Mobile gaming giant Rovio has launched its latest title on Android and iOS today. Anry Birds Go is a free “kart” racer based in the Angry Birds universe, featuring feathered friends from the popular artillery shooter. If you’ve played Mario Kart or any similar titles you’ll know what to expect here — fast-paced 3D racing with a focus on power-ups and weapons, featuring familiar characters (birds and pigs, in this case.) There’s a variety of game modes to choose from besides a straight-up race to the finish, including Time Boom, Fruit Splat, Champion Chase and Mega Match.
Free-to-play is problematic for Rovio, partly because of its generous approach to updates for previous Angry Birds titles – if you paid 59p for the original game in 2011, you were still getting new levels for it in 2013 – and partly because of the large number of children who play the Angry Birds games.
On either front, if Angry Birds Go’s in-app purchase prodding is too aggressive it’ll spark a big backlash. The game is out today for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 – one of the first games to hit all four platforms on its launch day – so how has Rovio done? Pretty well on all counts.
➤ Angry Birds Go: iOS | Android | Windows Phone | BlackBerry 10
Angry Birds Go! obviously isn’t a Mario Kart killer, given that the games exist on completely different devices. The wider threat of a growing number of children spending their gaming time with Angry Birds rather than Mario, Pokemon, Link and co is a separate (and often heated) discussion, but for now the two karting games aren’t going head-to-head.
Angry Birds Go! is great fun now, with plenty of potential for evolution in 2014 and beyond. A few tweaks to the in-app purchases aside, it’ll be raising eyebrows for positive, not negative reasons.