doesnt let the sales of a 9/10 game down at all. The game is totally different from anything you have seen from Rovio before and for me, that was a great thing.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were kindly supplied with a review copy from XR Games, this has in no way influenced my opinion of the game as per our Review Policy**