Angry Birds Space, developed by Rovio, is already proving to be the next app to transfer 69p (or more in some cases) into hours of frustration, excitement and crowing bird sounds. But should you bother? Has the hype finally outweighed the substance?
After all, you can get Angry Birds T-shirts, caps, iPhone cases, toys (stuffed and otherwise), board games and there's even a cartoon being shown on Nikelodeon. Are not a little bored of it all now? It'll take something special, that's for sure...
Angry Birds Space
- iPad (version tested) / iPhone / Android
- £1.99 / 69p / Free
- iTunes (HD) / iTunes / Google Play
Space is the final frontier, as that fella on Star Trek says, and now, rather than heading down to Brazil in some movie tie-in, or finding yourself blasting pumpkins in some extra levels for Halloween, Rovio's latest venture takes the angry birds and the green pigs out of this world.
What ensues are three planetary bodies, with 30 levels a-piece and plenty of space pigs to kill.
The gameplay is as addictive as it always has been, and not too dissimilar to the tried and tested formula of AB games past, so you'll know whether that means you are bored of it already or raring to go.
The key difference is that gravity has been added as a gameplay tool, and specifically the gravitational pull of planets and moons. They each have an affect on the trajectory of your birds and that's something you've now got to factor in.
In practice, you have to often use that gravitational pull to work your way around obstacles or even to knock asteroids into other things billiards-style in order to kill the pigs, rather than aiming at them directly.
The original had the large green boomerang birds and many of the tactics you developed for those feathered creatures work here too.
That's particularly true of the new purple bird. It works best if you fly past your desired target before tapping the screen to launch its secondary power, a targeted strike. It looks like the yellow triangular bird from the rest of the games in the franchise, but can be sent to change direction completely, even come back on itself.
As before, there are angry birds that spilt in three, birds that explode and the Mighty Eagle (in the form of the Space Eagle) to come and save the day if you really can't finish a level and have done well enough to earn its help.
The levels themselves are well designed, offering enough of a challenge to newcomers without expecting you to have completed or even played previous outings. If you have played the Angry Birds games before, you'll probably whizz through the first planet with ease and it doesn't take much effort to work out the way to three star success.
Don't expect that approach to stick around for long though and those gravity fields will need you to think in a different way to how you have previously.
To break up the sometime monotonous pig killing (why can't they breath in space, but the birds can?), Easter eggs can be found around the levels, which load up mini games with their own challenges. In a nod to video games of yesteryear, we've already come across Space Invaders and Mario-looking backdrops.
Complaints? There aren't many. As parents we are annoyed by the fact that pausing the game brings up two very colourful links to other Angry Bird games and our kids have already pressed on the graphics a few times. This loads the iTunes store, which confuses the heck of them (they are 4 and 6).
Having paid £1.99 for the app on the iPad and a further 69p on the iPhone, to be slammed with adverts for additional apps that a child can get caught up in is annoying. Also annoying is that there isn't a universal version. Naughty.
If you still enjoy Angry Birds there is plenty here to like. If however, you've become a bit jaded by it all and fed up with people saying things like "let's try and kill two pigs with one bird" you'll be wise to avoid. There are plenty of great rival games out there these days - not so much of an issue when the original Angry Birds came out. Where's My Water?, for instance.
It must be said though, the graphics on the Retina Display of the new iPad look fantastic.