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The Rise of Angry Birds

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Unless you live in a cave and perhaps even if you do, you already know that Angry Birds has quickly become one of the most popular games ever to hit the market for smartphones and tablets. It doesn’t take more than a quick glance at the best seller list in the App Store to see that Angry Birds dominates not only in the United States but in other countries as well. What is it that makes this game so popular and gives it worldwide appeal? That is the question that would appear to hold the key to success for future app developers. Today, we will attempt to at least partially answer that question by identifying some of the characteristics of the game that make it addictive and enjoyable for users.

angry birds

Graphics

If you’ve played Angry Birds on your phone or iPad, chances are that you are already familiar with the graphic to the right. For those of you who haven’t played the game, this is a screen capture of the application as it launches and is representative of the style of game play the developer (Rovio Mobile) delivers throughout. Some of the characteristics that should immediately stand out to you include bright colors, faces that communicate emotion, and a smooth detailed environment.

Game Play

After years of dealing with game play that is more and more complex and increasingly frustrating, part of what makes Angry Birds appealing is its simplicity. The learning curve is short and controlling game functions is simple yet it still requires a degree of skill to be successful. The game is based on a story where a group of evil pigs has captured the eggs of a group of birds. The object is for players to get the eggs back by eliminating the pigs which have taken refuge in a variety of structures made of wood, rock, and ice. The birds are launched at the structures using a slingshot that taps into the touch screen functionality of the users’ mobile device. Gameplay starts with just a single type of bird and a simple set of structures. As the levels advance, additional birds that split, detonate or drop eggs are unlocked giving the user more options to choose from and requiring more skill and planning to successfully complete new levels. This kind of┬ásystem where players are provided with progressive rewards has proven to be successful in PC and console based games so naturally, it translates well to mobile games as well. If you examine some of the most popular games throughout history, many of them involve this type of achievement structure.

Frequent Updates

The biggest reason players abandon a game is boredom. Once players have completed all of the levels in an average game and there are no additional challenges remaining, there is a much greater chance they will tire of the title and move on to something new. Rovio has mastered the art of delivering fresh content and new features to keep users coming back for more. In fact, a new version of Angry Birds now seems to appear around every major themed holiday throughout the year.

While this isn’t exactly a step-by-step blueprint for anyone who wants to develop the next hot mobile game app, there are some pearls of wisdom to be gathered from the success of Angry Birds. By combining some of these proven tactics with a new and creative idea, an aspiring developer can greatly improve the odds of launching a successful new game.