March 22, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
For less than 2% of the cost of this week’s other big gaming release (Crysis 2), you can download Rovio’s latest spin-off to their smash hit (yes, pun intended) Angry Birds. The massively popular mobile franchise’s newest app retains the addictive gameplay while offering enough levels sure to stunt your work productivity for weeks. In addition, Angry Birds Rio features an improved video and audio presentation similar to Rovio’s previous spin-off, Angry Birds Seasons. The most welcome difference is that now there’s an actual semblance of a plot that extends beyond vengeance directed at egg-stealing pigs.
OK, so it’s still pretty basic, but it’s an ingenious move by 20th Century Fox to partner up with Rovio to promote this tie-in game for their upcoming animated flick (Rio hits theaters on April 15) in a time crowded with plenty of other movie options. Angry Birds Rio actually feels like a stand-alone upgrade and not just a package of more levels in a different setting.
If you’ve played the original or the Seasons spin-off, Rio’s gameplay will be very familiar. In fact, nothing has changed. Why fix it if it ain’t broke, right? Until smartphone and iPad users stop gobbling up the bestselling game, don’t expect to see any major (if any) tweaks in Angry Birds’ simple formula of slingshotting the eponymous characters across the screen at variable speeds and angles in order to nail targets or their protective surroundings. You’ll be doing the same thing over and over again, but Rio feels less repetitive because a movie tie-in and its related story mean not only a beautiful and significant change in scenery, but also a change in targets. Instead of pigs, your targets will include enemy monkeys and caged birds that you liberate, including characters from the movie Rio.
If you’re too cheap to fork over a buck, Angry Birds Rio Free is also available. It includes six levels and provides an excellent glimpse into the full version. It’s also considerably easier than Angry Birds Seasons Free, and like with its previous demos, Rovio plans to roll out additional free levels several times this year. Till then, grab your little birdies and go spank some monkeys.