The latest Angry Birds game still involves birds battling pigs, but its gameplay has moved on from the physics-based flinging that made the franchise famous.
However, it is also the latest effort by publisher Rovio to capitalise on the "free-to-play" business model that now dominates the mobile games industry.
It's Rovio's second Angry Birds game built from the start as a free-to-play title that explores a new genre, following racing game Angry Birds Go, which launched in December 2013.
Angry Birds Epic has been available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore since mid-March, as Rovio used early player feedback to hone the game and its system of in-app purchases.
The game adopts a turn-based RPG format, with players taking a team of birds into battle with their pig enemies, levelling their characters up while acquiring and upgrading weapons, armour and potions along the way.
It's free to download and play, but an in-app shop sells virtual coins, which can be spent on items and other gameplay features. The costs range from £0.69 for a "pouch" of 15 coins to £59.99 for a "Mighty Eagle's Treasure Chest" of 3,000 coins.
That marks Angry Birds Epic out as a game for adults, but the franchise's popularity with children may cause concern among parents about its highest tiers of in-app purchase – just as the option to pay £69.99 for a "Big Bang Special Edition" car in Angry Birds Go's beta sparked questions last year.
Rovio's early Angry Birds games were paid titles, bought with a single upfront purchase. Over time, the company diversified by adding in-app purchases, as well as building a thriving business in toys, merchandise and other licensed products.
Even so, Angry Birds' growth has paled next to the money being made by free-to-play games like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans on smartphones and tablets.
Rovio's financial results for 2013 revealed revenues of €156m (£128.4m) compared to $1.9bn (£1.1bn) for Candy Crush developer King and $892m (£529.6m) for Clash of Clans maker Supercell.
Angry Birds fans will be less concerned with Rovio's business, and more interested in whether Angry Birds Epic is a good game.
"The Angry Birds characters are a perfect fit for a role-playing game because they have strong personalities and individual superpowers. They are almost like character classes from the get go," said Rovio's executive vice president of games Jami Laes, in a statement.
RPG purists may scoff, but early indications are that the blend of birds and battles works well. A couple of hours' playing this morning revealed a well-crafted introduction to the game's features, plenty of slapstick humour, and the makings of an interesting system for crafting weapons.
The real test will come further into the game, as it becomes clear how aggressively the in-app purchases are pushed, and how the game's various virtual currencies interlock.
Coins exchangeable for "snoutlings" and "essences of friendship" used for certain tasks, although all can also be earned by playing.
Angry Birds Epic's launch comes ahead of the next big expansion for Rovio's franchise: Angry Birds Stella. Aimed more at girls and women, that game will be released in September, alongside new toys, merchandise, books and cartoons.
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