If you're one of the many thousands of iOS device owners who's become thoroughly addicted to bombarding kleptomaniac pigs with psychotic birds, it means two things.
First, you're a person of good taste;
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Luckily, when you've exhausted Angry Birds by three-starring every level, there are similar games on the App Store, along with titles more squarely positioned as artillery shooters or precision physics puzzlers with a decidedly destructive bent.
Crazy Penguin Catapult 2 (59p) transfers simplified Angry Birds-style proceedings to snowier climes. For reasons best known to them, a group of evil polar bears (who never reveal their dastardly plan's purpose – they've watched far too many James Bond movies to fall for that trick) have travelled south to the Antarctic and locked the resident penguins in cages.
Your task is to catapult a crack squad of valiant, heroic penguins at the polar bears to oust them from Antarctica forever. If we're honest, the game's a bit short and lacks the polish of Angry Birds, but the main Campaign mode nonetheless boasts 50 fun levels. There's also a small selection of power-ups, and a similar sense of oddball humour to Rovio's game. (Whatever you do, though, avoid the dreadful Strategy-lite Strategy mode.)
Another game in the Angry Birds mould is Fragger (59p), although instead of attacking pigs you appear to be lobbing grenades at cartoon insurgents. Despite the slightly questionable theme (they might as well have gone the whole hog and branded the game 'Angry Anti-Terrorist Squad') and the fact it sometimes requires an annoying level of precision, there's plenty of content in Fragger.
If you prefer more cerebral games, you'll find the puzzle element in Fragger is often stronger than that of Angry Birds, with later levels requiring a great deal of planning to solve. Oddly, when you get some way into the game, the hero leaves our world behind to blow up the residents of an alien planet, although what Mr Psycho With Grenades has against a bunch of one-eyed green extraterrestrials isn't entirely clear.
Back down to Earth, and Castle Smasher (59p) from the ever-reliable Donut Games provides a suitably medieval take on the Angry Birds formula. Your task is to hurl boulders at enemy castles, cunningly aiming to conquer kingdoms with your trusty catapult. You must also protect your gallant guards, who fend off enemy knights that manage to survive your onslaught and come looking for revenge.
For 59p you get three different game modes: a 50-level challenge, where, like Angry Birds, you get up to three stars when a level is completed based on your score; a quickfire arcade mode; and an endless Target Practice mode with randomly generated levels. While the mechanics of the game are simpler than Angry Birds', Castle Smasher offers a similar level of polish and is both addictive and fun.
If you were to hold a medieval boulder to our heads and demand to know which single game we'd follow up Angry Birds with, it'd be this one. (Although, in reality, we'd probably pause to think for a bit, in the hope you'd get tired holding the boulder.)
If you revel more in the 'blowing stuff up' side of Angry Birds than the 'flinging things at other things' component, investigate Implode XL (£1.79, universal). Iugo's game does away with projectile weaponry, instead providing you with a small pile of explosives with which to blow up a building. The aim in each case is to end up with the lowest possible pile of rubble – lower piles get you higher scores and better grades.
The graphics are presented in a rather fetching blueprint style, and while Implode XL's a bit on the easy side and lacks replay value, it's still a decent purchase. There's also a level editor to create your own structures to demolish.
Should you prefer something with a bit more character, Worms 2: Armageddon (£2.99) is a good bet. If you've been around the videogaming block a few times, so to speak, you'll be familiar with Team 17's turn-based artillery shooter.
Rather than attacking structures, the game has you aiming for opponents using the kind of deadly weaponry not usually afforded to wriggly garden creatures. On iOS, the flavour of the long-running series is largely retained, with plenty of great looking destructible terrain, bantering worms and high-end, sometimes surreal, ordnance (Banana Bomb! Holy Hand Grenade!).
The controls are sometimes a bit fiddly, but the ability to battle friends over Bluetooth or to play online over Wi-Fi makes it near-irresistible.
Similarly cute and enjoyable, if rather more sedate, iBlast Moki (£1.79, or £2.39 for the iPad specific 'HD' version) might lack the notoriety and pedigree of Worms, but it more than matches the veteran in terms of playability.
On first playing iBlast Moki, you might wonder why we're recommending it to fans of Angry Birds, but the fundamentals of the game are actually quite similar. However, rather than flinging living weapons around via the Catapult Express, iBlast Moki instead tasks you with carefully laying bombs to blast your Mokis (small, grinning, blob-like creatures that seemingly aren't too fussed about their mode of transportation) towards a target in order to complete each level.
iBlast Moki is a gorgeous game. The organic graphics are reminiscent of Rolando, the physics model is robust enough that minor changes in bomb positioning make a difference and there are 85 levels over seven different worlds to keep you engrossed.
Finally, you could try the wonderful Orbital (£1.79). Although far more visually abstract than Angry Birds, there's a link in the sense that Orbital is a precision shooter that uses a tight physics model to encourage knock-on effects that induce explosive destruction.
The game is much simpler than Angry Birds, though: you shoot orbs into a grid, which then expand until they touch a wall or another orb. Each one that's stopped contains a number, and your job is to decrease to zero by hitting it with more orbs. The catch is you must never let the built-up orbs cross your 'death line' or it's game over.
Orbital boasts three modes that have unique rules – Supernova is best, providing precise control over the cannon and exciting chain-reaction explosions. The game also provides alltime and 24-hour leaderboards, along with Facebook connectivity, so you can see how you fare against your friends.
Mind you, the ultimate alternative could be Cut the Rope (59p).
First published in Tap! Issue 1
Liked this? Then check out Tap! magazine for more apps, games and kit reviews for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
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