Why Angry Birds succeeds where Boom Blox failed

As Blake reported last week, the mobile phone game Angry Birds is coming to consoles. Having finally gotten a phone that can play the thing, I forked over my 99 cents to see what all the fuss has been about.

My first reaction: “It’s Boom Blox in 2D!” If you’re one of the few people who bought the fun and overlooked Spielberg/EA project (or its sequel), you might experience the same deja vu. I wonder if the folks who worked so hard on Boom Blox are rolling their eyes at the birds’ runaway success.

Why did one throw-things-at-a-stack-of-blocks game succeed while the other failed to catch on? Boom Blox had tons of play modes, complex level designs and amazing physics.

Angry Birds has appealing characters, a funny theme, a 99 cent pricetag and addictive, simple gameplay that can be taught in less than a second.

Was Boom Blox too elaborate for its own good? Is high-quality simplicity the key to success?