They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. And well, there is certainly nothing wrong with taking a great concept and adding your own touches to it. So when I heard that Rovio’s new Angry Birds game, Angry Birds Blast, was going to be all about matching similarly colored objects, I was genuinely curious about what spin Angry Birds would bring to the good old match and pop game genre.
After two days of playing Angry Birds Blast, I can give the answer: not too much, really. For, Angry Birds Blast is fundamentally what we call a balloon popper, with not really too much in the name of innovation. The game is a free download and was a 101 MB download on our iPhone 6S Plus.
The game is very simple to play. You will be presented with a grid of balloons of different colors at the beginning of every level. Tapping on a collection of two or more balloons of the same color will “free” the birds that are “trapped” inside the balloons. Whenever you tap a collection, the balloons pop, the birds fly away (free as birds now, of course) and the balloons that have exploded, are replaced by new ones. Sounds familiar? Match similar colored candies or gems to get them off the board and see them getting replaced by new ones, yes?
This is not random color matching, though – you are told just how many birds of which color you need to liberate at each level and have only a specific number of moves in which to reach this target. You also lose a life every time you fail at a level, and once you are out of lives, you have no option. but to purchase new ones (hello, in-app purchases) or simply wait while the lives replenish. As you move further in the game, the targets become more difficult and so do the levels. Yes, after a while, the Pigs come into the picture as well – they are on the grid alongside the “birds in the balloons” but are surrounded by structures which you have to break by popping balloon collections around them. The lesser moves you need to reach your goal, the more coins you win in the gin, and these can be swapped for special boosters and power-ups – rockets that can clear an entire column of balloons, bombs that blow up certain balloons, and so on. You also have the option of getting additional moves to finish a level – something that you will appreciate as things get more difficult later in the game. And before you ask, you can actually get through the game without making any in-app purchases, if you are patient enough and ready to wait for your lives to replenish – there is no attempt made to ram purchases down your throat.
The graphics are good (think Angry Birds 2) but then there is not too much action happening really, apart from balloons popping and birds flying. Gameplay is simple – you only have to tap similar colored balloons (you cannot move balloons around yourself) – and the sound effects are right out of the Angry Birds book of music.
The problem is that one does not really feel one is playing an Angry Birds game here. Blast feels so much like any other balloon popper with Angry Birds graphics thrown in and a few restrictions. There are no intricate puzzles to work out and no birds to fling. The result? I have played two days of the game. And I am left with a feeling similar to that after having played Candy Crush!