Angry Birds Rio Hatches New, Improved & Pig-FriendlierS

Rio, the computer animated avian comedy, is certainly a good enough excuse for more Angry Birds. To wit, Angry Birds publisher Rovio has released Angry Birds Rio for iPhone, iPad and Android, a game that's a surprisingly capable improvement on the original.

For those who may have resisted the urge to drop 99 cents on a copy of Angry Birds, the dangerously addictive action game involves launching those eponymous ruffled fowls at rickety forts housing green pigs. Launch your bird ammo from a catapult at those swine, enjoy physics-based destruction and strive for higher scores and better bird launching efficiency. It's fast-paced bursts of fun.

Angry Birds Rio doesn't muck with the wildly popular formula, only serving to improve upon it with better visuals, new achievements and more crack-like bird flinging. You'll still control a small arsenal of birds with different skills and attributes. You'll still try to knock down precariously stacked structures for points.

Rio's first level, Smuggler's Den, features not a single pig. Instead, the player must smash through teetering stacks of cages to free his fellow birds from their imprisonment. Later, you'll face monkeys in Jungle Escape, who must be dispatched like the pigs of the original Angry Birds. You'll see cameos from the movie on which the game is very loosely based, but the advertising is rarely thrust into the player's face.

Graphically, the game is much improved, with better detailed, parallax scrolling backgrounds. This is where some of that Angry Birds cash is being spent, it seems. There's little innovation elsewhere, with the exception of some polished, better designed menus.

It's still highly and strangely addictive, causing this impressions post to be very much delayed due to continued "just one more round" self-reasoning.

For your 99 cents, you'll get 60 levels, with the promise of more throughout the year. Players may feel a little gypped when looking at the level select menu, which teases level packs due in May, July, October and November of this year, but for a buck—the HD iPad version runs $2.99 USD—it's a relatively easy purchase.

The Android version is free today through Amazon.

If you've not yet contracted Angry Birds fever, this may be a good place to start.

Angry Birds Rio (Free Version) [iTunes]
Angry Birds Rio HD for iPad (Free Version) [iTunes]