Your goal is the same as it’s always been. Stop the rotund green pigs from stealing your eggs by launching flightless birds at them with a slingshot, kamikaze style. Different birds have different abilities and uses. Destroying structures as completely and using as few birds as possible will lead to a higher score, which nets you a three star rating. The outer space theme truly mixes these conventions up by including tiny planets with their own gravity fields, as well as zero-G environments. In many ways, you’ll have to relearn how structures and towers respond to your assault, and the bigger a fan you are, the more jarring these subtle but major changes will be.

Joining the classic red, splitting blue, and black bomber birds are the newcomer purple laser, ice, and big green birds. The laser bird is the replacement for the old yellow rocket bird. After being fired, you can tap anywhere on the screen and he will zip in that direction, making it possible to attack from previously unheard of angles. The new ice bird acts entirely as support, behaving just like the bomber except with a freeze blast that weakens structures, making stone even weaker than glass. The big green bird, lovingly named Terrence, is just big and heavy. Every bird is looking rather dapper in their new super hero costumes, many of which resemble some comic book classics. The whole game has taken on a Flash Gordonesque superheroes in space motif, and I love it.

The initial game comes with sixty levels split into two worlds, plus the strange unloackable Eggsteroid levels included as a hidden bonus. The level design is really kind of the same as always, with a solid difficulty curve and a handful of levels that are exceedingly confusing or frustrating sprinkled in. These levels can feel aimless, leaving you without any obvious direction. For the most part though, it’s great. There are even boss battles at the end of each world against the Pig King. These fights totally pay homage to classic Sonic the Hedgehog and the Dr. Robotnik battles. The Pig King even has his own space pod which he surround with different vehicles only to escape after you smash them up. It may not matter to many of you, but I thought the new aesthetics were one of the best improvements.

The darker color palate and bizarre new environments set up a nice contrast against the previous game’s bright and sunny visuals. The new gravity mechanics make this one of the most novel and refreshing titles yet, and they give the series a desperately needed shake-up. Even haters of the Angry Birds craze will have a hard time denying that this title had loads of effort behind and, and it really shows. I can’t wait to see what kind of creative and random things Rovio does in the many free updates we’re sure to see. You can grab the ad supported standard edition for free at the time of this review, or you can grab the HD version for three dollars. I’m playing the standard version on a tablet and it looks great. Just saying. Take it from someone who isn’t even a big fan of Angry Birds that this game is worth your while, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it regardless of your history with the franchise.

[appbox googleplay]