8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great Concept - Poor Execution,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
This review is from: Angry Birds: On Thin Ice Game (Toy)
The game is super simple to play. You draw a card from 4 piles and build the structure the card displays. With the 4th pile you build a custom structure based on what pieces the card says you can use. Once the structure is built you fling the birds in the order they appear on the card. Only the Yellow and Red (really fat bird) have been included in this game. If you knock down all of the pigs then you earn points based on the level, where level 1 is 100 points, level 2 is 200 points, etc. The first player to reach 1,000 points wins the game.
The concept of the game is great, bring the Angry Birds experience to the real world. Allow us to have a tangible attachment to the Angry Birds universe. In these regards the game succeeds. You'll quickly get wrapped up in the levels, enjoy it when you knock over all of the pigs with 1 bird, and rejoice when your skills bring home the points you need to win.
However, the execution of the concept is very poor. The problems with the game are not how its played but how the pieces have been formed from plastic. The designer behind this game didn't put much thought into how the virtual renditions would actually function in the real world, with real people setting them up, etc.
Here are the issues, the pieces are not solid all the way around. The ice is solid on 5 sides, where the back side is open. This mean you have only a few possible ways to arrange the ice. So if the card calls for a piece that lays on its side, you have 3 options (top, bottom, front -- in most cases). The solid front and back are great because they offer the greatest surface area. Using them it is really easy to stack and build the level, but these side are also the most secure. So this means that it is much harder to knock over the pieces. If you try to stack two bits of ice top-to-bottom you can end up with one open side touching a solid side, which makes for some real patience testing as you try to get the pieces to stack up so that you can start enjoying the game. The long wood pieces are solid on 4 sides, what would be the top and bottom are concave-ish or pressed inwards. This "concave" area has the logo for the game, and it makes no real sense why they did this. When you attempt to stack two of the wood pieces top-to-bottom it is next to impossible to get them to balance as the edge which makes contact is an just around 1mm thick. So picture a 1mm edge balancing on another 1mm edge and then you are expected to stack more on top of that. Now imagine trying to stack the pig onto this pile. The gap in between both sides, the "concave" area with the logo, is just as wide as the pigs base, which makes it next to impossible to pull off some card designs in a normal time frame. You could always go with the flat side but then the level is really hard to knock over and you end up playing for much longer than perhaps your patience can stand. Also, some designs clearly expect you to stack using the difficult sides. Good luck pulling these off on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th try.
Another issue with the design is the TNT box. I've played the game for somewhere around a total of 10 hours with different age groups. In all of our sessions no one has ever been able to explode the TNT box. Half way through playing someone always asks what it is supposed to do and I'll show them by dropping it from about 24 inches. If you are expecting the TNT box to actually explode outwards and cause destruction, you'll be disappointed when you actually get to use it in a level.
For as poorly designed as the pieces are (with their open ends making it near impossible to stack some levels) they are well built. I tend to play on a 1/8th thick board on the floor, but I imagine that the pieces should hold up pretty well if they were to fall from the height of a table. I could imagine the ears of the pigs breaking off, and this would make it impossible to fit on the little hats, and also the TNT box breaking. So perhaps take caution and play closer to the floor as we do.
The bottom of the slingshot has 3 screws. I'm not curious enough to open it up at this point to see how it is made. I'm wondering if there is a rubber band in there? My worry is that the slingshot will stop working one day and when that happens the game could no longer be played. The slingshot itself feels pretty sturdy but it doesn't work as you would think. It is actually hard to get the in between powered shots that are required to hit the levels from the recommended 12 inches away. The sling shot always feels either under-powered or overpowered. When you pull back what seems like it would be the right amount the bird ends up flopping down right in front of the sling, when you pull back what feels like it is to far the bird will fly almost straight up and drop right down or fly over the pieces. Again, that middle ground takes some getting use to and most people I've played with have had a hard time dialing in the slingshot. What seems to work the best is a combination of the distance the pull back the sling and how quickly you let it slide from under your finger.
Overall the game is pretty fun once you get it set up and working. It will test your patience as you try to stack the poorly designed blocks or shoot the birds from the slingshot that doesn't work as you would have expected. The game is worth picking up if you can grab it for a good price. I got mine for $8 during a sale at a local store and I don't regret it. But the retail sticker on the box says $22.99 and I can't imagine feeling like I would have gotten my moneys worth if I had paid that much!
One final tip to close out this little review. When you are forced to stack the pieces on their 1mm thick sides, with more stuff on top, followed by a pig (and it happens more often than not), try stacking on small angels. Place the first piece flat side down, so it is sturdy. Then place the second pieces end to end but on a slight angle, so the corner sticks off just a bit, this will allow you to stack it more easily. The top will then be a flat side so that you can further stack more stuff or place a pig. Good luck... and remember, the game should be fun! =)