No matter what licence or theme has been layered on top of Angry Birds, be it Star Wars, Rio, Seasons, or Space, the simplicity of the core bird-flinging mechanic has never been diluted.

There might be different characters with different skills to hurl, but you're still smashing a piggy stronghold with avian skulls.

Angry Birds Friends follows a similar path, but it turns what was a lonely experience into a social one, pitting you against Facebook friends in a battle to score the most points in a week long scrap set across six different levels.

Where's Joey?

But after so many iterations the blueprint is feeling a dog-eared. Where Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars showed that Rovio wasn't afraid to ruffle the feathers of its own creation, Angry Birds Friends feels a lot like the series resting on its laurels.

And that's a problem that's made even worse by the lack of content here. You get six new levels each week in which to compete with your friends. That means you'll have finished your turn in about three minutes.

The idea is that you'll come back to the levels as your friends better your score, but that's a system that doesn't really work with Angry Birds.

It's not a racing game where you can trim seconds off your lap time, or a turn-based strategy title where you can use your tactical nous to outsmart other players. You're flinging birds at pigs.

You're still pulling back on a catapult and still angling your shot by moving your finger. There are boosts and buffs that make your aim more accurate or zero you in on pigs, but that core mechanic is as unchanged as ever.

And, in a way, the simplicity that was the strongest point of previous games becomes a noose here.

With friends like these

The question we all ask ourselves before every new Angry Birds release remains the same - is there really room on my phone for another bird-flinging title from Rovio?

In recent times the answer has been a resounding "yes", but Angry Birds Friends bucks that trend.

Compared to other multiplayer smartphone and tablet experiences it's just too shallow, offering little more than a single-player experience with some redundant leaderboard climbing thrown in for good measure.

Angry Birds games always used to push you on to one more go, but that's something Angry Birds Friends just doesn't manage to pull off.