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Review: The force is strong In 'Angry Birds Star Wars'

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    A scene from the new game 'Angry Birds Star Wars,' the latest in the popular franchise.Rovio

  • angry birds star wars splash.jpg

  • angry birds star wars 1.jpg

    A scene from the new game 'Angry Birds Star Wars,' the latest in the popular franchise.Rovio

  • angry birds star wars 2.jpg

    A scene from the new game 'Angry Birds Star Wars,' the latest in the popular franchise.Rovio

  • AngryBirdsStarWars.jpg

    Angry Birds Star Wars' is one of the best games in the birds series to date.Rovio/Lucasfilm

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, Lucasfilm – before it was purchased by Disney – decided to team up with Rovio for an "Angry Birds Star Wars" project.

"Angry Birds Star Wars" is one of the best games in the birds series to date, taking inspiration from George Lucas' classic 1977 film, as well as the sequel "The Empire Strikes Back," and creating ingenious levels and gameplay quirks that make it feel like its own entity.

The birds show some new duds this time around. The red one looks like Luke Skywalker; the speedy yellow one has the motif of loose cannon Han Solo; and the giant red bird has become hairy Chewbacca bird. The pigs get into the act as well, dressing up as Darth Vader, stormtroopers and even Sand People.

[See Also, 'Angry Birds Space' Is Out of This World]

But these looks aren't just for show. Each bird has an extraordinary ability – aside from being launched via slingshot. The small red Luke Skywalker bird, for example, can swing a lightsaber that cuts through everything in its vicinity and also bounces incoming shots back at the enemy. Solo's bird shoots three lasers that can not only destroy objects, but bounce off metal surfaces and keep going. Even the C-3PO bird is of use, exploding and using its body parts to magnificent effect.

The Mighty Eagle also gets in the act, taking the form of the Millennium Falcon, swooping in and doing major damage. You can earn free uses of it throughout the game, or buy them directly for between $2 and $20, depending how many you need.

The 80 levels provided here are quite tricky – and might take a couple of resets to get through – but they show that success hasn't influenced Rovio one bit. Creativity is in full swing, whether it's aiming your attack a TNT box on a crane or avoiding incoming lasers from well-armed bad piggies. And if you feel up to a real challenge, you can buy additional Path of the Jedi levels (at $2) and push your skills. Just the mere sight of a Yoda-inspired Angry Bird makes the purchase meaningful.

The way Tatooine, the Death Star and Dagobah are represented here is outstanding, with multi-scrolling levels and plenty of atmospheric strokes to enjoy. (Hoth levels will be coming soon, via downloadable content.)

The sound is equally notable, with hints of John Williams' classic score sprinkled throughout, plus inspired voice effects. When you launch the Han Solo bird, for example, he screams "YAHOO!" before firing off his blaster, which, yes, replicates the original 1977 effect.

For a mere dollar on iPhone and Android (or $3 for the stellar iPad HD version), "Angry Birds Star Wars" keeps all the promises of an astonishing crossover intact. Fans of both franchises will absolutely love this and keep coming back for more. Do buy it; there is no "try."

RATING: 4/4

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