In the beginning, I was worried that another Angry Birds game would just be disappointingly stale, but this app quickly proved to be engaging, fresh, and full of variety. The main objective is to journey through the different-colored regions of Bird Island and find all the members of Eagle Force, an almighty super-bird team that can defeat the egg-stealing pigs once and for all. Along the way, you must fight multiple pig battles using your personal bird army, which you build and upgrade on your own. One of the coolest new perks in Angry Birds Evolution is the huge variety of bird characters, which come in all colors, sizes, and levels. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the great selection of both male and female birds, each of which come with their own unique bio. They also range from one to five stars in ability, and the game clearly states that a two-star character is stronger than a one-star one, no matter how much you upgrade it. Since you can only use a limited number of your birds in battles (the rest are saved in your inventory), it is far more effective to fight with your highest-ranking characters and use up your lower-ranked birds to upgrade and strengthen your fighters. And once you upgrade them the maximum number of levels (20), you can evolve them—although the price is steep unless you have a high amount of evolution material, so do not get prematurely excited about that.
As far as game controls go, Angry Birds Evolution still emphasizes the classic combination of angles and strategy, but at the same time it introduces a new head-on aim view. This can feel unfamiliar and a bit strange at first, but you quickly became adjusted to the layout. Attacking is especially effective when you hit pigs from the back, causing a lot more damage than frontal assaults. Additionally, the pigs each display the number of attacks you can launch before they hit back, which allows you to methodically choose which enemies to take out first. And just like the birds, the pigs differ in their attacks and special abilities, which allows for an unending combination of battle sequences. This prevents the game from becoming too repetitive or dull, and the free eggs and hatchery tickets you receive after each round are constant incentives to continue playing.
The one aspect of this game that I found frustrating is the Scout Missions. Sometimes in order to advance to the next battle, you must go off on side missions to collect random supplies—bandages, matchsticks, marshmallows, etc.—by winning smaller pig fights elsewhere on the map. The random supplies are usually tied loosely to the main story line; for example, you get “injured” when a volcano erupts near you, so you have to go find bandages and first aid kits. However, in order to locate and unlock the extra pig battles, you must use one of the three Scouts in your possession. Unfortunately, once you use a Scout, it takes 20 minutes to gain one back, and sometimes I had to use all three in under 20 minutes. This meant that I had to wait 20 minutes to an hour just to continue the game. There are some ways to get your Scouts back, but they either cost a lot of precious gems or will only work once every 24 hours. It definitely tested my patience to simply watch the minutes tick by, and sometimes it discouraged me from playing at all.
But overall, Angry Birds Evolution is action-packed and full of entertainment, enough to grab your attention and keep it. It also captures a wide audience, appealing not only to me, a female college student, but also my younger brother, who is in middle school and usually prefers combat-style games. The Angry Birds app has been around forever, so it is nice to see the game creatively and successfully reinventing itself.