Game developer Rovio announced on Thursday that Angry Birds Star Wars is now live. The new casual title is an awesome mixture of Rovio's genre-defining character design and gameplay, and Lucasfilm's trademark sci-fi universe filled with memorable characters like Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi, and the faithful droids Artoo (R2-D2) and Threepio (C-3PO).
Angry Birds Star Wars is simply brilliant, and could possibly be the best Angry Birds title to date. It's almost as if Rovio was setting the stage for this release by ironing out the foundation in the first three land-based slingshot-launched versions before moving out into space to tackle zero-gravity physics. Angry Birds Star Wars combines the best of both worlds as gamers would expect, finally bringing balance to the Angry Birds franchise.
In this installment, players are still launching birds with slingshots, except this time they're equipped with Star Wars outfits, weapons and Jedi tricks. Luke Skywalker (played by Red Bird) carries a lightsaber and can slash his way through the objects to squash the Trooper pigs on the other side. Ben Kenobi (played by Black Bird) can use his Push Force power and Artoo can electrify objects, making them explode. Later on gamers can unlock Han Solo (aka Yellow Bird), Chewbacca (aka Big Brother Bird) and more.
The game starts at the beginning of Episode IV as Luke Bird and Ben Bird make their way through the dry Tatooine desert. The second stage is set on the Death Star, and the third stage – a free update arriving soon – takes place on Hoth, the ice planet seen in the first chilly act of Episode V. The fourth stage takes place on Yoda's swamp-based hideout Dagobah, and the fifth is a droid-themed bonus area filled with thirty-three stages.
"Ultimately, this Angry Birds/Star Wars mash-up pushes all the right fandom buttons," said NBC News in its review of the new Angry Birds release. "It's full of clever Star Wars references and it's a blast to play. Most importantly, this isn't just a faux Star Wars finish slapped atop an Angry Birds interior. Two beloved properties have been carefully melded in ways that are sure to please – and amuse – those who love both."
"Rovio's latest entry in their video game franchise coats the birds you love and the pigs you hate in new Rebellion and Imperial duds, with special features and levels crafted to follow the original Star Wars movie's narrative and aesthetic," MTV said. "On the surface, the game is little more than a new way to spice up your daily commute. But if you look deeper, you'll see hidden value in Angry Birds Star Wars — specifically, that it holds a few important lessons that Disney can and should apply to their upcoming Star Wars sequel."
In just a few hours, Rovio already has a classic game on its hands. But don't take our word for it: find out for yourself by heading here and choosing your preferred platform. There's even a Modern UI version for Windows 8 that's packed full of Xbox achievements like Jedi Initiate (50 blocks smashed with saber), Force Learner (2000 blocks thrown with Force) and more.