Mike Isaac

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Rovio’s Next Big Game? Angry Birds Star Wars, Redux.

angrybirdsstarwarsRovio Entertainment, the Finnish gaming outfit whose Angry Birds titles have been the runaway hit mobile games of the past four years, announced its latest game on Monday. Surprise, surprise: It’s another Angry Birds game.

It’s a sequel to Angry Birds Star Wars, to be precise, a crossover game based on the mega-popular sci-fi franchise and made in conjunction with Lucasfilm Ltd.; it debuted late last year. You could file the new game, dubbed Angry Birds Star Wars II, under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category — the first Angry Birds Star Wars game has raked in more than 100 million downloads to date.

As with any sequel, it’s hard to avoid some retreading. Yes, it’s another Angry Birds title, which means more bird-slinging and pig-killing. And with the Lucasfilm partnership in play, the game weaves characters and elements from the “Star Wars” universe into the story.

Pretty predictable stuff, especially from a company that has been criticized for leaning heavily on the strength of its Angry Birds series, perhaps unable to top the blockbuster franchise with another non-bird-based hit game.

To avoid too-much-rehash criticism, Rovio is partnering with toy maker Hasbro for a real-world licensing tie-in, incorporating physical toys into the app, as well. Users who buy Hasbro’s on-the-shelf piggies and birds can scan them with their smartphone and tablet cameras and be able to use those physical characters inside the app.

The sequel hits the App Store mid-September, while the space-age birdies are being touted heavily at San Diego Comic-Con all this week.

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