Angry Birds Heikki Webgame Launched for F1 Racing Fans

By Anu Passary , Jun 26, 2012 02:54 PM EDT
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After several months of anticipation and waiting, gamers all over the world can finally rejoice. Finnish game developer Rovio is spreading much cheer with the launch of its eagerly awaited Angry Birds Heikki game.

Angry Birds Heikki, the latest webgame offering from the Rovio stable is in conjunction with Finnish F1 racing driver Heikki Kovalainen, whom Rovio sponsors. Since the sponsorship, Kovalin has been seen endorsing Angry Birds-themed gear and finance gurus opine that the game is a step towards capitalizing on this developing partnership.

Angry Birds Heikki is a flash-based game, which revolves around a racing theme and has 12 tracks or levels. The mechanics of the game remain unchanged, however, with players having to catapult multi-colored birds with special powers from a slingshot and downing obstacles in a bid to retrieve the birds' stolen eggs from the pigs. With the F1 racing course serving as its backdrop, this version of Angry Birds has several gimmicks up its sleeve to entice the gamer. Subtle nuances drive this version, which is complete with speeding car engine sounds, layers of tires strewn around, and your favorite red bird sporting a helmet, post a power up!

Furious feather fans can also look forward to competing on several circuits as the game follows the F1 racing season. The game can be found on heikki.angrybirds.com. Users simply need to register to gain access to the virtual F1 championship world with a twist. Once registered, users will gain access to the level which corresponds to the current race. Presently, it is Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. Access to the next level will be during the German Grand Prix and so forth till the season end in Sao Paolo in November this year. Additionally, the novel tie-in with the Finnish F1 racer gives gamers the opportunity to acquire special codes for Heikki powerups (called Heikki Power) upon visiting Kovalainen's official Facebook fan page.

Given the popularity of Angry Birds, it is no surprise that the download figures for the entire franchise are nearing one billion. However, critics concur that in this age of instant gratification, the season-based format is a major drawback. Fans have to wait for the next circuit before they can move on to the next level, which can be frustrating. Also, the game is restrictive and has stuck to the tried and tested formulae instead of capitalizing on the available social elements, which could have possibly made the game more interactive. However, the strongest criticism is that the game is merely a branding exercise, an afterthought, and an attempt at riding pillion on the Kovalainen partnership.

After a successful launch of Angry Birds Space in April 2012, the newest offering from Rovio is in many ways a first for the company on several counts. It will perhaps form the basis for future branding tie-ups of a similar nature, giving a further fillip to the Angry Birds brand. Moreover, with the firm planning on opening Angry Birds "activity parks" and retail stores in China, the future looks promising for the franchise and has success written all over it.

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