Version Tested: Xbox 360 Versions Available: Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS
Amazing to think that there are still people out there who have either never heard of Angry Birds or who’ve never played the game in one format or another. Activision, though, are confident that there’s a market for Rovio’s creation on consoles and have bundled the first 3 games together in this new Trilogy pack.
Now I’m not a fan of discussing pricing in a review, but the issue is going to arise whenever this game is discussed, so I might as well get this over with. Yes, Angry Birds is available on Smartphone and Facebook for free, or for a minimum fee at the most, but the console release does boast better graphics and a new control scheme (along with Kinect support, but we’ll get to that later). If you don’t have Facebook or a Smartphone or prefer playing games on a console, then this will make no difference to you. For everyone else, it will come down to 2 things; do you value the achievements/ gamerscore or trophies that much and would you prefer to play the same game on a touchscreen or with a proper controller?
There’s no disguising that, bar a few extra levels in each game, Angry Birds Trilogy is pretty much the exact same game with the exact same levels as the smartphone release. But then the game was so well put-together in the first place that Rovio and Activision would be mad to change it. For those who are still unaware what the game involves, it’s all about launching birds from catapults to hit pigs. These pigs (who have stolen the birds’ eggs) are perched on various structures made of glass, brick and wood, all of which have different effects when hit by the birds; wood and glass break easily and brick take a lot more damage before cracking.
Birds come in various shapes and sizes and the game gives you a quick tutorial every time you meet a new one, from the standard red bird to the blue bird that splits in three and the black bomb bird. They’re all part of the overall puzzle with an aim to destroy every pig on the level with the least birds and gain that elusive 3 star rating. Puzzles are designed with care to ensure that there’s a right way to get the highest score, though there are still plenty of ways to ‘beat’ the level and move on to the next, avoiding the pitfall of being stuck on a level. The game encourages going back to get those 3 stars on each level with both achievements and unlockable levels.
Angry Birds Trilogy will appeal to those who like to unlock everything in a game. The 3 star
element is the biggest draw, but there are also golden items to collect (different items for different games) which will also unlock new levels in the process. Add in Achievements for collecting stars and other tasks and you have a system that rewards the kleptomaniac tendencies many gamers seem to have developed in this generation of trophy and achievement hunting. It’s only with this approach that the game becomes remotely long enough to sit alongside other full releases. Without it, you can easily work through the game in a matter of hours.
What this does mean, though, is that the game has mass appeal. Younger players, or those less handy with a controller, can simply play the game by completing levels with a basic score and moving on to the next. More experienced gamers will want to gather all the stars on each level.
Controls are surprisingly good with a joypad. Holding the left stick back at the right angle and
pressing the A button to launch your birds actually feels better (and more accurate) than using a touchscreen. The instant restart, essential for a game like this, is simply a case of holding down X. The design of the control scheme has been tweaked to allow this to translate to Kinect, but unfortunately that ‘better with Kinect’ banner on the game box is not to be trusted. The device rarely feels as accurate as with a controller and often loses the tracking of your arms, causing plenty of annoying errors. It’s best to stay away from the Kinect controls or, at the least, simply use them to provide a new, unintentional, level of difficulty.
While some may argue the need for a large screen version of the game, there is no question that Angry Birds Trilogy provides the same intoxicating level of addictive entertainment as its smaller Smartphone brother and the developers have done plenty of work to provide what amounts to be the ultimate port of the game with enough enhancements to make it a worthwhile purchase for fans or those who would rather play the title on console.