Game Reviews

Angry Birds Go!

Star onStar onStar halfStar offStar off
Angry Birds Go!

Red Bird is tired, and doesn't want to play any more.

I'm going to have to wait, swap to another character, or stuff crystals into Red Bird's gob until he decides that he does have the energy needed to have another race.

I'll probably wait. Mainly because I'm stuck in a boring rut, ramming my head against the same challenges to try and earn some coins so I can add some more power to my little kart and try to recruit another of the angry birds into my team.

I've been rolling down the same track for what feels like forever, hitting the same speed boosts, collecting the same coins, and using the same power-ups. It was fun to begin with, but now it's a chore - the precise opposite of what a kart racer should be.

Where bite-size races and zany fun should be occurring, there is repetition. Over and over down the same track, with slightly shifted goals and slightly altered coin trails.

And then Red Bird is tired, and doesn't want to play any more.

Get your kart racing

The heart of Angry Birds Go! is a familiar one. It's a brightly coloured 3D kart racer set in the same universe as Rovio's bird-flinging smash hit. You play as one of the birds, racing down a shiny, well-designed track, grabbing coins and finishing misisons.

Your kart is a rickety contraption that you're continually adding to, giving it speed boosts, extra armour, and better handling. These upgrades cost gold, which is thrown at you at the end of every race you finish.

You have no control over your speed, leaving you to worry about getting around corners and using your bird's special power. There are tilt and touch options for steering, and both of them work reasonably well, and a button in the top-right of the screen unleashes your power.

These range from speed boosts to protective bubbles, and bombs to toss at your opponent. They can turn the course of a race if you use them at right right time. While the first one is always free, subsequent uses of a power in a race have to be paid for with crystals.

Power down

The first few minutes you spend with Angry Birds Go! are entertaining. The primary colours and explosive power-ups hark back to pleasant days spent playing other karting games, and the drag-back-to-launch starts add an Angry Birds flavour to proceedings.

But after an hour or so the game has become a dull grind. Your kart has a CC power level, and each challenge requires it to have a set amount of power to compete. If you're not at the right level, you'll need to repeat some of the challenges to gain more cash and upgrade.

The challenges do change, but you're stuck on the same stretch of track, scratching out some coins to buy the ever-more expensive upgrades. It stops being fun and starts being a chore. And then your birds will get tired from all the grind and you'll have to spend some crystals or wait.

The instant fun of the first stretch of the game becomes a distant memory, and you'll find yourself losing all the time, failing the challenges and wasting chunks of your energy bar - even when your kart is powerful enough to win - to try and complete them.

Not angry, just sad

There are moments here when you'll be entertained, when the overbearing payment model isn't sticking its claws into you, but they're few and far between.

Too often you're frustrated and bored, and too often the bright colours feel like they're mocking your failure rather than cheering your success.

Red Bird is tired, and doesn't want to play any more. And I know exactly how he feels.

Angry Birds Go!

A hollow experience that could be so much better, Angry Birds Go! never feels fair or fun