Magic Leap One, the long-awaited AR reality headset, finally launched last month, and a month later, it is getting its first major content in the form of a hugely popular mobile game: Angry Birds FPS (First Person Slingshot).
Magic Leap One gets Angry Birds
The Magic Leap One, the AR gadget whose maker claims it will revolutionize users’ media experience, comes with a hefty price tag of $2,300. The company is counting on developers to make it enjoyable for everyday users, even at such a high price tag, and the addition of Angry Birds seems to be a good start.
Angry Birds developer Rovio recently announced that it’s bringing its most-popular game franchise to the Magic Leap One. Rovio collaborated with Resolution Games to make the game compatible with AR.
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Angry Birds FPS retains the same feel as the original game, but instead of swiping from left to right to send the birds flying, you will now be using a virtual slingshot to shoot them at the green pigs and their fortress. The game is played from a first-person perspective in a three-dimensional environment, and it’s in a real-world setting.
Rovio Entertainment and Resolution Games have been busy providing demos of the game to tech journalists and experts. Based on what we hear so far, the game plays like any other version of Angry Birds, which debuted in 2009 and has since been downloaded 4 billion times.
Magic Leap One and Angry Birds FPS = pure fun
With Angry Birds FPS, you get a see-through augmented reality effect with 3D spatial gameplay. The game allows you to place the fortress of blocks with green pigs in the real world and walk around it. After you have set your target, you just press the one-button controller to pull back the virtual slingshot.
You can take your time aiming the slingshot. After you pull it back, the bird in the slingshot will look back at you, while the pig you are targeting will start trembling in fear. After you let the button go, the bird shoots at the target, knocking it down. You also hear the same chirping and grunting sounds as those you hear in the mobile versions of the game, making it much more fun.
When the blocks fall, they reflect the landscape and physics of the real world. For instance, if the setup is on a table, a few blocks will drop on the real table, while those few closer to the edges will fall to the floor.
“The original game is based on a physics model, which is a natural fit with this. It is very similar to the original, with the added gameplay of three dimensions. It’s not only a tech demo. It’s fun to play,” Rovio Creative Director Sami Ronkainen said in an interview with GamesBeat.
Though Angry Birds FPS feels like the original title, the developer has added a few special effects to increase the AR effect. For example, if you go to the other side of the setup, the remaining birds will quickly move to stand in front of you. Additionally, if you move close to any of the pigs, you will be able to hear their verbal taunt.
One limitation of the game is that it is a single-player experience. There is also no way for your friends to know what’s happening on the screen. One can expect Magic Leap to overcome such limitations going ahead, but it is important that the company keep users in the loop regarding their future plans for such features.
Nevertheless, Angry Birds FPS on the Magic Leap One looks like pure fun, although the sad part is that it won’t be available to most of the mobile audience. Only a few have the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, thanks to its extremely high price tag of $2,295. Additionally, it is only available in the U.S. and started shipping just last month.
However, Magic Leap will see Angry Birds FPS as an initial investment to popularize mixed reality and its headset. The company will be hoping that this investment will pay off in the future when the technology is more widely available.
Though there is no specific release date yet for Angry Birds FPS, Rovio says the game will be available before or in time for Magic Leap’s first developer conference in Los Angeles. The conference is scheduled for Oct. 9-10. Meanwhile, Rovio is also considering making Angry Birds FPS available to more users via a standard app which will use the mobile AR framework.