As expected, Finnish game developer company Rovio today announced Angry Birds for Facebook. Actually, the game has launched a day early: the Facebook Event titled "Angry Birds coming to Facebook!" is still scheduled for between 6:00 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST on Valentine's Day (tomorrow). You can play it now over at apps.facebook.com/angrybirds/. By the way, the game has known issues on Internet Explorer 8 and earlier browsers on certain systems, but Rovio says it is working on fixing them.
Angry Birds has been expected to arrive on Facebook for almost a year. Back in March 2011, a rumor suggested the Facebook edition will be more "collaborative" and have "new aspects" that "just haven't been experienced in any other platform." Furthermore, "the pigs will have a more prominent role."
Now, we're being told the game has "new, enhanced special effects like lighting, smoke and explosions" and offers "amazing new power-ups like Sling Scope, Birdquake, King Sling, and Super Seed." The game is free, but those four new powerups will cost you $1 for 20 uses. Here's the official description from Rovio (and corresponding YouTube links for each of the new powerups):
In addition to the Mighty Eagle, we have great new power-ups to help you pop even the peskiest piggy. In Angry Birds Facebook, you have the opportunity to earn power-ups by playing the game, receiving them as a “mystery gift” from a friend, or purchasing them. To begin, there are four amazing power-ups available:
Sling Scope - Looking for the perfect shot? Use Sling Scope laser targeting for pinpoint precision!
King Sling - Fling your birds with style AND speed. Upgrade to the almighty King Sling for maximum power and velocity!
Super Seeds - Supersize your bird! Super Seeds turn any bird into a pig-popping giant.
Birdquake - Rattle the battle! Use the Birdquake to bring pigs’ defenses crashing to the ground!
You get the first power-ups free, but more uses will cost you. This is a smart move on Rovio's part: instead of charging a one-time fee for the purchase of Angry Birds, the company could potentially make much more money per Facebook user, assuming enough of them are willing to pay for the virtual items in the game.
You can earn coveted gold, silver, and bronze crowns for the top three scores in any level. As for social-specific features, you're either going to love them or hate them. Through the game's sidebar, you can see high scores of friends, brag about them, and invite others to compete against them. You can also send power-up gifts to friends that appear as Facebook notifications. Like I said, you'll either love sending them, or you'll hate getting them.
The game uses Flash Player 11 with support for 3D graphics. Adobe refers to it as "the most social version of Angry Birds yet" that "takes advantage of hardware accelerated graphics in Flash Player to bring a silky smooth gaming experience to a wider audience than ever before."
Before Facebook, Angry Birds was released on the following platforms: iOS, Microsoft Windows, Symbian, Mac OS X, Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, Windows Phone, WebOS, Maemo, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, WebGL, and Google Chrome. Rovio has delayed the Facebook game many times, in part because it still wanted to tweak things but also because it just wanted to build a bigger following on the platform before launch.
The game's Facebook Page has over 15.4 million Likes. The number is likely to explode as Facebook users who have never played the game (like myself) start playing the game (I probably won't).