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I suggested this game awhile back - but between the time I suggested it, and the time it was listed - the contents changed drastically. As I was looking at the new set - I realised this was something my son would love to have anyway - so I bought the new set for Christmas and had to wait until after Christmas to write the review. I was wondering if the original set was still for sale though, and had a quick look on ebay. I ended up finding a 3rd set so I would caution parents - if you are planning to buy a set - there is a huge difference in these. I will briefly review the original set as well so parents will known the difference.
All of these games are played like the popular computer game or app. You shoot birds through a slingshot to knock down buildings and kill pigs - or in this case monkeys. The main difference is that with this game, in addition to knocking down the blocks, you also get to build the structures. I like the fact that this is one game a child can play for hours on their own, as well as playing as a family. We often take turns, one person building and the other knocking things down. but you can play this alone too. My youngest ends up playing more of a role playing game with the pieces, but my oldest has spent hours building things and knocking them down. It doesn't end up sitting on the shelf when no one else wants to play, in fact playing alone really gives a child the chance to perfect their designs and techniques.
The first set we bought came with a green bird with a long bill, a white bird, two monkeys, a slingshot and a few blocks. These birds were what I would call traditional Angry Bird shape - a big head with wings and a beak. They are heavier than the birds in the newer set, and in my opinion shoot better. They appear very sturdy, and I feel these would be very difficult to break. The 3rd set - which I do not own - and won't be buying as I have all the same pieces from different sets is also available on Amazon, and has the same two birds we got with the first set, plus 3 others, the slingshot and a few blocks, but instead of monkeys - you get pigs.
The newer set , which is pictured above has 5 birds, but rather than looking like Angry Birds, they look like the characters from Rio; Blue, Jewel, Rafael, Pedro and Nico. These are made of a very lightweight plastic with a cheap and flimsy feel to it. So far they have survived being fired from the slingshot, which is what they are intended to do, but a fear a drop from a table may end up shattering one. I don't expect the poorly sprayed on paint to last forever. I also have some worries that these may separate in time from being shot out of the slingshot as there is a visible crack where the two plastic bits were glued together to make these. I really am dissapointed with the quality of these, but I have been proven wrong before, so hopefully these will last as long as the children have an interest in them. Personally, I feel the original set is a far better product, but my sons both disagree and they prefer this one, because it has the "real birds" from the film and game.
Whichever game you choose, you will get a fairly well made plastic slingshot to shoot the birds from. If you add 3 AAA ( amazon says AA - but I have just opened mine up, and mine have AAA) batteries to this, it will play a short and very annoying sound from the game...... over and over and over. I have to admit watching my husband driven to the point of madness by this was quite amusing - and worth suffering through it myself, but I think that prolonged exposure to ths device may qualify as torture. Thankfully, the children eventually got fed up with this themselves and never bother with the sound unless they want to wind their father up. They specifically asked for the batteries to be left out on this one - and my response was "Thank God".
Both the set pictures above, and the third set with the more traditional Angry Birds include 11 blocks. As we mix all of our sets in together, I am not 100% about the 1st set, but I believe it was the same number. This may sound like a reasonable amount, but personally, I believe this game grows boring very quickly with so few blocks. Most of these are quite small, and there really is not a whole lot you can build. We have a number of Angry Birds sets though, so we are able to build far more interesting structures. We have also used Uno stacking bricks, Jenga, and dominoes. I won't be using Jenga with this set though as I really do not think these birds will survive crashing into heavier wooden blocks. Finally, you get a couple of plastic plants and eggs with each set. I believe I paid under £10 for the first set and £13.99 for the second set. The third set is currently £14.49 including postage from Amazon Market Place. Both of my other sets were purchased from Amazon Market Place as well.
While I do have complaints about this game, my son was over the moon with this, and both boys have really enjoyed playing with it. They both like the film, and are crazy about Angry Birds, so it has been a very popular toy. Considering the price, and the amount of playtime this has had already, I will grudgingly admit that this was value for money in my opinion. Most of my oldest sons gifts this year were tiny electronic items so this made one very large package under the tree ( although the amount of packaging is really disgraceful for such small items) and it was something that drew shouts of delight, so I won't complain too much. My sons both feel this should get 5 stars. Had the birds been made to last I would happily second this. As I do feel they cut to many corners with the birds and could have made something a bit more solid - but I can't forget the smile on my child's face when he saw this and that counts for something as well. I would give this 4 stars, but combining the 3 ratings brings us up to 4 2/3 so I'll round it up to 5. If one of the birds ends up breaking though I will be back with an update and a lower rating. If I were the one choosing, I would certainly go with the first or the third set, but I wouldn't buy this type of game for myself anyway, and the children have said that they feel the best of the the sets they own.
I would recommend this for huge fans of Rio, especially younger children who are apt to play with the characters on their own as well. For older Angry Birds fans, I think I would go with the more traditional sets. Whichever set you choose, I do feel that this is a fun way to spend time as a family, and a far more creative way to play than on a tablet or phone. There are several other Angry Birds sets to collect, and game play does get much much better when you can combine a few sets and have a fair amount of blocks. The more blocks you have - the more creative you can be with building. This game was purchased purely for fun, but I feel it does have some educational value as well, as children learn to guage the distance for the right slingshot strike, and to build more and more complex designs.