The First Angry Birds In AR

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs, is the first mobile version with AR. Games that use augmented reality (AR) could involve coatings on top of the real world. Amidst other Hot5 games and browser, it gives fans of Rovio’s bird-flinging, pig-smashing series a whole new way to play. Inside a VR headset, you interact with the series of trademark slingshot from a first-person perspective as you physically move around the playing field to line up your shots.

It is set to deliver the same experience on a smaller set of screens and will of course only run on ARKit-enabled Phones, but that should not be a problem for most users. Apple’s support for ARKit goes all the way back to the iPhone 6S, so as long as you have that phone or a newer one, you’re fine.

If you have not played the VR game at all but are familiar with Angry Birds and other browser games as a series, getting on board with Isle of Pigs should not be hard. You play from a first-person standpoint, with your iPhone’s screen serving as your slingshot’s-eye-view of each level, but the rules are otherwise the same. Each level is a wabbly collection of building blocks that you are supposed to smash to pieces using a variety of birds, all of which behave differently once you launch them.

The ultimate goal is not to knock over every piece, but to find and utterly destroy all of the spherical green pigs tucked into the nooks and crannies of each level. There are secrets to uncover too, as well as a varied arsenal of bird behaviors to master. But each subsequent level is growing complexity and never changes your basic mission: obliterate every pig you can find.

The AR tech also allows you to get a 360-degree view of each level. You can maneuver your iPhone or iPad around to better angle your shots, and many levels feature explosive blocks and other items hidden around the back, encouraging you to play around with the angle in order to clear the stages in as few shots as possible.

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs is free to download, with optional in-app purchases. The game is compatible with any iOS device that supports ARKit, meaning it can run on iPhone 6 and newer models, as well as fifth and sixth generation iPads and all iPad Pro devices.

After getting to play it for a moment, it is a reminder that, in many cases, phone-based AR can be just as good as what you can get on a several thousand-dollar AR headsets.

Unusually, the game is not multiplayer enabled, something that Apple’s AR platform can now allow. It seems like a miss not to have friends be able to compete. But even so, the game feels predictably fun. Vibrating haptics on the phone give you some helpful feedback, letting you know when the slingshot’s pulled back and ready to launch.

It is also a reminder of where AR games are currently at. Many games already place virtual objects in the real world like browser games in Will AR turn to surprising new art forms and directions next, or true shared worlds for massive collaborative projects? Angry Birds is not Pokémon Go, but it is a cute game.

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