Game Design Spotlight 6: Angry Birds


Format: iOS (available in lite, HD, and “Seasons” versions)

Developer: Rovio

Designer: Jaakko Iisalo

The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole the birds’ eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the Angry Birds to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles. Angry Birds features hours of gameplay, challenging physics-based castle demolition, and lots of replay value. Each of the 288 levels require logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy.

If you haven’t heard of Angry Birds by now, then you probably live in a cave. So, Batman, it’s like this: Players slingshot colored (and angry) birds into rickety structures to collapse them onto green pigs. Yeah, it’s a physics puzzler. As of this writing, Angry Birds has become the most downloaded game ever1. To the casual observer, the game might seem like an overnight sensation, but Angry Birds’ success is due to a series of very smart design choices.

Angry Birds’ primary action is flinging. The player pulls back on a slingshot and lifts her finger to launch the bird across the screen. A process made simple by limiting the player’s options. Players don’t have to worry about reloading their slingshots or the order in which birds are launched. Players can only fire at a 60-degree arc. (You can “fire backward” and waste a shot: one of the few player-unfriendly ...

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