The latest Angry Birds release sees the wingless wonders flung into zero gravity.
WHETHER you've caught the Angry Birds fever or fail to see what all the fuss is about, this gaming franchise has been an extraordinary success for its creator, Rovio Entertainment.
After two years and three very similar Angry Birds games, Rovio has taken a risky but much-needed step and shaken up its winning gameplay mechanics for this latest instalment in the series.
Angry Birds Space features mostly the same cast of characters from the earlier games, only this time the flock finds itself planet-hopping through outer space in search of stolen eggs.
Besides the different setting and new puzzles, the main change is to the gameplay mechanics. When shooting birds out of the slingshot, instead of them rising and falling according to Earth's gravity, players must now contend with the laws of physics of outer space, such as the orbital pull of other planets. The tweaks are carefully designed to help and hinder players.
This is a new concept for Angry Birds, but Rovio isn't the first to explore near-weightless physics in games.
Another example is Wired Developments, which came up with Rocketeer for iOS in 2010.
Angry Birds Space costs 99¢ to $2.99, and is available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. There is also a premium Mac version and an ad-supported free version for Android.
Rovio looks to have created another winner, with a balance of familiarity and new challenges that maintain the magic for which the series is renowned.