It's almost exactly four years since Angry Birds crash landed into the app store, and eight games, 10 books and a cartoon series later the franchise is spreading its wings once more. It's been a great ride so far, but is there any mileage in these karting capers?
So here it is, the inevitable 'karting' game that gets made whenever game developers run out of ideas. Sonic Racing, Mickey's Speedway, Crash Team Racing – we've been here before with varying success, but Angry Birds Go! deserves a fair crack given the series' excellent track record.
Although Angry Birds has previously deviated from its format by merging with the Star Wars universe, Angry Birds Go is different sort of side-step – one that finds the game removing the very dynamics which catapulted it to success and testing whether or not its characters can fly solo. The result is a perfectly passable go-kart app, but one that lacks the kinks and imagination which makes the original games so maddeningly addictive.
Angry Birds Go! does all the things you'd expect it to – there are races and time trials, boss levels and upgrades. You can tilt to steer or simply tap either side of the screen. It looks nice and handles well, too, but despite getting all the basics right, something here feels very run-of-the-mill. Even the more novel level ideas are lifted from other games, such as the Fruit Ninja-indebted 'Fruit Splat' races or many a concept lifted from Mario Kart. The lack of an online or multiplayer mode is equally disappointing, although there's every chance they could be added in at a later stage.
Perhaps we've been a bit harsh here, after all, Angry Birds Go! is free to download and its in-app purchases don't feel too intrusive to the game as a whole. Somebody new to Angry Birds could have a lot of fun racing their way through the game's many levels, but the problem-solving satisfaction which made the original great is sorely missing.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Angry Birds Go! is far from the worst karting spin-off we've played – in fact, it's perfectly decent – but it's hardly re-inventing wheel either.
Current version: 1.0.1
Requires Android: 2.3.3 and up