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If You Like Angry Birds You'll Love These Three Games
If you've had a smartphone or tablet for more than about fifteen minutes - and even if you've never touched one - you've probably heard about Rovio's über-popular Angry Birds franchise. Launched in December 2009 for the iPhone, the physics-based strategy puzzle game has expanded onto multiple platforms - the iPad, Android, PC, a web app, and it's even available on the latest version of Roku's streaming media set top box - and spawned numerous follow-up games. These days a search for Angry Birds in the App Store will bring you four different games: the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio (a tie-in to the animated movie of the same name), and Angry Birds Space, each with it's own separate phone and tablet version.
Now, I'm about as big an Angry Birds addict as you're going to meet - I have every Angry Birds game on both my iPhone and my iPad, and regularly use the web app via Google Chrome to kill a little time at my computer. Even so, variety is the spice of life, and sometimes I want a game that's kind of like Angry Birds, but isn't actually Angry Birds. So today we're going to take a look at some of the alternatives.
In terms of basic gameplay, Catapult King is fairly similar to Angry Birds. There are two main differences, though. First is perspective: with Catapult King you've got a third-person view, instead of Angry Birds's first person view. That means that sometimes some of the knights you're tasked with killing (en route to save a princess from a dragon, apparently), can be hard to spot. The second major difference is that while Angry Birds is 2D, Catapult King is 3D. That is to say, you have to adjust your aim in all three dimensions.
Catapult King is fairly new, and is definitely a solid alternative to Angry Birds. Even so, it's actually my least favorite on this list. For all that the 3D graphics are generally pretty, the whole interface feels a little busy and cramped on my iPhone. Nevertheless, Catapult King is definitely a good way to kill a little time. And a few knights.
The similarities between Shark Dash and Angry Birds are a little more obvious, and that turns out to be a good thing. The plot - in case that matters - is that a group of evil rubber ducks have kidnapped a pink shark bath toy, and it's up to her mate/friend/whatever to get her back. Like most games, the initial levels are pretty easy, while the difficulty increases as you go along. Various obstacles - including bath sponges, bubbles, tubes, and even mines - are strewn about the levels to keep things interesting.
Shark Dash is definitely a better game than Catapult King. What's more, it's extremely popular with little ones: I have a six-year-old and a three-year-old who both love it. The six-year-old may even be better at it than I am.
While Catapult King is a solid game, and Shark Dash is a lot of fun, Siege Hero really takes the cake. Like Catapult King, you're shooting from a first-person perspective. Like Angry Birds and Shark Dash, the targets are 2D, not 3D. The levels get increasingly difficult as you go along, but never so difficult as to feel impossible (well, only occasionally). Unlike Shark Dash and Catapult King, Siege Hero seems to have hit on the same gameplay features that make Angry Birds such a hit: the mechanics are pretty straightforward, and the game strikes the right balance between fun cartoony-ness and presenting a serious strategic challenge.
All in all, Siege Hero is easily the best game on this list, and the best Angry Birds alternative by a long shot (pardon the pun).
Did I leave out your favorite Angry Birds alternative? Let me know in the comments.