Rovio's Angry Birds Stella gives girl power a ride
The game provides the same propulsion that gamers have come to expect from the franchise, but this time around, female protagonists star.
Rovio's Angry Birds franchise has a new entrant, but this time, a female protagonist named Stella is leading the way.
Angry Birds Stella launched on Thursday on a broad range of platforms, including iOS, Android, Kindle devices, BlackBerry, and Nooks. The free game is available in Apple's App Store, Google Play, Amazon's Appstore, and both BlackBerry World and Nook Apps.
Rovio made a name for itself with its original slingshotting Angry Birds title. The company's success allowed it to quickly expand with variations on the game, including a Star Wars-themed title, and with a broad offline business that ranges from amusement parks to an animation studio.
What sets Stella apart from the rest is that it stars a female character. Historically, the Angry Birds franchise has been dominated by male characters. In addition to Stella, the game, which takes place on the Angry Birds universe's Golden Island, includes an antagonist in the form of Gale the Bad Princess.
The game's premise is simple: one of Gale's "minion pigs" jumps through a skylight and steals Stella's scrapbook. Upset with the loss of that scrapbook, Gale sets out to take down the minions and recover it from Gale. The game play will be familiar to current Angry Birds users, with Stella and fellow birds used to slingshot into structures and take down the pigs, and eventually, Stella.
Angry Birds Stella is launching at a time of change for Rovio. The Finland-based company has generated strong revenue and profits over the last several years, but its 2013 performance proved troubling as profits dipped more than 50 percent to 26.9 million euros ($35.3 million). Last month, Rovio announced that it would replace its current CEO, Mikael Hed, with one of its other executives, Pekka Rantala. The new CEO will take the reins on January 1.
CNET has contacted Rovio for additional comment on the Stella launch. We will update this story when we have more information.