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Angry Birds Heikki launches just in time for the European Grand Prix

If Angry Birds Space or the Web apps on Chrome and Facebook aren’t cutting it for you, there’s yet another version of Angry Birds in town. Commemorating Finnish Formula 1 racing driver Heikki Kovalainen, web-based Angry Birds Heikki takes your favorite characters on the fast lane complete with speeding car sounds, myriads of tires, and a power up that disguises the red bird with a racing helmet.

Launched today by Rovio, Angry Birds Heikki is a 12-level game that’s unlocked on a monthly basis to accordance to Formula 1 rounds. This means the games will last until the end of the season on November 21. In terms of cultural relevance, Angry Birds Heikki targets a new genre of audience but lacks features found in the Space and Seasons franchises. To obtain a free power up, players are asked to register for a code via the Heikki Kovalainen Facebook fan page, which requires an external app download. Once you have the code, however, the power up is free to use once in each stage regardless of how many times you’ve restarted. 

Still, we’re a bit underwhelmed with this helmeted red bird. While it’s certainly a bit stronger than the average red bird, it’s about as good as the big green one that destroys most things along the path. The carnage made by this bird does give you some extra points but there’s no satisfaction in small destructions, so to speak. The lack of any special, race car-themed power is rather disappointing, and waiting one month per stage makes you almost forget the game ever existed. It’s pretty much as unnoticeable as the game launching today.

While this is a grand branding opportunity for Rovio with other popular franchises, what we wished Angry Birds would have gone with was a new take on the gameplay, such as Mario Kart-style racing with Angry Birds characters if only to change things up before things get old. And by the looks of it, it’s really starting to get there.

Sample Angry Birds Heikki yourself and let us know what you think. On the game’s sidebar, you can also share your high scores with players across the globe — including Mr. Kovalainen himself — or directly with us in the comments below (my personal best is currently 125020!).

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