Angry Farm has been generating a lot of buzz lately, mostly because BlackBerry users have been craving their own version of one of the most popular mobile games ever made. The game’s addictive and fun gameplay, as well as its creative use of a touchscreen, put it a notch above the rest. A lot of users are probably curious about what it’s like, especially considering the $4.99 pricetag with no trial.
Some of the App World reviews of Angry Farm are pretty harsh, comparing it to the iOS version in terms of physics and responsiveness. While I have played Angry Birds for the iPhone, I played a polished version and can’t speak to the very first version they launched. It’s important to remember that in the app business, it’s not uncommon to launch first, churn and update your product until it’s totally polished. It’s a Guy Kawasaki approach to app development and while it may bother some users, I think it’s more important to rush a product to market so you have the dollars to improve it. We know the guys at Smarter Apps and they’re good at what they do. They’ll surely keep an eye on this product and update. Also, they have explicitly promised “free upgrades to all existing customers forever.”
Here are a few things I would like to see in the updates to come:
- Sometimes when you clear a level, it doesn’t recognize it and says you failed. To fix this, you need to back out of the level and start again.
- There are times when you load a level and the blocks fall apart. This sometimes works to your advantage and explodes a few targets.
- The touchscreen sometimes results in a miss-fire where you shoot the animal backwards or straight into the ground.
- The game also has a few other unexplained phenomena such as invisible walls and unexpected physics reactions.
- When connecting headphones, the sound often goes haywire. Even after unplugging the headphones, I found the sound can still be damaged until you restart the app entirely.
- The game might sometimes get stuck in a loop at the end of a level if it’s not complete. You’ll have to back out and restart at that point.
- There is a lot of downtime after shooting an animal or finishing a level. You often find yourself staring at the screen and wondering what’s taking it so long. I’ve found that sometimes just continually tapping the screen helps to move things along.
- The loading times could be improved. Even on the Torch it can take around 30 seconds to a minute to enter a level.
- It would also be great to see framrates improved. With smoother gameplay, the levels would be much more enjoyable.
Even before the above fixes and improvements are implemented, the game itself is still worth $5. There are 30 levels included in the first version, and if Smarter Apps is going to take a similar approach to Rovio, we’ll probably see many more to come.
What’s interesting about this app is how bold the company was in entirely cloning the Angry Birds game. Back at the BlackBerry Developer Conference, we heard from some guys at RIM that Rovio was definitely going to port the Angry Birds game to BlackBerry, but it looks like now they’ll have to deal with competing against essentially their own game. Is Angry Farm different enough from the Angry Birds franchise that they’re protected from any legal issues? Probably. Until Rovio decides to come to App World with their own game (which at this point they may not), we’ll have a decent alternative to one of the most popular mobile games ever.