Angry Birds Friends
Anyone expecting the usual romp through what seems like a never-ending series of levels in Angry Birds Friends should check their expectations in at the door. This being a mobile port of a Facebook game, you should instead expect traditional Angry Birds gameplay that's built firmly around a generous dollop of socially-driven, Zynga-inspired addiction.
It's true that the levels themselves are very familiar to fans of the games - you have a series of birds, from the basic to the more exotic, and you need to fling them across the screen and take down the piggies sitting atop their platforms. Cause enough physics chaos and you should find yourself with a handful of birds left in the bank, each of which will add a little bonus to your high score, and your three-star rating.
So far, so familiar. The difference here though is that you're racing through levels against friends, and you'll need a keen eye on efficiency if you're to emerge victorious at the end of each weekly tournament. These tournaments are comprised of a handful of levels curated by Rovio, and it's the fractional points awarded from spare birds that will likely separate the winners from the losers each week.
Or perhaps it will be the power-ups that will end up making the real difference, sprinkled as they are liberally throughout the game. There are so many, in fact, that the whole thing will be quite bewildering to all but the most seasoned Angry Birds gamer - explosive birds, piggy-unsettling quakes, catapults, and rock-solid mega-birds that can blast through just about anything. You can only use a certain number of these in each tournament round, and there are more to buy from the in-app purchase store if you wish.
As a sort of very temporary, throwaway experience, Angry Birds Friends will probably entertain for a time, but we doubt it has the legs to cause the App Store charts any serious problems in the long run. Unless you can come to some sort of agreement not to use cash purchases with a close selection of friends, it's hard to see how the global experience will leave anything but a bitter taste in the mouth.
What's Hot:It's still the quality, core gameplay you'd expect from an Angry Birds game, and the tournament take on the series adds something a little different.
What's Not:The various boosts and power-ups make leaderboard battling a bit of a mess.