FINNISH SMARTPHONE GAME STUDIO Rovio has released the latest incarnation of its popular Angry Birds franchise.
Angry Birds Go! sees our feathered friends abandoning their flinging ways in favour of a variety of karts in an arcade romp somewhat akin to the popular Nintendo Mario franchise.
However, as we reported previously, the new game brings with it the somewhat unwelcome spectre of the 'free-to-play' model, which is a phrase that developers seem to be choosing as a softer alternative to 'freemium'.
Either way, it means that to progress in the game at any kind of speed, users are required to make in-app purchases. With the most expensive kart clocking in at £49.99, Rovio seems to have shown no embarrassment in its decision to monetise the bird brains, and although early reviews have been good, this move into freemium has drawn some choice comments from players.
One reviewer said, "In App purchases seems to be the new way you steal money... never expected this from Rovio. Good game nice extension of the brand Angry Birds but total loss of cause due to extortionate in app purchases," while another added, "What happened to games that wanted you to play them?"
One unwelcome change is a requirement that you wait to build up energy for 10 minutes between races or pay for an energy boost with real money.
Angry Birds Go! is the latest is a line of freemium titles linked to big name franchises. Earlier this year, a boy from Belfast clocked up nearly £1,000 in in-app purchases for The Simpsons: Tapped Out, a free download that requires a significant amount of in-app currency, in that case, doughnuts, to progress.
After a soft launch in New Zealand last month, Angry Birds Go! is now available worldwide for Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry 10, although we had some trouble making it show up in Android search results this morning. At 168MB it's a huge download, so make sure you free up some storage first. µ
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