App type: Game
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release date: June 27, 2011
Price: $2.99
Download Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7

There are two ways to view the belated release of Angry Birds on Windows Phone 7 this week. There's the cynical view, in which critics will point out that this game debuted on the iPhone way back in December 2009, now costs just 99 cents on that platform, and has been followed up there by two sequels, one of which is getting updated for free on an ongoing basis. And then there's the eternal optimist who only sees this release as a cause for celebration and the final verification that the Windows Phone apps platform has fully matured.

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Both viewpoints are valid. And while I tend to lean a bit more towards the negative side of the fence, in this case I am firmly in the positive camp: Angry Birds on Windows Phone isn't just a good thing, it's a great thing. And in the off chance that you're not already an Angry Birds fanatic, you're going to want to grab this game immediately. In fact, you'll probably want it even if you've already played it elsewhere. It really is that good.

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Angry Birds, in case you've been living under a rock for the past 18 months, is the game that legitimatized mobile touch gaming, making it a full-fledged phenomenon, first on the iPhone, yes, but later on every mobile platform imaginable. (You can also get Angry Birds on Windows 7, remember, or for free through the Chrome web browser.) It's basically a physics-based puzzle game in which you must use an onscreen slingshot to hurl a variety of birds, each with different characteristics and capabilities, towards an increasingly complex series of strongholds that hide and protect the birds' arch enemies, the pigs. You solve a level by killing all the pigs, often via destroying and collapsing the structures on top of them.

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Angry Birds is addictive, funny, and fun, and it's hard to put down. And it's been augmented over time with additional levels, new goals (such as the golden egg), and, on other platforms at least, even a formal method of "cheating" and bypassing too-hard levels via a "golden eagle" attack that brings the concept of "shock and awe" to the land of Angry Birds.

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On Windows Phone 7, of course, we benefit from the ongoing improvements to Angry Birds over the months and by the addition of real Xbox LIVE Achievements. For many, this alone will be reason to check out Angry Birds. But the truth is, this game has always been clever, fun, and addictive. And it's the first no-brainer, must-have game for all Windows Phone 7 users. Hopefully, Angry Birds sequels, like Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio, will make their way to Microsoft's mobile gaming platform soon. But for now, at least, the original is enough. Enjoy!