Angry Birds: The All-Purpose Guide to Three Stars [Part 2]

[Be sure to see Part 1 of our Angry Birds Guide, too]

In this second part of my Angry Birds guide, I offer specific examples of how to achieve three-star success, along with numerous screenshots to help you see how it’s all done. The examples all come from Angry Birds Seasons.

Using trick shots. In Part 1, I recommended experimenting with unusual shots. The path to three-star success will often involve using a particular bird in a counter-intuitive way. Here are three examples:

Yellow bird trick. If you send the yellow bird in a near vertical arc and tap the screen while it is still ascending, it will continue its upward ascent much higher than it otherwise would. Normally, this is not a good idea as the bird will leave the field of play entirely. However, with a high enough arc, it eventually drops back down to where it can do damage. In a few cases, I have found this leads to more damage than I could otherwise attain from the bird.

White bird trick. Normally, the primary damage from the white bird is achieved via its egg bomb. However, after you release the egg, the white bird takes off upward at a very high acceleration, capable of significant damage. In level 2-13 of Seasons’ Trick or Treat, I used this attribute to have the bird, rather than the egg, do damage.

The white bird was first up. I fired the bird toward the ground right in front of the slingshot. Just before reaching bottom, I tapped the screen to drop the egg bomb. While the egg did no damage at all, the bird took off and hit the nearby column to the right, destroying it. This exposed the remaining blocks and pigs to a left-to-right shot. I was able to eliminate all the pigs and get a three-star score with one more bird.

You can see the before and after of the white bird’s damage in the first two figures below. The dotted line in the second figure shows the trajectory of the white bird. The puff shows where I released the egg.

Boomerang bird trick. With the boomerang bird, you normally send it over and past where you want to attack, then tap the screen to get the bird to reverse course at a higher speed. Occasionally, I have had greater success by allowing the bird to hit in its forward direction, abandoning the boomerang effect.

I used this trick in level 1-15 of Trick or Treat. Again, the boomerang bird was first up. You can see the damage resulting from the forward shot in the figures below. Again, this was the first step to a three-star score.

You can sometimes effectively use a similar idea with the white bird, never tapping to drop its egg.

Bypassing the unused bird bonus. In Part 1, I noted that you could occasionally get a better score by not trying to use the least amount of birds. Level 1-14 of Season’s Greedings is an example. On this level, you have three black “bomb” birds. I found several ways to eliminate all the pigs with just two of the birds, getting a 10,000 point bonus for the unused bird. However, these wins never gave me three stars.

The path to three-star victory required that I use all three birds. The result is seen in the following three figures, concluding with a new three-star high score of 105,610.

The first shot went to the lower front area, clearing out all the pigs on the left side. The second shot (not shown here) went higher up, clearing out the remainder of the left side blocks. The third and final shot arced high and attacked close to the location of the red-and-gold gift package (which may be gone by this point), penetrating lower before it explodes. This eliminated the remaining pigs on the right.

Planning a multi-shot strategy. In Part 1, I emphasized the importance of planning out a multi-shot strategy. On level 3-13 of Trick or Treat, I was able to get a three-star score by developing and executing such a plan. I used only three of the available six birds.

In the first two of the figures below, you see the effect of the initial red bird shot. This was a difficult shot for me. I had to try it as many as a dozen times to get off a shot that “worked.” In an exception to a general guideline, I considered the red bird shot a success despite doing very little damage. Why? Because the damage it did was critical, exposing a now-attackable thin wood wall on the left.

With my second shot, I sent the yellow bird straight for the newly exposed wall, breaking through it and eventually exploding the interior TNT. This resulted in the field as seen in the third figure.

Lastly, I took a high arcing shot, aiming for the pig with the helmut. Hitting the target led the structure to the right to collapse, destroying the remaining pigs and winding up with a new high score of 114770 (as seen in the final figures).

Combo 1

Combo 3

Combo 4

Combo 5

I can’t say for sure that this sequence is the only way, or even the best way, to achieve a three-star score on this level. But it’s the way I found. You may discover a superior solution. Great! That’s how you work your way up the leaderboard.

Gotta go. Today’s new level of Season’s Greedings awaits.

[Be sure to see Part 1 of our Angry Birds Guide, too]

Update (January 4, 2010):

Magic Spots. To learn about the super-high scores possible via “magic spots” in Angry Birds Seasons Greedings, see my entry posted at Slanted Viewpoint.

Game data transfers. To learn how to transfer your Angry Birds high scores from the iPhone version to iPad version (or vice versa), check out my prior UFV column on syncing game data. I have since determined that the key file needed to transfer (probably the only one needed) is highscores.lua. Also, you no longer need to jailbreak your iOS devices to accomplish these transfers. Mac utilities such as PhoneView and iPhone Explorer provide the needed access to your apps on any iOS device, even identifying each app by name (rather than in hexcode). Chris Breen has a helpful article describing the current state of the art.