It’s terrible to be producing a review of a seasonal app out of season, but the good thing about seasons is that there is always another just around the corner, so here we go.

More chaos is to be had with the latest version of Angry Birds, It’s a lot of the same gameplay we have come to expect but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. Rovio’s latest outing (now self-published) is consistently a fun and engaging romp through the deluded world of Angry Birds. The quirkiness of the characters in this installment shines ahead of the normal experience with the holidays giving way to some of the best looking levels yet.

Let’s get it out of the way, Angry Birds Seasons is more of the same, if you didn’t like the original Angry Birds it’s highly unlikely this will change anything. Now if you loved the original, then this is the perfect way to spend a dollar this Christmas season. Angry Birds is just a tower destruction game like many others, but it shine’s because of its character and there is no were better to see this than in Angry Birds Seasons. You are given a collection of crazy birds each with their own unique way of dealing with the pigs, lean green egg stealing machines determined to rob the birds’ precious eggs. The Pigs, like the birds, come in a bizarre array of flavors. The difference to the birds is negligible for the season’s app, but the pigs get special items and deco to mark the occasion.

The Seasons app currently consists of two packages, Angry Birds Halloween and a new collection of Christmas themed levels. The Halloween pack is Angry Birds twisted take on the October nightmares, levels are sets against a pumpkin orange wasteland dotted with black crooked trees that look a bit like weeping willows. Platforms are made of dark rock usually shaped to resemble the nightmares associated with Halloween such as pumpkins and bats. With the Halloween pack, each level opens with the usual chatter of birds, but they are joined by the howl of a wolf. It’s all a nice way to differentiate the game, but still feels completely in sync with the normal Angry Birds experience you’ve come to expect.

On the festive side, we get a winter wonderland full of character and craziness. Levels are brilliant, beautifully complex designs with falling snow, big evergreens and igloo like structures. The game has its own look and feel when compared to the Angry Birds of Christmas past and it really does help to make this a fresh experience. It all just meshes nicely from the superb character designs, to the stunning backgrounds and with all the original sounds intact, nothing is spared with presentation.

The game gets some new soundtracks to boot with a creepy version of the original theme and a jolly yuletide beat for the Christmas edition. Individual levels don’t have a soundtrack, but there is constant arctic breeze flowing in the winter levels, something which is sorely lacking in Angry Birds.

If for some reason you have no idea what Angry Birds is or how to play, then feel free to read our review of the original Angry Birds as it’s probably better to start with the original over Seasons as it offers many more levels and gives you a much more gradual introduction. With Angry Birds Seasons you’re thrown straight into the mix with all the birds and very little time to master them. The only real difference in game play is the new items available to gather points; Pumpkins offer up bonus points in the Halloween levels and the Christmas levels presents…well presents! They don’t really affect how you play, but it’s nice to have some new items included. Armor-,wise pigs will be wearing pumpkin lids, whole pumpkins and Christmas hats to mark these special occasions.

From a difficulty stand point Angry Birds Seasons is hard, sometimes REALLY hard! Compared to the original game, Seasons blows it away it terms of complexity and thought. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a level of luck involved, but it is a lot more precise now and if you want them top scores you’ll have to be accurate. For anyone who thought the original game was too easy Angry Birds Seasons is for you, it provides a balanced mix of the available birds in each level and gives plenty opportunities to conquer a level your way unlike the original with some of its levels forcing you to perform in a certain way. In terms of unlocking new levels, we are given two choices here, with Halloween levels it’s a case of succeed and be rewarded with more levels, but on the Christmas side we are given an advent calendar. Each day will allow you to unlock a new level, each more difficult than the last. Individual levels have a star rating up to 3, which is accompanied by a high score. You are fighting for leaderboard scores here, with full Game Center and Crystal support, so you have a lot of people to fight it out with.

There doesn’t seem to be any glitches with this rendition and we can assume the physics are realistic without testing what happens when birds are truly fired at pigs. If ROVIO continues to support this as the place for special themes and levels then we have a lot of potential for growth. As it stands you are getting a decent amount of time and fun for the cost. It isn’t as content heavy as the original but it is certainly a game worthy of a separate app and cost. Although, with a name change from Angy Birds Halloween to Angry Birds Seasons, and a proven track record of lots of free updates to the original Angry Birds, you can probably expect Angry Birds Seasons to be well supported by ROVIO Mobile in the future.

In Conclusion

Fans of games like the original Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Trucks and Skulls should check this out. You are guaranteed to have fun smashing the green oafs, and it’s hard not to love the birds. If you can’t spare 99¢ then you are missing out on a great Christmas treat.