Angry Birds (video game)
The updated Angry Birds app icon
|Publisher(s)||Chillingo/Clickgamer (iOS and PSP versions)
|Producer(s)||Raine Mäki, Harro Grönberg, Mikko Häkkinen|
|Programmer(s)||Tuomo Lehtinen (lead programmer), Miika Virtanen, Antti Laitinen, Atte Järvinen, Mika Rahko, Marco Rapino, Kari Kuvaja|
|Artist(s)||Tuomas Erikoinen (lead artist), Miisa Lopperi, Joonas Mäkilä|
|Release date(s)||December 11, 2009 (iOS)|
Angry Birds is a puzzle video game developed by Finnish computer game developer Rovio Entertainment that started the Angry Birds franchise. Inspired primarily by a sketch of stylized wingless birds, the game was first released for iOS in December 2009. Since that time, over 12 million copies of the game have been purchased from the iOS App Store, which has prompted the company to design versions for other touchscreen-based smartphones, most notably those using the Android, Symbian, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 operating systems. It has since expanded to video game consoles and for PCs.
In the game, players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures, with the intent of killing all the pigs on the playing field. As players advance through the game, new types of birds become available, some with special abilities that can be activated by the player. Rovio Mobile has supported Angry Birds with numerous free updates that add additional game content, and the company has also released stand-alone holiday and promotional versions of the game.
Angry Birds has been praised for its successful combination of addictive gameplay, comical style, and low price. Its popularity led to versions of Angry Birds being created for personal computers and gaming consoles, a market for merchandise featuring its characters and even long-term plans for a feature film or television series. With a combined 2 billion downloads, as of January 2014, across all platforms and including both regular and special editions, the game has been called "one of the most mainstream games out right now", "one of the great runaway hits of 2010", and "the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far".
In Angry Birds, the player controls a flock of multi-colored birds that are attempting to retrieve their eggs, which have been stolen by a group of hungry green pigs. On each level, the pigs are sheltered by structures made of various materials such as wood, glass, and stone, and the objective of the game is to eliminate all the pigs on the level. Using a slingshot, players launch the birds with the intent of either hitting the pigs directly or damaging the structures, causing them to collapse and kill the pigs. In various stages of the game, additional objects such as TNT crates, and rocks are found in the structures, and power-ups may be used in conjunction with the birds to kill hard-to-reach pigs.
There are several different types of birds used in the game. In the earliest levels, the red bird is the only one available. As the player advances through the game, additional types of birds become available. Some birds are effective against particular materials, and some have special abilities that may be activated by the player while the bird is airborne. For example, a yellow bird speeds up, a blue bird separates into three birds, a black bird explodes and a white bird can drop an egg-shaped projectile. The pigs themselves also appear in different sizes. While small pigs are relatively weak and are easily killed either by direct hits or by debris from the damaged structures, larger pigs are able to sustain more damage. In addition, some pigs wear hats or armor, making them even more resistant to damage.
Each level starts with the number, types, and order of birds pre-determined. If all of the pigs are killed by the time the last bird is used, the level is completed and the next level is unlocked. If all of the pigs are not killed, the level is incomplete. Points are scored for each pig killed as well as for damage to, or destruction of, structures, and bonus points are awarded for any unused birds. Upon completing each level, players receive one, two, or three stars, depending on the score received. Players may re-attempt unlocked levels as many times as they wish in order to complete them successfully or to earn additional points or stars.
In early 2009, Rovio staff began reviewing proposals for potential games. One such proposal came from senior game designer Jaakko Iisalo in the form of a simulated screenshot featuring some angry-looking birds with no visible legs or wings. While the picture gave no clue as to what type of game was being played, the staff liked the characters, and the team elected to design a game around them. As the concept of Angry Birds was developed, the staff realized the birds needed an enemy. At the time, the "swine flu" epidemic was in the news, so the staff made the birds' enemies pigs. Angry birds was the studio's 52nd game for the iPhone where it reached No. 1 spot in the Apple App Store chart after six months and then stayed there for months. The initial cost to develop Angry Birds was estimated to exceed €100,000, not including money spent on the subsequent updates. For the iOS version, Rovio partnered with distributor Chillingo to publish the game to the App Store. Chillingo claimed to have participated in final game polishing, such as adding visible trajectory lines, pinch to zoom, pigs' grunts, birds' somersaults on landing. Since then Rovio has self-published almost all of the later ports of the game, with the exception of the PlayStation Portable version, which was produced under license by Abstraction Games and then distributed by Chillingo.
When Rovio began writing new versions of the game for other devices, new issues came to light. As the team began working on a version for Android systems, they observed the large number of configurations of device types and versions of the Android software. The number of combinations of software version, processor speed and even user interfaces was significantly larger than that for the earlier iOS version. Ultimately, the team settled on a minimum set of requirements, even though that left nearly 30 types of Android phones unable to run the game, including some newly released phones. One month after the initial release on Android, Rovio Mobile began designing a simpler version of the game for these other devices.
In early 2010, Rovio began developing a variant of Angry Birds for Facebook. The project became one of the company's largest, with development taking over a year. The company understood the challenges of transplanting a game concept between social platforms and mobile/gaming systems. In a March 2011 interview, Rovio's Peter Vesterbacka said, "you can’t take an experience that works in one environment and one ecosystem and force-feed it onto another. It's like Zynga. They can’t just take FarmVille and throw it on mobile and see what sticks. The titles that have been successful for them on mobile are the ones they’ve built from the ground up for the platform.” The Facebook version was expected to incorporate social-gaming concepts and in-game purchases and was scheduled to enter beta-testing in April 2011; the game became officially available on Facebook in February 2012.
Improvements for the game include the ability to synchronize the player's progress across multiple devices; for example, a player who completes a level on an iOS device can log into their copy of the game on an Android device and see the same statistics and level of progress.
The initial iOS version of the game included a single episode entitled "Poached Eggs", which contained three themed chapters, each with 21 levels. From time to time, Rovio has released free upgrades that include additional content, such as new levels, new in-game objects and even new birds. As updates have been released, they have been incorporated into the game's full version offered for download from each platform's application store.
The first update released in February 2010 added a new episode called "Mighty Hoax", containing two new chapters with 21 levels each. Updates released in April 2010 added the "Golden Eggs" feature, which placed hidden golden eggs throughout the game that would unlock bonus content when found, and a new episode called "Danger Above", which initially contained a single chapter of 15 levels. Two later updates added two more chapters to "Danger Above", each with 15 levels. "The Big Setup" episode, released in July 2010, added a new chapter with 15 levels and additional Golden Egg levels. "The Big Setup" was later given two more chapters of 15 levels each.
A fifth episode, called "Ham 'Em High", launched in December 2010, in celebration of the game's first year in the iOS App Store. "Ham 'Em High" contained 15 American Old West-themed levels in a single chapter; updates in February 2011 and March 2011 each added one new 15-level chapter. "Ham 'Em High" also introduced the Mighty Eagle, a new bird that may be used once per hour to clear any uncompleted levels. The Mighty Eagle can also be used in previously completed levels, without the once-per-hour limit, to play a mini-game called "Total Destruction" in which the player attempts to destroy as much of the scenery as possible, both with the standard birds and the Mighty Eagle; achieving 100% destruction earns the player a Mighty Eagle feather for the level.
The Mighty Eagle is offered as a one-time, in-game purchase, and was initially only available for iOS, as its App Store customers have iTunes accounts with pre-linked credit cards. In late 2011, Rovio also added the Mighty Eagle to the Chrome App version of the game. Rovio has begun testing an Android update called the "Bad Piggy Bank" with the Elisa wireless service in Finland and T-Mobile, which allows users to charge in-app purchases, such as the Mighty Eagle, to their mobile phone bills. The service went live on Android with the release of version 2.2.0 in August 2012, using Google Play's transaction system, which allows both mobile billing and credit cards, allowing both Android phones and WiFi-only tablets to unlock the features. This version also added the powerups from the Facebook version and added an option to pay to remove ads, allowing Android players to enjoy the game ad-free as iOS players do.
The sixth episode, "Mine and Dine", was released on June 16, 2011 with 15 new mining-themed levels and a new Golden Egg. An August 24, 2011 update expanded "Mine and Dine" with two more 15-level chapters.
The seventh update, "Birdday Party", was released on December 11, 2011 to commemorate the second anniversary of the first release of the iOS version into the iTunes App Store. It included 15 new birthday cake-theme levels, as well as updated graphics and the addition of elements from the spin-off games, such as the scoring graphic seen in Angry Birds Rio and the introduction of the orange bird that first appeared in Angry Birds Seasons. The update was later released for Android and Microsoft Windows. The eighth update was released initially to iOS on March 20, 2012 in a lead-up to the release of Angry Birds Space. The new update included an animated tutorial, enhanced gameplay, all new UI graphics, and the first 15 levels of "Surf and Turf," the Angry Birds Facebook-exclusive episode (see below); another 15 levels were added later, with the iOS version receiving the power-ups first seen in the Facebook version.
On October 9, 2012, the final chapter of "Surf and Turf" was released. Along with that, a new episode called "Bad Piggies" was released. This is to advertise the new Rovio game, Bad Piggies. Another update was released on December 11, 2012, the 3rd anniversary of the game's release, with 15 new levels to "Birdday Party" and 15 new levels to "Bad Piggies". The second set of 15 levels in "Birdday Party" introduced the Pink Bird to the game. 15 more levels were later released for the "Bad Piggies" episode on March 7, 2013. On the same day these final 15 levels were released, Angry Birds became "Free App of the Week" on the Apple App Store until March 14, and became an instant hit on the Top Free App charts on the App Store until March 18, when the app returned to the normal price of $0.99.
On June 17, 2013, Rovio teased on its Facebook page that Red, the main protagonist of the game, would receive an ability in a new episode. On June 26, Rovio released a YouTube video, uncovering three new facts: the episode would be called Red's Mighty Feathers, the update would come in July, and the Angry Birds app icon would receive a new design. On July 3, 2013, the update was released, with fifteen levels of all-new gameplay. Instead of knocking over the pigs' castles, your goal is to keep the pigs from stealing the egg and leaving the playing field with it. The pigs arrive in waves of complicated vehicles, and the only available bird is Red, whose new ability is to target the nearest pig. There is no score, and the three stars are awarded by completing three objectives in one try. The first objective is to finish the level without getting your egg stolen. The second is to pop all the pigs in the level. The third is to use fewer than or equal to a certain amount of birds to clear the level. Because some people were skeptical about the new gameplay, Rovio later announced that they would add levels to the episode based on the original level style. On September 16, 2013, Rovio added 15 levels to the episode using the original style and these levels include manual targeting for Red Bird.
On November 26, 2013, Rovio added 30 level episode called Short Fuse that transforms the Bomb's explosions into highly-destructive electrical pulses, adds a powerup that transforms any Bird into a Bomb Bird and 3 different potions that can change the pigs. On December 11, 2013, Rovio added 15 levels to episode Birdday Party (cake 4) to celebrate its fourth birthday. On March 4, 2014, 15 levels were added to Short Fuse and the power-up icons were updated.
|#||Level Pack||Release Date||Special Notes||Number of Levels|
|1||Poached Eggs||December 11, 2009||Introduces Red, The Blues, Chuck, Bomb and Matilda||63|
|2||Mighty Hoax||February 11, 2010||42|
|3||Danger Above||April 11, 2010||Introduces Hal||45|
|4||The Big Setup||July 18, 2010||Introduces Terence||45|
|5||Ham 'Em High||December 23, 2010||Introduces The Mighty Eagle and Facebook levels||48|
|6||Mine and Dine||June 16, 2011
August 24, 2011
|7||Birdday Party||December 11, 2011
December 11, 2012
December 11, 2013
|Introduces Bubbles and Stella||45|
|8||Bad Piggies||October 9, 2012
March 7, 2013
|Promotes Bad Piggies||45|
|9||Red's Mighty Feathers||July 3, 2013
September 16, 2013
|Introduces a new power to Red and Egg Defender Mode||30|
|10||Short Fuse||November 26, 2013
March 4, 2014
|Introduces a new power to Bomb and potions||45|
|F||Flock Favorites||July 22, 2014||New levels from fan's favorite episodes||15|
|S||Surf and Turf||March 20, 2012
October 9, 2012
|G||Golden Eggs||April 6, 2010||Introduces King Pig level||31|
|C||Send to Sprout||April 2015||Introduces Chica and Nina and Star|
Reviews for Angry Birds have been mostly positive. Chris Holt of Macworld called the game "an addictive, clever, and challenging puzzler", and Pocket Gamer's Keith Andrew said Angry Birds is "a nugget of puzzling purity dished out with relish aplenty". Jonathan Liu of Wired News wrote that "going for the maximum number of stars certainly adds a lot of replay value to a fairly extensive game".
Reviews for the first versions of the game that did not use a touch-screen, the PlayStation 3/PSP version and the Windows version, have also been positive, but with some disagreement over the different interfaces. Will Greenwald of PC Magazine, in his review of the PlayStation Network version, said that the control scheme on these platforms is good, "but they're not nearly as satisfying as the touch-screen controls found on smartphone versions", and that the PlayStation 3 version appeared "blocky and unpleasant, like a smartphone screen blown up to HDTV size". Conversely, Greg Miller of IGN preferred the analog control setup of the PSP version, saying it "offered me tiny variances in control that I don't feel like I get with my fat finger on a screen". While giving the game a positive review, Miller concluded, "There's no denying that Angry Birds is fun, but it could use polish – such as sharper visuals, a better price and smoother action." Damien McFerrin of British website Electric Pig reviewed the PC version, saying "the mouse-driven control method showcases many distinct advantages over its finger-focused counterpart".
Angry Birds has also been described critically as impossible to understand the playing rules criteria by game critic Chris Schiller of Eurogamer.net, which has 'a contemptuous attitude towards its players, keeping them just frustrated enough not to switch off and play something else instead.'
Angry Birds became the top-selling paid application on Apple's UK App Store in February 2010, and reached the top spot on the US App Store a few weeks later, where it remained until October 2010. Since release, the free, limited version of Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 11 million times for Apple's iOS, and the full-featured paid version has been downloaded nearly 7 million times as of September 2010. The Android version of the game was downloaded more than 1 million times within the first 24 hours of release, even though the site crashed at one point due to the load, and over 2 million downloads in its first weekend. Rovio receives approximately US$1 million per month in revenue from the advertising that appears in the free Android version.
According to Rovio, players log more than 5 million hours of game time each day across all platforms, along with 200 million monthly active users. In November 2010, Digital Trends stated that "with 36 million downloads, Angry Birds is one of the most mainstream games out right now". MSNBC's video game news blog has written that "[n]o other game app comes close" to having such a following. The Christian Science Monitor has remarked, "Angry Birds has been one of the great runaway hits of 2010". In December 2010, in honor of the one-year anniversary of the release of Angry Birds, Rovio Mobile announced that the game had been downloaded 50 million times, with more than 12 million on iOS devices and 10 million on Android. By January 2014, the game had reached 2 billion downloads, including Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Star Wars I & II and Angry Birds Go!. On Christmas Day 2011 alone, 6.5 million copies of the various Angry Birds games were downloaded across all supported platforms.
In the history of the Apple App Store, Angry Birds holds the record for most days at the top of the Paid Apps chart, having spent a total of 275 days at the No.1 position; Angry Birds Rio has been No.1 for a total of 23 days, ranking ninth on the list. In Apple's "iTunes Rewind" list of the most popular iTunes Store media for 2011, Angry Birds was the top-selling paid iPhone/iPod app on the App Store and its free version was the fourth-most downloaded. The game's two special-edition versions, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio, were also ranked in the top 10 for paid iPhone/iPod apps, while its iPad-exclusive Angry Birds HD versions were the top-selling and top-downloaded iPad apps for the year. Mattel also made a few board games based on the app. These were called Angry Birds: Knock on Wood, Angry Birds: On Thin Ice and Angry Birds: Mega Smash.
In February 2010, Angry Birds was a nominee for the "Best Casual Game" award at the 6th annual International Mobile Gaming Awards in Barcelona, Spain. In September 2010, IGN named Angry Birds as the fourth best iPhone game of all time. In April 2011, Angry Birds won both the "Best Game App" and "App of the Year" at the UK Appy Awards. At the 2011 Webby Awards, Angry Birds was awarded "Best Game for Handheld Devices".
Since its initial release for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, Rovio has released versions of Angry Birds for a number of additional devices. One of the first was for Nokia's N900 handset, through its Ovi Store. An iPad-exclusive version, Angry Birds HD, was released at the same time the iPad itself was released in April 2010. In August 2010, Angry Birds was made available to the Palm Pre phone running Palm's webOS operating system through its App Catalog online store. Symbian^3 phones received a version of the game in October 2010, which initially includes only the "Poached Eggs" and "Mighty Hoax" episodes. Angry Birds works on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.
In May 2010, Rovio announced plans for a version for devices using Google's Android operating system, with a beta version being released through the Android Market (now Google Play) in September 2010. The full Android version of the game was first released instead on GetJar in October 2010, though it was subsequently released on Android Market within days. Rovio officials noted that GetJar had a more global reach than Android Market, and GetJar's availability on other smartphone platforms (including Symbian) would make cross-platform promotion of the game easier. Unlike the previous versions, Angry Birds for Android is a free, ad-supported application, as paid applications aren't available on Android in some nations. An update called "Bad Piggy Bank" enabled players to buy out the in-game ads.
In October 2010, Microsoft suggested on one of its websites that a Windows Phone version of Angry Birds was in development. Rovio complained that Microsoft had not asked permission to make such a statement, noting that at that time it had not committed to design a Windows Phone version. Although Rovio asked Microsoft to revise its site to remove references to the game, a Windows Phone version was ultimately released in June 2011.
Near the end of 2010, Rovio stated that it was developing new ports of the game, this time for devices outside of the mobile phone market. In January 2011, three of those ports launched. First, Sony announced the release of Angry Birds for its PlayStation Portable handheld system in the form of a PlayStation mini game that includes nearly 200 levels from the original game; the version is also playable on the PlayStation 3. Next, Rovio announced the release of a Windows version of the game on January 4, 2011, available for sale exclusively from the Intel AppUp center, which included 195 levels at launch and plans for exclusive features not available on the smartphone versions. One day after the Windows version was released, the Mac App Store launched, with one of the first offerings being its own version of Angry Birds. Ports of Angry Birds have also been proposed for the Wii and Nintendo DS systems, and a 3D-enhanced version of the game was proposed for release on the LG Optimus 3D in October 2011.
The popularity of Angry Birds has helped spread the game to other devices that were not initially designed as gaming machines. Barnes & Noble announced that a future update for its Nook Color e-reader will let the Android-based device run applications, including a port of Angry Birds. In June 2011, Rovio announced plans to partner with Roku to include a version of Angry Birds on a new model of its Internet-connected set-top box, the Roku 2 XS.
In May 2011, an in-browser HTML5 version of Angry Birds was released in beta form. The game uses WebGL or Canvas and is distributed through the Chrome Web Store for use with Google's Chrome web browser. It runs on any WebGL- or Canvas-enabled browser, and features exclusive content when played on Chrome, such as exclusive levels and the so-called "Chrome Bombs". The version includes offline playability and features 60 FPS gameplay with a selection of graphics settings to accommodate a variety of hardware capabilities.
In October 2011, during Nokia World 2011, it was announced that Angry Birds would come preloaded in Nokia's Asha series of Series 40 touch handsets, aimed at emerging markets such as India, China and South Africa. In December 2011, Rovio released Angry Birds HD, Angry Birds Seasons HD and Angry Birds Rio HD on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet from Research In Motion. In January 2012, Angry Birds was released for devices using Bada OS.
In February 2012, Angry Birds made its official debut on Facebook. It is known as Angry Birds Friends since May 23, 2012. The version launched with two chapters from the original game, along with then exclusive "Surf and Turf" chapter. The Facebook version adds a number of new power-up items, with a maximum of two in use per level. For example, the Super Seeds power-up will make the launched bird larger and thus more powerful, while the King Sling power-up makes the slingshot stronger and able to launch birds higher and faster. Power-ups can be purchased in-game or given by friends who also play the game. "Surf and Turf" would later be included in the original mobile versions of the game, starting with iOS. The Facebook version features weekly tournaments among your friends, with the top 3 winners earning free in-game "Bird Coins" which can be used to purchase power-ups. There was a unique Green Day themed chapter, however it was removed in December 2012.
At the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, Rovio and distribution partner Activision announced plans to bring Angry Birds and two of its spin-off games, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio to the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS systems. Bundled together as Angry Birds Trilogy, the games will be built specifically for their respective consoles, taking advantage of their unique features, such as support for PlayStation Move, Kinect, high-definition displays and glasses-free 3D visuals.
A motion controlled version of the game has also been released on Samsung Smart TV. It is available to download for free on Samsung Apps for Samsung Smart TV.
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