Kart Racing In The True Angry Bird Spirit

rovio-angry-birds-goI am a huge fan of Mario Kart, and I’ve been rockin’ the three-balloon death match and its iconic rainbow road levels since I was a wee lad. I decided to look for another racing title to review since I haven’t done one in a while, so I thought, “all right, Angry Birds… Racing? This is either going to be a true disaster, or an epic stride for gaming.” Well, as it turns out Angry Birds GO! wasn’t exactly the moon landing of karting games.

The game starts you off with the red bird and a kart that looks like it was built in a garage made out of spare parts of broken crates that Gordon Freeman took his iconic crowbar to. Depending on what style of race you’re doing (and truthfully there’s quite a few) you will want to take the correct Angry Bird, as they each have their own “power”. For the pretty vanilla-flavored standard races I was doing, I decided to stick with the red Bird for now, as his power is a turbo boost. That power does a good job of knocking people out of your way.

Who needs roads? My car is powered by Flavor Flav!

Who needs roads? My car is powered by Flavor Flav!

Coming from a Mario Kart background, truthfully I was a little disappointed in this. Sure it’s a racing game… won’t deny that. But the courses are more from point-to-point, like some sort of downhill race. Not to mention that there’s not really any power-ups to pick up and use during the race. If those happened, this would have scored much higher and have been a really solid cute racing game. But I stuck it out anyway. I’ve unlocked two new birds, which is incredibly important because birds get tired. You heard me, the birds get tired and can’t race any more. A species that flaps its wings, to move anywhere, can’t turn a wheel more than 10 minutes without taking a nap? … OK.

My car is made of plywood. My opponent is driving a Mustang with dual exhausts. Great.

My car is made of plywood. My opponent is driving a Mustang with dual exhausts. Great.

Unlocking more birds, however, means you can play more of the game when you sit down and play it. Generally you will exhaust all your birds and then let the game sit and let them recharge and come back in an hour or so. Which I can understand you want me to buy cash items to recharge my birds to keep playing, but that is… really annoying. Now truthfully I prefer micro transaction games to pay up front, since I am able to give the game a good test drive before I plop money down. Glad I was able to do that here.

As you progress, you’re going to unlock challenge races that have goals and such that you need to beat to get credit for that race. Awesome. Now when I started playing this one, I reaaaally did not feel like linking my facebook to the game, so I played as a guest. Another awesome point for gaming, letting me play without signup. But if you’re going to do that, please don’t give me a challenge that requires me to “beat a friends score”. Stop that. That’s not even a fun mechanic. Sure beating your friends is awesome. But what if all your friends are heavy gamers and you’re just a casual? (And let’s face it, this game is targeted at casuals). Then what, you cant beat the challenge? Ohhhhh nooooo, I see now. I can SKIP the challenge, and mark it as complete by spending PAID CURRENCY. Get real. Uninstalled.

Anyone else want to ride my Oven-Mitt-Bucket-Mobile? Cause I’m done with it.

Anyone else want to ride my Oven-Mitt-Bucket-Mobile? Cause I’m done with it.

Graphics: Rating-Bar4

Cartoony graphics that look very crisp and clean. Cars take visual damage, an effect I did not really see coming. This was solidly polished. It was obvious some time and care was taken when designing the menus and overall feel of the graphics.

Gameplay:Rating-Bar2

No gas pedal and steering by tilting or arrows, well that’s nice. There are some days I don’t want to sit in the lunchroom here at OWC and spin my iPad around while I eat. However, it’s lack of laps, power-ups, and better AI, really keep me from enjoying this title as much as I should have.

Audio:Rating-Bar2

Semi-catchy music and decent sound effects are good. Not much to complain about per se, except for maybe nit picking that there should have been a few more of each sound type to create extra variance when you hear sounds from tires screeching, cars colliding etc.

Innovation:Rating-Bar2

VERY basic racing game, with Angry Birds stuck on it. It’s addictive I’ll give it that. But really it was just boring. I really wish we could have seen more to DO in a race than tilt or push arrows. Sure each bird has an ability… but you can use it ONCE a race. And that’s it.

Overall:Rating-Bar2

You should have heard me groan when I realized I didn’t take screenshots of the gameplay and actually had to reinstall the game. It’s a very basic racer, that’s banking on the Angry Birds brand to keep it afloat. I’m not sure why game developers think it’s OK to make mediocre games then slap cute recognizable characters on it then go “Oh yeah, this is gold, ship it”.


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