Confused about all the new Angry Birds stuff? As far as I know, there are three games: Angry Birds, Seasons, and the latest, Rio. Whereas the original Angry Birds and Seasons games are seamless in terms of packaging, graphics, and characters, Angry Birds Rio breaks with tradition and starts something new.
In Angry Birds Rio, the original birds are taken captive to Rio de Janeiro, where their new mission is to save two rare macaws named “Blu” and “Jewel”. These two birds are the stars of Fox’s new movie, also named “Rio”. As seen here, the game is split into six chapters:
So it looks like every couple of months we’ll see a new Rio chapter, which seem to coincide with the plot of the Rio movie. Here’s the intro to the first chapter, “Smugglers’ Den”:
After the intro, the game begins, introducing a different graphical style, as seen here:
The new Rio graphics are brighter, more colorful, and more cartoonish than in the original Angry Birds and Seasons games. I’m guessing that the more “cutesy” and “cuddly” characters target younger players, or perhaps a wider audience for the big movie. Fortunately, the graphics for the angry birds themselves look the same:
Here’s another shot from the warehouse scene. Notice the style difference for the different background and foreground elements. It’s less crisp, more rounded and “soft” looking. Check it out:
Why the break in graphical continuity? Speculating, this seems more about re-branding/styling and testing the game’s market appeal using different characters, artists, and so on. A great example is seen in the removal of the pigs from the game. Two chapters in and so far no signs of any snorting pig heads. Instead, Rio is all about using the angry-birds characters to destroy other targets, like the caged birds from the first chapter, or the goofy looking monkey things seen throughout the second chapter:
Notice in the second chapter we start seeing some of the same graphical elements used in the original games. Wood blocks, stone slabs, and TNT boxes are among the familiar items populating certain scenes:
Even so, it’s not enough to change the equation. Don’t get me wrong, Angry Birds Rio is an awesome game, but the new formula just doesn’t ring true. You still get the physics-based destruction and tons new levels and surprises, but it’s nowhere near as addictive or intriguing as the original recipe.