Angry Birds Action is both a return to roots for the avian-flinging series, and a reinvention of sorts. All timed to coincide with the launch of the Angry Birds Movie.
And it all works pretty well. The slingshot mechanic is in place, but it's shifted to an over-the-shoulder sort of view. There's still stuff to smash, but you're running at it rather than swooping through the air.
Yes it's free to play, yes there's an energy system, and yes it might not be the most original game out there. But it is a lot of fun, and sometimes that's all that you really need.
What are you doing then?
You're twanging one of the birds from the film around a series of levels. It's sort of like a mix between pinball and air hockey. There are items to collect on each level, and you've got a set number of twangs to do it in.
Smashing into obstacles scores you points as well, and you'll need to get a certain score to get three stars on each challenge. These stars turn into keys, which you use to unlock prizes.
There are blocks of ice, rocks, trees, fruits, explosive crates, and all manner of other things to twonk into, as well as cannons you can fire red bird out of, and poles you can launch him off.
There's nothing particularly unique here, but it's all put together with that sparkly Rovio polish we've all come to expect. And while it might not be the freshest experience, there's still an awful lot to enjoy.
Things get tougher the deeper you get into the game, but as you play you'll unlock buildings in your home village that generate power-ups over time.
The game also adds an air of randomness to proceedings. A spinning wheel of fortune might add extra hazards to a level, and pigs often fly over in bi-planes, dropping new obstacles as they do. Because pigs are jerks.
Okay, sounds fun, but how free to play is it?
Quite. But it's not egregious with it. I've played for a good few hours and never hit the energy limit, and the levels don't feel like they're designed unfairly. They're challenging, for sure, but if you've got the skill you can beat them.
There's no massive hook here though. The compulsion loop is reasonably tight, but it's reasonably easy to shrug it off after an hour or so. This is mindless fun, pure and simple, and while it adds some depth here and there, it's easily forgettable.
Not that that's essentially a bad thing for a mobile game. Angry Birds Action might not soar to the heights of the original, but it's still an entertaining slice of throwaway nonsense that will leave a smile on your face.