This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.
Portabliss Angry Birds Star Wars HD iPad
I'm not the only one who played Angry Birds, wasn't that impressed, and so avoided the series evermore until the day Angry Birds Star Wars showed up. Admittedly, some of our group only returned to deride this new game's pop-culture union, which represented how big bags of money can lure you to the dark side (again).

Not me, though. As much as I like Star Wars, I've never liked the series that much. As much as I was unimpressed by Angry Birds, I wasn't that unimpressed. So a combination of the two was curious to me, rather than potentially rage-inducing. I figured I didn't have much to lose beyond three bucks and a few hours. Happily, they weren't wasted. Angry Birds Star Wars takes the flinging of birds into pigs, chucks it into space, and dresses it up all force-ified. It's as expected, then, but what's slightly less obvious is the space bit comes from previous entry Angry Birds Space. There's a lot of fun messing around with gravitational physics, and it's a no-brainer that Rovio re-introduced it for Angry Birds Star Wars.

What surprises me is how well thought out the Star Wars additions are. Each character has an ability that's true to its source, but also unique and part of a diverse, interesting arsenal. The one I most enjoyed was Obi Wan Kenobi's Force push. There's a real skill to activating it at the right time and in the right direction to create ultimate havoc. Rovio helpfully includes a few levels with piles of debris just waiting to be flung into the faces of Imperial swine, and getting all of them with one Force push is very satisfying. Having said all that, Han Solo's mid-air, manuallydirected laser pistol is a close second.

Portabliss Angry Birds Star Wars HD iPad
There are other clever Star Wars touches, like the Darth Vader pig keeping his minions afloat with the Force, or having a level set in the famous Death Star trench run. But what I noticed most as someone returning to Angry Birds is how much tighter the series is now. The 80 or so levels aren't repetitive, the physics aren't fussy, and the difficulty isn't prone to annoying spikes. Yes, it's still not nearly as funny or wacky as it likes to think it is, but with the Star Wars spin that's easier to forgive.

If you're not like me, and you've played every Angry Birds, then chances are you already have an opinion on Angry Birds Star Wars. But if you are like me, and are eyeing this Force-wrapped crossover with curiosity and trepidation, then maybe now's the time to put away your assumptions and give Angry Birds one more go. But don't worry if you'd rather not. Nobody's forcing you.

This Portabliss is based on an iTunes Store download of Angry Birds Star Wars HD for iPad, available now for $2.99. Angry Birds Star Wars is also available on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 tablets, Kindle Fire, PC, and Mac.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.