Right now I would say that the Android gaming scene is doing just okay. Most of the games are simply ports from iOS and the original games aren't incredibly original. The platform doesn't really have that single iconic gem that is Android's and Android's alone. I'm sure it will come in the future, but for now, we'll have to be satisfied with seconds.
Today I'll just be covering the Angry Birds games, but I plan to write more about the Android gaming platform in the future.
As probably the most downloaded games in history, the Angry Birds series is simple, fun, and addictive. With Tetris-level of accessibility, nearly anyone with any level of gaming skill can sit down and play Angry Birds and have a good time. The stages can be completed quickly making for a fun portable experience, and the number of levels included leads to potential hours upon hours lost.
The best part? All three games are free on Android as ad-supported apps. You can purchase the ad-free versions from the Amazon app store for 99 cents each.
I had already "beaten" Angry Birds on iOS, but I couldn't pass up playing the game again just for the fun experience and to try and achieve a higher score. Angry Birds itself comes with over 200 levels and Seasons and Rio currently add about another 200. This is an incredible amount of content for as little as nothing, with tons of replay value to boot.
For the unitiated, Angry Birds can be summed up with slingshotting birds into pigs. The round green pigs are scattered around different types of materials and you need to take them all out with the birds given to you. Some birds just fly a normal slingshotted trajectory, others explode, and some break up into three tiny birds. The bird-based weapons are simple and are the key to mastering the game. Can this bird take out rock? Ice? Just wood? If I manage to take out this one piece of lumber will the rest of the level collapse around it? Think Scorched Earth meets Worms.
The graphics are rather simple, but the sound effects stand out as crazy fun. Everything in this game has a distinct sound and each stage is a cacophony of noise. I love the musical theme too, it's just a simple little ditty but will stick with you the rest of the day.
Angry Birds Seasons is essentially a series of level packs produced for various holidays. For Halloween 2010, Rovio released the first 30-odd levels with a spooky theme. The pigs hide in pumpkins and a cheesy-looking moon floats in the background. The releases continued for Christmas, Valentines Day, St. Patricks Day, and Easter with each set featuring a fun twist on the holiday. With the levels arriving free of charge, it's definitely not a bad deal.
Yes, Angry Birds Rio is actually a not-so-well disguised advertisement for the movie Rio, but it also looks and feels like the first game that could be called Angry Birds 2, or at least Angry Birds 1.5. The graphics received a noticeable upgrade compared to the previous two titles on Android, and new enemies and birds have been introduced. Gone are the pigs, having been replaced with what I presume to be bad guys from the animated movie. In the first set of levels, you're actually freeing birds from cages and then it's followed by taking out monkeys in droves.
It feels a bit shameless to be playing what is really just a giant ad for a kids movie, but updates to the experience make it a fun experience for Angry Birds fans. The best part is the game has already received two updates, and we'll be seeing three more as the movie leaves theaters and hits DVD later this year. This was a coup in marketing, if you ask me, as this game will be constantly reminding you about the film all year long as you receive additional levels.
I originally meant this to be a review on quite a few more Android games, but I got kind of sidetracked just talking about Angry Birds. Have you played it? Do you consider it too casual for your taste?