Angry Birds Trilogy

Activision Reloads The Slingshot For Angry Birds Trilogy
by Jeff Cork on Jul 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Rovio
Rating: Everyone
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, 3DS

Angry Birds may not have been the first game to capitalize on the destructive joy of smashing towers of blocks, but it’s the most successful. The series has cumulatively been downloaded more than a billion times since its 2009 release, making it one of the most popular mobile games ever. Now the birds are flocking to HD consoles and the 3DS with Angry Birds Trilogy. We got our hands on the game, and it’s exactly what you expect – and that’s not a bad thing.

To the uninitiated, the objective in Angry Birds is to slingshot your avian buddies into blocky structures, knocking them down and smashing pigs and other enemies in the process. Early levels are straightforward, but it quickly becomes a test of both accuracy and problem-solving. That’s in large part because of the physics behind the mayhem and the variety of birds. Different birds have different abilities, which can be activated after launching. Blue birds explode into three glass-shattering separate birds, for instance, while the bomb-shaped black birds explode in a more literal sense.

Angry Birds Trilogy bundles three of the series’ first games—Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Rio—and adds a few new levels and bonus goodies. In addition, the PS3 version supports Move and its Xbox 360 counterpart has an optional Kinect interface. All three versions also feature fully animated cutscenes in contrast to the originals’ static sequences.

The games look undeniably great, with crisp characters and additional background details thrown in for good measure. These effects, such as dandelion fuzz that floats in the breeze, are affected by passing birds although they don’t get in the way of gameplay. They’re a smart way to keep things visually interesting without causing any distractions. The game did start out with tiny screens in mind, after all, and levels would look sparse without adding any extra flourishes.

The game plays just like previous installments, with few surprises. I’ve poured a lot of time into the series, and I felt right at home. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I appreciated how easy it was to restart levels by holding down a button. Another button calls in the mighty eagle, a character that was previously only available via a microtransaction. This insanely powerful bird crashes through entire levels in a single swoop, which is a cathartic way to blast through areas when you’ve hit a rut. Players can earn special golden feathers by using him to destroy everything.

Angry Birds Trilogy also includes a few bonus levels (stacked onto the 100+ stock ones), featuring some of the biggest areas seen in the series. The ones I played required deft aim and the foresight to create effective chain reactions. I didn’t see Move in action, but the twitchy and imprecise Kinect support seemed as though it existed for the sake of adding another bullet point to the box. The compilation also provides a glimpse at the game’s evolution via early concept art. Those extras probably won’t be enough to woo casual fans, but they’re an extra enticement for people who can’t get enough Angry Birds.

Both the HD and 3DS versions of the game make the most of their displays. Players can zoom all the way out on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, providing a full view of the playfield. The 3DS version pushes the tower view onto the top screen, with the touchscreen handling the slingshot. If you’re not into dragging your stylus on the screen, it’s also playable with the 3DS’ d-pad.

Some players will undoubtedly cry foul at the game’s $39.99 price point ($29.99 on 3DS), and they do have a decent case. After all, you could pick up the first three versions of the iOS original—in HD—for less than $10. Of course that assumes that you have an iPad or mobile device that supports the games. If you don’t (or if you prefer gaming on a TV) this is looking like a solid alternative. There’s a lot of content here, and if you enjoy its central concepts you’ve got dozens of hours of gameplay. Otherwise, this package isn’t likely to convert you.

Look for Angry Birds Trilogy on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and 3DS on September 25.