Before Niantic, there was Rovio and the Finland-based mobile gaming pioneer announced the comeback of its popular “Angry Birds” game, now in augmented reality platform. But it will not be available on all AR glasses.
Rovio partnered with Sweden-based AR development Resolution Games to publish the new version dubbed the “Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs.” It is taking the old “Angry Birds FPS: First Person Slingshot” from the Magic leap and will move it back to its mobile roots via the App Store for ARKit-compatible iPhones and iPads on April 29.
The app is free and does not include in-app purchases, so Unity Ads serve up the sole monetization avenue for the game makers. When you fire it up, the game launches with 50 levels, but more will arrive at a later date.
“Angry Birds: Isle of Pigs” First Look
This edition of the “Angry Birds” game immediately moved itself apart from other mobile titles. Instead of presenting a standard mobile user interface and then transporting players into augmented reality to play the game, this game’s entire UI – after the game studio logos are displayed – exists in augmented reality.
Players are thrust into the experience of scanning for surfaces from the start; as such, the game takes extra steps to ensure that players find a suitable location for anchoring the game in the real world.
The premise of the game is the same as the older versions: Players sling their furious feathered friends at makeshift forts built by green pigs in the fewest turns possible in order to earn coins to unlock additional levels.
Visually, the augmented reality experience for the iOS edition is very similar to the Magic Leap version, as players must walk around the virtual fort in their physical space in order to find weak spots in the structures and try bring them down in one shot.
During game play, the experience wastes no time trying to impress upon players that position is key, as the second puzzle of the first level requires players to find a hidden opening at the rear of the structure in order to hit a box of dynamite and topple the entire structure with one shot.
Angry Birds AR on Mobile Versus On Magic Leap
There are some key differences of this new “Angry Bird” version versus the Magic Leap experience. For instance, ARKit does not quite have the spatial computing capabilities of Lumin OS as of yet. As a result, the content for “Isle of Pigs” does not have the environmental awareness or occlusion of FPS.
So, instead of projectiles bouncing off walls, or pigs rolling off tabletops, players may observe characters or objects disappearing into the floor, or flying through real world obstacles.
Also, while Magic Leap’s 6DoF controller acts as a virtual slingshot, the iOS version overlays the slingshot onto the foreground of the camera view, with players swiping downward on the screen to arm their weapon.
Another contrasting point between the iOS and Magic Leap versions is that ARKit can perform outdoors. Ultimately, as with most mobile AR games, the experience begs to be played with a wearable headset rather than a small, handheld window. AR does add another dimension to the familiar gameplay, but it’s just a bit unnatural to walk around the game space while holding a device at eye level.
However, Rovio and Resolution are on the right track with the franchise, as it’s not just a mobile game ported to AR for the sake of being in AR. The game is fun to play and uses immersion as an in-game tool, forcing players get up, move around, and possibly even contort their bodies in order to succeed.
A statement about the game explained:
“Viewing the 3D levels through an iPhone or iPad, players can walk 360-degrees around levels to find weaknesses and hidden items, and when they are ready, line up the perfect shot with intuitive onscreen controls – walking in close to get precise, or stepping back to gain a better view of the destruction.”
“Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs” is free to download now from the App Store. It remains unclear whether Rovio’s developers plan to launch a version for Android.