Friends, let’s not beat around the bush. Siege Hero is pretty much Angry Birds from a first person perspective. If you’re over Angry Birds, there’s really nothing to see here; there are plenty of other fine app reviews at Beatweek to peruse. If, on the other hand, you’ve sent every pig to the great beyond and you still get a tingly feeling when you see a wood and stone building collapse to the ground, then carry on, dear reader, because Siege Hero may be just the game you’re looking for.
The premise of the game is fairly simple: You take a tour through the ages, avenging peasants who have been put upon by evil marauders of all types: Pirates, samurai, barbarians, etc. These evildoers are holed up in buildings made of wood, stone, and ice, and you launch different projectiles at the building to try to topple it onto the heads of the bad guys. The main difference from other games of its ilk is that, instead of launching woodland animals at the building from a side-mounted slingshot, you attack the building directly from a first person perspective.
That sounds like a minor difference, but the shift to first person actually makes a distinct impact on how the game plays. Instead of aiming in the general direction of where you want the projectile to land, you just tap on where you want to shoot and that’s where the projectile goes. In fact, if you want even more precision, holding your finger on the screen brings up a magnifying glass and crosshairs so there’s no blaming the game for screwing you out of the perfect shot. What this ultimately does is make Siege Hero play more like a straight puzzle game than most other games of its type, since the whole “try to figure out the exact angle of where you want to launch the projectile” aspect of the game goes away and all that’s left is where to place shots in the correct order to bring the building down.
There are a couple of other areas where Siege Hero tries to differentiate itself as well. The weapon selection is interesting; while it starts out with the standard stones and bombs, eventually it introduces firebombs which burn away a single beam, grappling hooks which completely remove one piece, and tar barrels which kill the marauders without doing any damage to the building. The latter becomes important once the game places peasants who need to be preserved into the buildings. Killing the peasants doesn’t prevent clearing the level, but it does provide a score penalty.
Despite these new elements, however, it was hard to shake the feeling that I’d played through this game before. There are those aforementioned differences, but the rest of the gameplay is too similar to Angry Birds for my liking, especially given that I’m more or less over Angry Birds and have moved on to greener pastures. The graphical style is uncomfortably similar as well, down to the pause menu that slides out from the side. Unfortunately, there isn’t any option to be able to bypass a difficult level like the Mighty Eagle in Angry Birds, so if you do get stuck on a level then you’re not going to be able to go any further until you solve it.
All this is not to say that Siege Hero isn’t a fun game. It is, and the change to first person adds some novelty that other would-be successors to Angry Birds lack. However, the fact remains that Siege Hero is very firmly in the Angry Birds genre, and if you don’t like that game (or have played it into the ground and are looking for something different) then you’re going to be better off looking elsewhere. If you can’t get enough of virtual demolition, though, Siege Hero has 130 more levels to plow through, and it will do an admirable job of filling the time between Angry Birds updates.
Google isn't above killing a little productivity to prove the power of its web browser. The search engine king has released a special free browser-based version of Rovio's avian-flinging sensation Angry Birds on the Chrome Web Store, just to prove it can be done.
Announced earlier today at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco, the new browser-based version of Angry Birds is a testament to how far Google's Chrome browser has come in a short time. According to Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Chrome, Angry Birds in a web browser wouldn't have been possible a year ago. With a graphics rendering speed ten-times-faster than earlier versions, today's Chrome can make it happen.
As can, incidentally, today's version of Safari. Today's version of Firefox, on the other hand, was a bust. No one uses Internet Explorer anymore, so we didn't even bother.
The free version of Angry Birds features the game's first level, Poached Eggs, along with a set of exclusive Chrome-themed levels. You can install it now via the Chrome Web Store. It runs rather nicely, and as an added bonus, remains cached for offline play.