Review: Angry Birds Trilogy on the 3DS is still overshadowed by its mobile brethren
We've already discussed the benefit of having Angry Birds Trilogy on platforms in our Xbox 360 review. Sure, the $40 price tag may be tough for some to accept, but those that do will get their money's worth through HD transfers of their favorite games, online leaderboards, and comfortable analog controls. With that, what about a system that's competing directly with the iPad on the mobile front? Angry Birds Trilogy was also released for the Nintendo 3DS, but without those new levels that the console versions had, and only a couple of extras. Does that make it worth the inflated price?
To those who missed the previous review, Angry Birds Trilogy on 3DS contains three games – the original Angry Birds, the Rio movie tie-in and Angry Birds Seasons, which changes depending on what time of year you're playing. And that's really about it. No Angry Birds Space, no Bad Piggies, nothing else that's added onto the game.
Now, the way that Rovio and Activision set up the controls are pretty novel for a handheld version. You can either use the analog stick to set up your shot and execute it by tapping a button, and then either watching your bird strike or hit another button to activate their effect (like the yellow bird's ability to speed up), or you can tap along the touch-screen and drag it back for aiming, then hit certain functions on there to make things happen. Honestly, the old-school analog works better, but it's functional either way.
However, it can be a bit distracting as you're shooting the birds. On the bottom screen, you see your bird in the slingshot, and on the top, you've got your target range, between the slingshot and the piggies. You can zoom in and out however you please, but still, to have the same set-up near identical on both screens can be a bit much. It's not headache-inducing, just a minor pain.
What is a pain, however, is the terrible menu system. Rather than just letting you tap your options and go about your way, the menu requires you shoot birds from the bottom screen into menu options on the top – and be accurate about it. So if you want to start a game of, say, Angry Birds Classic, you need to launch a bird at the start plate, then aim and launch a bird at the Classic plate, then aim at the stage you want to start on first. It's way too complicated, along with the restart option. Instead of just hitting a button to try again, you have to tap on a tiny icon on the screen. Oy.
All three of the Angry Birds games look pretty good on the 3DS screen, and the zooming effects are relatively smooth. However, the 3D effects are minimal at best, merely put in for décor rather than going all out to impress you. Considering this is a $24 upgrade from what you could pay for the previous versions, we expected a little something more. Same goes for the sound, which is just the usual array of pig snorts and bird cheers.
Angry Birds Trilogy does support StreetPass challenges, but we weren't able to try many of these since there weren't a lot of players in possession of the game. They have it – that's right – on their mobile devices. It was a decent idea on Nintendo and Activision's part, but it probably won't have enough of an audience to make it worthwhile until the price drops…
Unfortunately, Angry Birds Trilogy just lacks the same kind of appeal as its console brethren. The controls are good and there are tons of levels to get through, but the visual set-up is distracting, the menu system is more of a chore than it needs to be, and the lack of extras – mainly Angry Birds Space – is disappointing. If you really need to take this on the go, your best bet is to snag an iPad or Android version. It's cheaper and, hey, you don't have to go through the run-around.