Angry Birds Go!
Red, King Pig and friends hit the open road.
With the Angry Birds franchise going strong, it's only natural that Rovio Entertainment extend the brand with spin-off games. Since kart racers are still immensely popular (thank you, Mario Kart), combining the two made a lot of sense. The result, Angry Birds Go!, is a visually-stimulating and entertaining effort starring popular characters from the series competing across five unique events while visiting Piggy Island. There's much fun to be had in this free-to-play title, but plenty of critics will find reason to slam it because of in-app purchases. Quite frankly, they'll have a point.
Angry Birds Go! stars a variety of characters from Rovio's universe with special abilities that prove useful during races. This carries over to new Telepods figures that just hit stores, which give players the opportunity to transfer new birds and pigs into the game. Beyond that, gamers will have a great time going head-to-head against the computer, or attempting to cross the finish line before a bomb explodes in Time Boom, and smashing delicious-looking fruit in Fruit Splat. Along the way, they'll upgrade their karts, purchase new ones and unlock Challenges while using spot-on tilt and touch controls.
Unfortunately, the developers try to nickel and dime players at every turn. Characters will get tired and become unable to compete in events, forcing gamers to revive them with gems, wait until the required time is up or swap with another bird/pig. Naturally, gems are difficult to come by, and while the game rewards users with lots of gold coins to make upgrades, said upgrades eventually become too expensive without spending money for more virtual currency. Throw in having to spend real money to buy the best karts in the game, and it won't be long before players fall into the freemium trap.
Ultimately, Angry Birds Go! is a good game partially ruined by a paywall commonly found in mobile titles. That, and the lack of offline or online multiplayer means having to repeat the same old mini-games without real competition. We like Rovio's game, but would've gladly paid for a more full-featured product.