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Angry Birds Space Is Still The Best Spin-Off

Angry Birds Space Is Still The Best Spin-Off

It's been 10 years since Rovio released Angry Birds Space, and despite releasing multiple sequels to many spin-offs, they've never managed to capture the originality again.

I know, I know, Angry Birds was a clone of Crush The Castle, I played that back in the day too. It's a genre that I adore (Angry Birds Journey notwithstanding…), because I like destroying structures in games. I also know that it's incredibly likely that someone made Crush The Castle But In Space at some point, but I'll be honest it, never came across my screen.

In Angry Birds Space, the birds all have the same powers as in the original game (but the yellow one is purple?), and are chasing the pigs across the solar system to get their eggsteroids back. Then across multiple systems and dimensions. Rather than flinging birds at quickly constructed buildings in a horizontal line from your catapult, you have to contend with asteroids, ice asteroids, popcorn, and gravity.

The fact that most of the planets, planetoids, and moons have their own gravitational fields is the main thing that makes Space so original. You have to get your trajectory just right to set off a chain reaction — maybe there is a structure in orbit that prevents direct attacks on the pigs, or perhaps firing around the back of a planet will start a domino effect. There are many levels that require your birds to pass through more than one gravitational field, so you have to get the angle just right.

This sounds harder than it actually is, because you get to see a line of how the trajectory will alter before you let the bird fly. Then there's the aforementioned powers; explosion, expansion, triplicate… You also have power-ups to help you out if you get stuck.

Now, you may have caught my snide aside aimed at the much more recent Angry Birds Journey. I've made no secret about how I like easy games, very easy modes, cheats, and trainers… but Angry Birds Journey is too easy. Well, more accurately, it's too simple. Where Angry Birds Space has you working out how to implode crystal planetoids to suffocate giant pigs in a vacuum, Journey has removed all strategy from the game because bird powers activate on contact. You don't have to find the optimal place to make the yellow one zoom off, or rely on the black one exploding after a moment — it just happens and you have no control over it.

Angry Birds Space makes you think every step of the way. What's more, it encourages you to learn real facts about the universe! The levels set in our solar system give you a fact on every level (and a new fact upon each retry or replay), and between stages it offers links to external websites such as NASA. There was even a physical book that you could buy in shops, produced by The National Geographic Society! Sure, there were a bunch of books released since, but it was actually the first one!

It’s unfortunate that the only way to play Angry Birds Space now is if you happen to have downloaded it previously, at least via the Google Play Store; I’m not sure whether you can similarly download it on iOS, however. Rovio took down every game released prior to 2014 some time ago, but if you can still download it I recommend revisiting it as it works perfectly fine on modern handsets. The ads will even show you available Angry Birds titles, and you can get a free power-up for watching one every time you go to the level select screen.

While I wait for Rovio to remember this truly fantastic game, I think I’ll go looking for Crush The Castle But In Space. Or just replay Angry Birds Space yet again.

Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan


Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

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