THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2: UNDER PRESSURE VR Review: A Surprising Amount Of Fun!

Well, it has happened, I have improperly judged a game based on its IP. There is no way I thought that The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR could be good. I mean, come on, it’s a licensed game for a movie and series I am not fond of, so there is no way I could like it, right? WRONG! Oh, I was wrong and I am glad to be put in my place for my hasty assumptions. In fact, Angry Birds 2 might just be one of the best couch co-op games to come out in years!

What’s In The Box

Review copy provided by XR Games and Perp Games

Review copy provided by XR Games and Perp Games

The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR has been available digitally on the PlayStation 4 since August 6th, but XR Games, in collaboration with Perp Games, was able to release a physical copy on September 6th, which is the copy we are using for review today! The game comes in a standard PS4/VR case with Leonard and Red taking up a prominent position on the front. Underneath them is a buttload of treasure, which is very representative of what the game is about. 4 more characters stand to either side, and the movie’s giant sub resides in the background. The underwater theme is also portrayed well with tons of bubbles and light shafts from the sun.

The spine of the case maintains this underwater theme and so does the back, where more info on the game is displayed. A couple of screenshots show what the game looks like for the player using the PSVR headset and for the 3 players on TV. Below, we can see the typical PSVR requirements and other game requirements. Opening the case we are greeted by The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR Blu-ray disk. No other inserts or artwork are found with this release. Overall a very nice package, and at $34.99, pretty reasonably priced for what you get compared to the standard $29.99 digital release. Physical copies of the title are currently on sale at retailers like Amazon (affiliate link), Best Buy, GameStop, and Target if you are thinking of picking one up for yourself.

Story

Birds and Pigs need to work together to get to Eagle Island and deal with a new threat to their own islands. But, on the way there, no one said they couldn’t treasure hunt! Utilizing a mini-submarine, Leonard enlists the help of Red and others to scrounge up as much treasure as possible. Can they make it back in one piece, or will the treasure hunt be the crews undoing?

Gameplay

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The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR, as stated earlier, might be one of the best couch co-op games to have come out in years. One player assumes the role of Leonard and dons the captain's VR headset to control the Magnashot, a powerful tool that can grab and throw almost everything around the sub, including the three potential deckhands you have playing with you. Both sets of players are treated to a different viewpoint on the action. The captain sees everything from a first-person view, utilizing the PSVR headset while the 3 other players are given a top-down view of the action. 

The goal of the game is simple enough: all players must work together to gather as much treasure as possible during a timed level sequence. To get treasure, a plunger must be constructed and placed on a launchpad. To make a plunger, a green and blue box must be placed in an ammo creator. Both the captain and deckhands can spawn the blue and green boxes, but only the deckhands can place them into the ammo creator. And this is when the game’s deeper strategy starts to shine through... As captain, you can spawn and throw boxes towards the ammo creator to help expedite ammo creation and keep your deckhands from having to run around too much. Plungers are the key to success, so having a good supply is essential. Once you have plungers loaded, the captain can fire them at treasure chests and draw them into the ship with rapid presses of the Cross button. Once the treasure is on the ship, it must be placed into a holding area to receive points.

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Of course, as the game progresses, more obstacles get thrown into the mix that will have everyone running around like a headless chicken! For one, the ammo creator and launchers will have durability, and can easily break if not maintained by deckhands. Rapid presses of Square will fix them right up, so no worries! The bigger problems start to occur when TNT is dropped off in your sub when you pick up a treasure. TNT only has 10 seconds before it explodes, damaging your sub and destroying anything around it, including launchers, ammo creator and even treasure! Bye-bye points… Your sub only has a certain amount of life, so if too many TNT detonations occur, it is game over. To get rid of TNT safely, it must be deposited in a furnace and burned. Another important aspect of gameplay is revealed here because the captain can’t pick up TNT with the Magnashot, or else it will detonate instantly. This gives deckhands yet another key responsibility to keep track of on top of the repairs and ammo creation.

The captain's inability to move explosives shows up again in later levels when you need to start loading torpedoes into your launchers to deal with other “obstacles” outside of the sub. If you haven’t noticed the pattern yet, it is up to the deckhands to keep a torpedo loaded at all times. So if the deckhands need to do all this stuff what exactly does the captain do besides grab treasure? Well, they can help expedite things like I briefly touched on earlier for ammo creation. The captain can place collected treasures into the holding area, and remove garbage blocks created by the ammo creator or from collected treasure chests. If need be, the captain can also pick up a deckhand and toss them to the other side of the sub quickly. Then, of course, there is dealing with “obstacles” using the torpedoes.

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After each level ends, you are scored based on the number of treasures you collect. Depending on your score, you will receive a 1 - 3-star rating. Getting all 3 stars on a mission is much harder than it would initially seem, thanks to the number of things always happening in-game. There are ways to gain additional points though, like upgrading the treasures you collect. After a few missions, you get a treasure compactor that can turn two basic bronze treasures into an upgraded silver treasure, worth more points! A gold treasure will also become available to further unlock more points as you progress.

The game is playable in both single-player and multiplayer, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it in single-player personally. Multiplayer was a blast and gave me a chance to enlist my 6 and 4-year-old kids to be my deckhands and thus the chaos began! After a couple of rounds they had picked up the basics on how to play, but it was so much more fun to jump into the furnace with a bomb to watch their chosen character be blasted sky high. As such we never got higher than a 1-star rating on the missions we completed, but that’s ok, it was fun all the same. My boy losing his mind laughing at being picked up by the Magnashot is a total joy to see and I am glad we have more things we can play together!

Replayability

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As I previously stated, the game can be difficult to get 3-star ratings on, so for anyone looking to 100% the game, be prepared for a grind with friends who are willing to help you out. There are also various unlockable hats you can earn to let you customize your chosen deckhands a bit more. There is also the novelty of busting The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR out at any social gathering and seeing how out of control things get from there!

What It Could Have Done Better

About the only thing I wish was different about The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR, was how quickly it got more difficult. I am loving playing this game with my kids but they are having trouble keeping up with things starting around level 4. It would have been nice to have the main story be a bit easier to enjoy with them and then have the remaining 20 levels in other modes be more challenge-based.

Verdict

For a movie tie-in that I expected nothing out of, I got far more than I bargained for. The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR is a fun multiplayer experience that you can play with nearly anyone! It gets a little too hard too fast but the chaos that ensues trying to beat it is always a hoot. I expect to be playing this game every day after school and homework for a number of weeks to come. If you have kids, or an active local player gaming group, The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure VR is a worthy addition to any game night!