Remember when Angry Birds first popped into our lives and Rovio was just getting started? Those days are long gone as those angry little birds have transformed into cash cows, with spin-off games, cartoons, and more merchandise than you can shake a stick at. Yesterday they released their latest creation on the world with Angry Birds Go! and today we’re going to give you the lowdown on Rovio’s new kart racer.
Angry Birds Go! takes players to Piggy Island where they’ll compete against birds and piggies as the race for the finish line. It’s an Angry Birds Kart Racing game in the vein of Mario Kart, complete with whacky characters and a slew of power-ups. You start out with a car and the red bird and the first series of races dubbed Seedway, and you’re able to recruit new racers and unlock new tracks by beating the boss bird of each track. Progressing to the next track is fairly simple at first, but becomes more difficult in the latter levels as you’ll have to continually upgrade your car to enter races. In addition to the boss tracks, you’ll also get to compete in several types of races per track including regular, fruit, versus, and time boom races.
The controls are about as simple as it gets as well – you can use tilt or touch controls to maneuver your car and a button activates your power-up. As for those power-ups… Rovio has decided to put “sponsored” power-ups in Angry Birds Go! which means you can give your car a Goldfish flavored boost courtesy of Finn & Friends or a tune-up thanks to State Farm. It’s odd, and it’s pretty safe to say the sellout is now complete as I never thought I’d see a plug for State Farm Insurance in the middle of an Angry Birds game.
The upgrade system and layout of the game can make Angry Birds Go! feel like a grind at times, and the energy-based setup doesn’t help either. You can race a bird until it’s energy runs out, and after that you’ve got to let them charge or use crystals to recharge their energy. You can always use another bird if one’s tired, but eventually you’ll hit a paywall if you want to play for hours on end.
While the energy setup can be dealt with somewhat, Angry Birds Go! is still a “freemium” game full of in-app purchases. Want race with one of the cooler looking cars? You can if you’re willing to plunk down some cash. The car prices range from $2.99 to a whopping $49.99 for the top of the line ride, and you have to click through to actually see how much they cost. Not cool. The crystal prices (premium currency) actually aren’t all that bad as you can get 500 from only $5 bucks. The crystals can be traded in for coins as well which can be used to upgrade your vehicles.
Angry Birds Go! is an excellent kart racing game that could have been truly outstanding if not for the dreaded paywall and energy-based setup. Both obstacles can be overcome if you’re diligent and play smart, but eventually you’re going to have to pay to play if you really get into the game and it’s going to get grindy at times as you try and reach the next elusive cc level.
That said, the game is good enough to make you want to spend a few bucks if the waiting doesn’t get to you first. The graphics are top-notch, and while the gameplay is insanely simple it’s still a lot of fun. There are a lot of things to like about the game and considering its Rovio, you know you’re going to get a lot of updates down the line. If you don’t mind the waiting game, Angry Birds Go! is well worth a shot, and you can pick it up for free on Google Play and the App Store.