The first Angry Birds slipped onto the iPhone with little fanfare, slowly growing into one of the biggest games of all time. For the game's first proper sequel, Angry Birds Space, developer Rovio comes shooting out of the gate with t-shirts, key chains, stuffed animals and Angry Birds Space Fruit Snacks.
Available in four different "collectible" boxes, Angry Birds Space Fruit Snacks kick off this review with a tick in the negative column for breaking one of snacking's cardinal tenants: the snack speaks for itself. If a company feels the need to include the word "snacks" in the products official name, then surely something is not right.
As it turns out, these "fruit snacks" are a lie.
'Fruit snack' is a lazy term for edible items made of fruit that aren't an actual piece of fresh fruit. In the past this has included died fruit, freeze dried fruit or even fruit leather. Nowadays the term is more commonly used to describe tiny translucent balls of jelly-like fruit substance, often moulded into shapes that vaguely resemble popular cartoon, video game and toy characters. These products were originally developed in order to aid small children in overcoming irrational fears developed around these characters; if you can eat it, you have power over it.
Today's fruit snacks generally fall into two camps. Snacks created using a mix of fruit purees and juices that generally share a consistency akin to the traditional gum drop, and those made with a gelatin base and largely artificial flavorings, identified by their tooth-resistance 'gummi' texture.
Angry Birds Space Fruit Snacks, distributed by Healthy Food Brands, fall into the former category. Each pouch contains 100 per cent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. The packaging also boasts that the snacks are but free, gluten free and fat free. That leaves food colouring. So much food colouring.
The Angry Birds Space Fruit Snacks packaging once again breaks "the snack speaks for itself" rule by coming in four different designs, each touting itself as "collectible". Falling back on gimmicks to sell snacks is the sign of a company lacking confidence in its product. How am I supposed to be confident about the experience if the company can't?
And this is collectible? Will these be show up on eBay at prices 10 times higher than the $US2 asking price for one box at Walmart? I think not.
Have you ever looked really closely at a fruit snack? A proper snacktaku studies his or her prey before devouring it. These fruit snacks may look delicious from far off...
...OK, they look pretty good close up too. Not quite like the characters they seek to depict, but that's what the t-shirts, patches and key chains are for.
Sure, Angry Birds Space Fruit Snacks taste pretty good, smell pretty good, and contain enough vitamin C in one pouch to satisfy some obscure government agency. While lesser snacksters might be inclined to throw them a party, I simply see these features as the bare minimum necessary to hit store shelves.
Complete gameplay failure aside, I was prepared to give these "snacks" an average score, but then I studied them closer...
These aren't Angry Birds Space fruit snacks! They're just the original Angry Birds fruit snacks in different packaging! What the hell?
Did you think we wouldn't notice, Rovio? Did you think we'd just collect the boxes and never open them to check their contents?
How dare you, sirs. How. Dare. You.