The similarities between Angry Birds and Everplay’s Mad Cows is undeniable, same game mechanics, nearly identical weapons.

Stop me if this sounds familiar…players use a giant slingshot to fire living projectiles at structures to destroy both them and their inhabitants. However, instead of birds, Mad Cows uses a variety of farm animals as its munitions, each with their own unique properties.

At your disposal are:

  • The cow (red bird) – a straight shooter with a a brute force attack, he can be tapped before impact for an extra 200 point bonus.
  • The chicken (white bird) – in mid-air you can tap him and he’ll drop his destructive egg-shaped payload and veer off in a direction.
  • The goat (yellow bird) – tap him mid-air and he’ll jettison off in the current trajectory, delivering a powerful attack.
  • The sheep (black bird) – offers a delayed attack, fire him off and then tap on the screen to explode.
  • The bunny (blue bird) – these guys like to multiply like well…err…bunnies. Tap the screen and you’ll instantly get triple the fire power as the bunny splits into three units.
  • The pig (an original) – on first impact, this little stinker delivers a deadly cloud of toxic gas that takes out the farmers unlucky enough to be downwind.

The pig is a neat addition and I would have liked to see more creativity in the characters like this, instead of merely copying what Angry Birds has already done. Instead of green pigs, it seems these animals are being oppressed by sombrero wearing farmers (who unintentionally look a lot like Mexicans).

The game features 60 single player stages, each of which focuses solely around a single animal type. Just as in Angry Birds, you are trying to earn three stars on each level, but instead of a lineup of varied ammunition, in each level you only have a single “bullet” type. If you can eliminate all the farmers in one shot you get three-stars, two shots, two-stars, any more than that, one-star.

While sixty levels may sound like a lot, getting three stars in all sixty levels can easily be done in less than an hour in one sitting or between multiplayer turns. A couple of the levels did require more precise timing, and took a few attempts, but overall these levels are FAR TOO EASY and earning three stars on your first attempt is a common occurrence. In the end, the single-player campaign felt like nothing more than an extended tutorial, which might be fine if this was actually new concept, but at this point I’d venture to guess that everyone is quite familiar with this game play mechanic. I really wish Everplay had put more thought into these levels and made them a lot more challenging, or just completely left out the disappointing single-player campaign.

If all the game had to offer was the single-player mode, this would be a MUCH lower scoring review, fortunately, there’s a brilliant MULTIPLAYER mode!

Who would have thought that a multiplayer version of Angry Birds could be so much fun?! Once you play it, you’ll ask yourself, why didn’t Rovio think of this?

It is obvious that Everplay knows that this is the real draw of the game, even going as far as to use a capture from the multiplayer mode in the screenshot advertising the “60 single player missions”.

The multiplayer mode makes flawless use of Game Center’s native turn-based, asynchronous multiplayer API, allowing you to challenge friends or complete strangers to match-ups and take your turn whenever you have time. Your choice of weapon is randomly determined via a series of three slot machine-like spinning wheels (though there is no special payout for matching all three). The way it works is that each player is presented with the same landscape of structures and farmers, just mirrored. Then they take turns firing at their set of structures, trying to eliminate all of the farmers and wreak the greatest amount of destruction possible to earn a higher score than their opponent. The match ends once one player eliminates all of the farmers on their side of the battlefield. At this point, if the current rotation hasn’t completed, the opponent gets one final chance to try to earn points and the one with the higher score wins.

The back and forth messaging of when it’s your turn worked perfectly. There is also a nice animated help screen that can be accessed at any time to remind you which animal equates to which (angry) bird. Having started a number of multiplayer games, one issue I’ve had is with opponents who, for whatever reason, just stop taking their turns. There needs to be a time limit and after a week or a few days of inactivity, automatically have the inactive party forfeit the match. Thoughn this is a common problem with turn-based multiplayer games.

In Conclusion

On the surface Mad Cows may look like just the latest uninspired Angry Birds clone, with nothing new to offer than a new skin, but that’s certainly not the case. That being said, you should not buy this game expecting a single-player campaign that is on par with any title in the Angry Birds franchise, because quite honestly, Mad Cows falls far short in this area. Mad Cows is really all about the iterative, yet innovative multiplayer game play and brilliant use of Game Center’s native asynchronous game play. While I wish that the game offered a more well-rounded experience, for both the local and online components, the multiplayer mode does a very nice job of making up for the single-player campaign’s shortcomings. A new, yet familiar and entertaining way to challenge your friends, this head to head animal flinging mayhem is the reason Mad Cows will sticking around on my iDevices for quite some time