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My 6 yr old got this for his birthday and was delighted as he loves Angry Birds. Both the box and the board itself are nicely designed and appealing to kids. The game itself is essentially frustration but rebranded for the Angry Bird Star Wars format. The counters come in 4 colours - blue, purple, black and red and are shaped like the birds.
Set up is simple and very quick. Place your four counters into your starting spaces and away you go. One of the best features is the dome in the centre which you press to 'throw' the dice. This keeps the dice in place and guarantees that you won't be on your hands and knees within minutes trying to locate a dice under the table when your overzealous three yr old has flung it. The kids also like the novelty of using the dice this way.
Ideally, if played to its fullest extent, you need to throw a six to start moving your counter. You then continue to roll and move on your turn until you reach your home spaces. The first to have all four counters reach their home spaces is the winner. If another player lands on one of your counters you must go back to the beginning and restart.
In reality, we never play in that way and I always customise our game to shorten it otherwise my 3 yr old particularly would get bored. Sometimes we only have two counters each in play which shortens the duration. In addition, we don't need to roll a six to start and we don't send a counter back to the beginning if another player lands on it. As the kids grow, we will play it more like it was intended. However, its adaptability is one feature I like about it as it can adapt as the kids grow and are more able to play for longer. For that reason, I think it suits a range of age groups and would certainly recommend it. It is good for my youngest, who is getting to practice moving the counters and counting at the same time so he is learning as he plays. The Angry Birds branding doesn't particularly add anything to it except perhaps to make it more attractive to play initially to fans.
We really did not need this game as we have Frustration, which is basically the same thing. We also had Catch me if can, for years, but it had eventually given up the ghost literally One of the ghosts was missing when we got it, and we lost another. But my sons do love Angry Birds and my oldest had his heart set on this as his Christmas Eve Game ( I always give the children a board game on Christmas Eve as find toys like this get lost in the commotion of the big day). This currently sells for £10.99 on Amazon. I believe I paid a pound more, but either way, I consider this a reasonable price for the game.
The game board is a clear plastic square with moulded plastic rings which keep the playing pieces in place - most of the time. A printed paper background of Angry Birds Space is fitted underneath the board, and a green die in the popper completes the angry birds theme. I strongly suspect that this basic board is used for many different themes- whatever is popular at the time. It is the exact shape and size as the Catch Me If You Can Set, and I have seen a very similar Thomas The Tank set in the past. The playing pieces are not very detailed but they are recognizable as Angry Birds. You get black, blue, red and purple.
The game is played just like frustration. You line up your 4 playing pieces in the start position - or as we call it the nest. You are meant to have to roll a 6 to get you piece out, but we have changed this to allow a 6 or 1 as it means the children do not get frustrated when it takes too long to get a piece out, and the game moves a bit quicker - which I prefer. If another player lands his piece on yours, you get sent home. The winner is the first player with all four birds covering the pig pictures in the home position. We continue play until only one person is left.
This game does teach some very basic counting skills - up to six and could be useful to teach colour if the child did not already know the colours. Board games in general are recognised as improving a child's academic performance, but personally - I feel there is a bit more to it than the games themselves. Children who play board games regularly score higher in most academic tests. Did the board games make them smarter? I doubt it. I think it is just the time spent talking to an interacting with adults. I'm sure doing a craft or cooking together is equally beneficial, but I do feel that board games are a good way to keep a family close. I don't believe this is any more educational than most board games, and many are more educational, but it is good fun and I'm sure it has some benefits.
If I were rating this game on my own, I would give it 4 stars. I do like the fact that no electronic features have been added to this. I prefer a game without whistles and noise and appreciate toys that do not require batteries. Most board games fall into this category - but some have been "Improved" with electronics. It is a good game and reasonably well made, but not significantly different from so many other popomatic games on the market. I have no complaints, but I don't think it is spectacular either. But I really wouldn't bother playing any of these popomatic games without children. This is a child's game so it their opinion that counts.
Both of my sons do really enjoy this game. They both love the Angry Birds theme and Frustration has not been played once since we got this. My youngest ( age 4) gets bored after a few games, but the oldest ( age 8) will happily play for quite some time. When we play with only two players, we each take 2 colours to spice it up a little bit. They both think it should have five stars, so I am out voted. If your children love Angry Birds, as many do, then I have no problems in recommending this game.
I did not have this game when my boys were younger, but my sons did play Frustration and Catch Me If You Can from age 2 1/2 with help so I do feel this would suit a very young child, as long as they are old enough not to put the pieces in their mouths. It is a good way for very little ones to learn counting, even a two year old will usually enjoy pushing the popper to roll the die - of course very little ones often lose patience if a game takes too long, so if playing with a very young player, I would not take playing pieces myself, but help them with theirs and then take over to finish the game with the older child if the little one quits. I am not quite certain on an upper age range either since my oldest is 8 but I would guess this to suit children from age 3 - 10 possibly 12.