Angry Birds is a name that everyone recognizes as it was one of the most prominent games in the early days of smartphone gaming.
Even though it found unbelievable success and collaborated with franchises as big as Star Wars – we never saw a true sequel until over half a decade later.
Angry Birds 2 is the first direct sequel to the original game and contains most of what made the predecessor great.
However, as with any major sequel, there is a lot that has been added to it that wasn’t present before.
So, did this sequel manage to take the franchise to new heights or are you better off sticking with the original? Let’s find out.
The core gameplay of Angry Birds 2 is the same as most of the other games in the series.
You hold onto the bird that is currently equipped in the slingshot and launch it towards your enemies, strategizing how the birds would hit them.
You can also tap onto the screen to use special abilities that each bird has, which allows you to have better control of your attacks.
As usual, each level requires every single pig to be killed in order to advance.
But a single level can have multiple phases this time around, which teleports you to different structures and pigs that you have to take down.
Aside from the birds, you can also use power-ups that have different effects – such as shooting lasers and freezing the pig forts which makes them slippery and vulnerable. The game randomly picks three birds for you that you can use in each level.
There are boss levels that you encounter every once in a while, which are more difficult than the average levels and require precision, effort, and retries to beat.
In addition to the main campaign, there is a Daily Challenge mode which has something difficult for you to complete every day, and a PvP mode in which you compete against real players in beating the same level. There is a clan section as well that allows you to compete for more rewards on the leaderboard.
Now speaking of lives, Angry Birds 2 has limited lives and punishes you for trying to replay a level – and it takes 30 minutes for a single life to recharge if you’re not willing to obsessively watch ads or pay real money.
The campaign mode is exactly what you’d expect it to be in terms of entertainment value. If you’ve been burnt out from playing the series for years, you won’t find anything new here at all as it essentially plays in the same way. But if you’re new or aren’t bored of the formula yet, then there’s certainly fun to be had.
The basics are entertaining as it’s still as satisfying as ever to crush through pigs and different types of structures. However, you will begin noticing a difficulty spike after a certain point and it can be annoying to play the game because of how much the game design tries to encourage purchases of gems with real-life money.
Normally, you can figure out ways to clear difficult levels by devising the perfect strategy, but two things take that option away from you in Angry Birds 2. The first thing is the fact that the game has limited lives, so you can’t retry a level multiple times and then get it right – a 30-minute cooldown for a single life is outrageous.
The second thing is that the levels are designed in such a way that pigs can often fall into spots that you can’t reach – and as a result, you’ll run out of birds by the time you’re at the end of the level.
So, a game design that can often put you in terrible spots for no reason bundled with limited lives is something that makes you want to play a different game instead.
The PvP mode is just you completing levels against another player, so it’s just a competition of score rather than an actual battle.
As you must have noticed by now, the additional modes of the game are just the same as playing a regular level but with slightly different rules – so the things that make the campaign frustrating are applicable here too.
Overall, despite having perfected the formula and overall feel of the game – Angry Birds 2 is a step backward in the entertainment factor due to its greedy game design and pay-to-win modes like the PvP.
The graphics are excellent – which is no surprise considering the fact that this series has spawned two high-quality CGI feature films by now.
Everything looks beautiful and HD, while the animations are very seamless and lively.
The environments look great and the destruction is satisfying to look at too. It’s definitely the best-looking Angry Birds game, even compared to those that came after it.
The UI of the game is really well-made in terms of looks and has a premium feel to it. However, it can be a bit confusing for younger audiences because it’s not very clear about where certain things are located, such as the campaign itself, the menu where you can log your Google Play Games account in, and a few other sections.
The polish of Angry Birds 2 is almost perfect, with only a few hiccups found here and there – such as the loading screen having a sound stutter every time it pops up or taking longer than usual to load the same level that loaded quicker the first time around. But these points are nitpicking rather than issues that affect the experience, so the developers have done a satisfactory job in this regard.
The sound of the game is very high-quality, as you can hear a sound for everything that you see happen on the screen.
The background music is decent too, as it’s nothing memorable but does not feel repetitive and keeps the sound effects accompanied just fine.
Angry Birds 2 has the blueprint of being the best game in the series so far but greatly holds itself back with frustrating mechanics meant to bait players into spending money on microtransactions.
The more you play, the worse it gets – and you can’t take your mind off of the campaign with the extra modes since they’re designed with a pay-to-win model as well.