Angry Birds may sound like a bad run-in with a hen do on a Saturday night, but it's actually an addictive puzzle game that's been a huge hit on the iPhone, and has just made it to Android.
It has so many fans that there's even a movie in the works, and no wonder. It's our favourite kind of mobile game -- deceptively simple, and instantly addictive. If you like Paper Toss, but you're sick of that boring office and balls of paper, Angry Birds is definitely worth a look. It also involves chucking stuff, but this time it's little, angry birds being boinged from a slingshot. Their goal is to crash into structures to destory them, and get at the egg-stealing pigs hiding inside.
The narrative is simple but charming, and the little sounds made by the flying birds and grumbling pigs are endlessly amusing. Each level is just new enough to be a fresh, but not frustrating challenge.
This is a game that's all about physics -- whether we're talking bird trajectories or the tumbling, crashing walls of a pig-sheltering lean-to. And the developers have done a good job at harnessing the physics to make the actions predicatable -- and the game-play fun.
This isn't a heat-stopping adventure that takes you to another world. But it is a perfect time-waster for a tube journey or a long wait at the dentist. Because of the levels, you can play in bite-sized pieces, so it's fine if you get interrupted, too.
Can't beat a beta
The version that's available for Android is a beta, including a button to report bugs to the developer. But in our tests, it performed as smoothly as the iPhone version. We tested it on a Google Nexus One running Android 2.2. Froyo, and it was smooth and never crashed for us. One downside is that it doesn't stay open in the background, so if you want to switch to another task while you're playing, you have to re-open the app.
The developer says that Angry Birds will only run on "second generation" Android phones, which doesn't make it very clear. But we weren't able to download it on an HTC Hero running Android 2.1, so that second generation may be very recently hatched indeed.
The Beta is free for now, and we'll expect there to be a free version of the app and a paid version, in the fullness of time. The paid version is 59p on the iTunes store for the iPhone, so expect it to cost around that amount for the final Android version.
To get Angry Birds Lite Beta, search the Android Market or use this handy QR code, which we got from the fantastic Cyrket.