Every so often something comes along that you just can’t resist taking on to review. The latest temptress comes in the form of a gorgeous 160-odd page coffee table book covering one of the most incredible gaming successes in recent times: Angry Birds. Hatching a Universe looks at the entire series of Angry Birds games, taking you way back to how the original idea came to light, through development and design and all the way up to the most recent games in the series with Angry Birds Star Wars. Totally devoid of screenshots or any kind of ego-massaging, even I was surprised with just how high the quality was throughout.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise really – the guys who have come up with these games are intent on flawless design, ticking boxes on the finer points in order to make sure their products are as amazing as possible. The contents of Hatching a Universe include sketches, cartoon strips, designs of stages and the world they’re from as well as a host of other goodies. Another nice touch comes with the attached extras dotted through the book – alongside several other goodies, sets of stickers (that are actually quite cool and retro-looking in parts), postcards and cut-out card nets of the birds for you to pop out and turn into throwable cubes are all present and correct, each one bring an “oooooh, aaaaaah” as you find your latest hidden extra.
On top of all this are your staff pieces, places where the guys behind the games explain some behind the scenes magic or share stories about how certain games, levels or characters came to exist. Some of this is genuinely fascinating stuff, giving an insight into just how much time and effort has gone into making the series so successful and enjoyed by so many. Those who assumed it was a simple game that had probably been knocked together in a few days will certainly find a lot to learn.
But this is, essentially, an art book. It’s a book to leave strategically hanging around when a few friends come over. This is unlike the art books we’ve seen recently with things like Dead Space and Halo which need a certain type of gamer to appreciate them – everyone knows what Angry Birds is, everyone recognises the characters, and pretty much everyone will reach for the book and flick through it. And chances are, when they do, everyone will learn something new each time.
I’ve taken a few photos which you can see on this page, and they do far more to explain the beauty of Hatching a Universe than I ever could using these word things. But even being a touch under £30 (which might widen a few eyes) it’s good value for money, and if you’re the kind of person who can’t sit still for 5 minutes without reaching for your nearest version of Angry Birds then you’d be a bit crazy to leave this on the shelf. An extremely impressive offering, and one I’ll certainly be showing it off whenever the opportunity arises.
Published by Titan Books (EU)
Release Date: 24th may 2013
Buy Now at Amazon