It’s over. Angry Birds magic spots: RIP.
In a previous posting, I revealed the secret behind magic spots in the Seasons Greedings section of Angry Birds Seasons. In essence, if a bird hit a specific location in just the right way, a Santa-hatted pig would tilt and explode with atypical force, resulting in much more damage and a much higher score than otherwise possible.
There had been some discussion on the web as to whether or not these spots were an unintended bug (perhaps left over from some internal testing version of the game) or a deliberate feature. I hopefully opted for the latter view. I was wrong.
Today, I received a reply from Rovio (the creators of Angry Birds) confirming what I had already suspected from my own recent play: the magic spots were removed as part of the Valentines (Hogs and Kisses) update to Angry Birds Seasons. The Rovio developer added: “Sadly, it was a bug in the system and we needed to fix it to make things work regarding long term updates.”
I can’t argue with a developer wanting to fix a bug. But it does present a dilemma for the subset of Angry Birds players interested in attaining a top score on the Game Center Leaderboard. If you hope to make it anywhere near the very top (at least the top 100), you’ll need the big scores that come from hitting the magic spots. This means that, if you are new to Angry Birds Seasons, you can forget ever reaching the upper echelon of the Leaderboard. Similarly, if you are an established player and had hoped to improve your standing by getting better magic spot scores, you can forget that as well (I include myself in this latter group, despite the fact that I am fortunate enough to already have one of the very top scores).
This is disappointing and, in some sense, unfair — as it gives a lucky subset of Angry Birds players an advantage over everyone else. But there is nothing to be done about it. Rovio has applied spot remover to the bug/feature and it’s game over.
[Speaking of top scores, I have read that it is possible to “hack” at least some versions of Angry Birds — allowing you to get high scores by cheating. The most egregious examples of this are in Angry Birds for the iPhone; the top score today is a clearly hacked 40,000,001,090,256,896. If possible, when such impossibly high scores are detected, I’d like to see them removed from the Leaderboard.]
Update: If you really want to access these magic spots again, you might yet be able to do so — if you still have the prior 1.1.1 version of Seasons. To accomplish this trick, you need to downgrade the app on your iOS device back to the old version. When you are done, you can re-upgrade to the latest version again. The only question is: Will this mess up your high score data (because the downgraded version is “unaware” of the Hogs & Kisses section)? I haven’t tried this yet, so I can’t say for certain. But I suspect not. However, to be safe, make sure you have saved a copy of the high-scores file (highscores.lua) so you can put it back if needed.