Game Review

Angry Birds Trilogy Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Fowl play

Something of a cultural phenomenon by now, Rovio's Angry Birds franchise is one of the few in gaming to capture the general public's eye, time, wallet and wardrobe, becoming the poster child for "the future" of the industry. It has been called quite a few things in its meteoric rise: Herald of the death of dedicated gaming handhelds. Rip-off. Charming. Hollow. A great value. Worthless.

It can seem an audacious proposal to package $3 worth of smartphone gaming and jack the cost up to a full ten times that amount for its 3DS debut, making this one of the first real examples of interleague play. And to call it a "trilogy" is a bit of a stretch considering each game is, at its core, identical, and the two franchise titles that are divergent — Angry Birds Space and the recently released Bad Piggies — are nowhere to be found. What Angry Birds Trilogy does collect is the original Angry Birds, holiday pack Angry Birds Seasons and movie tie-in Angry Birds Rio in a slick package that pulls out all the stops to justify itself as a retail product, a sign that despite little new actual content Rovio and Activision have taken this release fairly seriously. In fact, it's so cleverly and tightly put together that absolutely everything is wired to some measure of progress to keep players attentive and engaged, taking what many found addictive on smartphones to a whole new level on 3DS.

In case you have yet to experience Angry Birds in any of its ubiquitous releases (in which case, we'd love to Instagram your giant rock of a home), a flock of ticked-off fowl go to war against greenie meanie pigs by way of catapult, shooting themselves to take down the pigs and cause as much destruction as possible. Each game plays exactly the same and, with the exception of Rio's swap of pigs for bird cages, monkeys and other wildlife, might as well be the same. Points are awarded for the amount of damage done and how many birds are left unflung, with up to three stars given at the end of each stage of piggie eradication. The cumulative star tally opens up new portions across all three games, so getting stuck in Angry Birds doesn't have to mean progression is over, just that perhaps the new content unlocked in Seasons or Rio are better options at the moment. Returning to a completed stage in any game opens up the Mighty Eagle, which is altogether another way to play: fling a bar of soap onto the scene to mark where a giant missile will strike, with a percentage given at the end of how much damage was done.

Despite whatever the nayers say, it's easy to see how Angry Birds has struck such success — the endearing art style, silly sense of humor and devious score hooks make a potent concoction. But Angry Birds' true strength lies in its tension, the floating moment between lining up a shot and hoping that it ends in a satisfying crash-bang-boom of pigs and tinker toys. This feeling can be exhilarating, and the highs of victory and the ease of starting over after an errant or unsatisfactory fling hooks players into an addictive loop. That next star always feels within reach, so why not just get it now? You're already there, after all, and you wouldn't want to double back later and have to rethink the strategy you're been working so hard to perfect, would you?

In fact, much of Angry Birds Trilogy taps into a sense of compulsion, most transparently in the gamification of the menus. See, the menus, to start, all look like garbage: every item, including stages, is packed inside a wooden crate that then breaks away when you fling a bird to select it, leaving a much more appealing icon behind. Given the amount of stages and menu items, this encouragement to poke and prod your way to a nicer front-end has the side effect of spinning you back into the game proper, to achieve more stars to unlock even more menu items — before you know it, you're back into the "one more go" loop you tried so hard to break from. It's quite a monotonous and cheap way of luring people back in, but it is certainly an effective one.

The amount of content crammed onto the cart is not insignificant — all in all, Trilogy boasts around 700 stages (a small number of which were specifically made for this collection), which could take days to get through in full, weeks to get three stars. Factoring in the Mighty Eagle, that number essentially doubles. That's a lot of wood to break. Chopping up the menu slowly unlocks new birds for StreetPass, dubbed Migration, where you record a tune with bird sound effects and send them off into the aether. We were unfortunately unable to test this feature, but the game tells us that hits provide goodies of some sort.

Angry Birds Trilogy makes good use of other 3DS features as well, like auto-stereoscopic 3D and buttons. Stylus controls mimic the smartphone interface with which many are so familiar, but we found ourselves far preferring use of the Circle Pad to aim and A button to launch. In game, the touch screen is exclusively dedicated to aiming, allowing you to pan around and zoom in close up top for a better view. Separating aiming from the field is very useful, allowing greater precision — not only mechanically compared to a smartphone, where fingers can hit the edge of the screen so easily and mess up a shot, the projected trajectory is now easier to imagine.


Perhaps you've never played Angry Birds before and are curious what all the fuss and t-shirts are about. Maybe you're a super fan and want a physical object of your desire. Or you might be a parent that just wants your device back from your child. Regardless, Angry Birds Trilogy makes a compelling case with its addictive gameplay and low barrier of entry, although cheap compulsion shenanigans ultimately prove more to be of a downer than presumably intended. While this may not be the best option to play one of gaming's most visible titles — we won't hold our breath for free updates any time, ever — it is still a very good way to experience Finland's biggest cultural export since the Moomins.

From the web

User Comments (120)



Aviator said:

Very good review Jon. Interesting to read about the efforts that were put in it to justify the price.



LordJumpMad said:

Great review Jon.

Best game to come out on the 3DS this year.
Nintendo can learn something from this.



19Robb92 said:

Hmm.. To get this cheap for my phone or expensive for my 3DS..

Not really a hard decision. I won't get it at all.



Knux said:

I have always wanted to try Angry Birds just to see what all the fuss was about. I've never played it either, so this is a godsend. I just need to find out which version will be better to buy, the 3DS or PS3 version (or perhaps I'll buy both).



C-Olimar said:

@DonJumpMad What, Nintendo need to learn how to blatantly copy browser games that were released several years prior to Angry Birds? Can't wait for Super Mario: Cave Story . Better than RE:Revelations or Kid Icarus? That really is laughable.

Anyway, I find Angry Birds excruciatingly boring, so if I was going to pay for a version I'd get the 69p iPhone one, but I still haven't managed to suffer through the Lite version so that's unlikely.



Bucho said:

I like this game and play it on my phone, i would have bought this if it included angry birds space



BenAV said:

It was incredibly boring when I played it on my phone (it was free but I still felt ripped off), so I wouldn't ever consider buying this unless they paid me to do so.
Nice review, but I shall continue to persuade people against buying this when the system has so much better to offer for the money.



HandheldGuru97 said:

I have never play Angry Birds and I don't plan to, still good review and maybe it will help the 3DS this Holliday season.



Morpheel said:

Eh, I really can't enjoy Angry Birds as a game, but I love it's merchandise.



iphys said:

I'm too angry to pay $40 for a piece of plastic for something that should have been on the eShop for so much less.



AyeHaley said:

€5-10 as a download and you can count me in.
It seems fun but why would I pay so much more. Some added features are nice though. Just not "€30 nice enough".



Haxonberik said:

8 out if 10? For a 40 dollar version of three times the same game that are worth 3 dollars on a smartphone. Without future updates and the only actually original game of the series not in? Just hours and hours of the same bird smashing buildings without much different level design? I dont even know what to say, I could compare the score to other titles that have scored the same or less, but its redundant this game is not justified.



rjejr said:

I think it's really funny that this review posted right after the "iPhone doesn't have buttons" article and here we are talking about an iPhone game on the 3DS.

There is no excuse for this not to include "Space" since that launched months ago. And it's easily the best of the bunch. Rio shouldn't even count, it's more of a "skin" than a separate game. Though I suppose the same can be said for "Seasons".

FYI - You can get the first game free w/ the Chrome browser if somebody exists who hasn't tried it out somewhere yet. Don't try the PSN "mini" version b/c it's completly broken



JJtheTexan said:

I believe the "bar of soap" you refer to in activating Mighty Eagle is actually supposed to be a can of herring or anchovies




Already got all 4 Angry Birds games on my ipad for 69p each. Interesting what they've done here, but it'd be a tad insane to purchase this in my case. No sale!



Reala said:

Be interesting to see if this game often associated with iphone like devices will fare sales wise, along side nintendo's 1st party titles.



ayylmao22422 said:

I was pretty skeptical about this, but after your review, I'll pick it up at somepoint. Still need to get NSMB2 first though. Great review though!



Bob-t-Gmaestro said:

I'd rather be interested in buying each of the three games separate on the eShop, for the standard price.



Linkuini said:

I got Angry Birds Seasons from the App Store while it was free for a week. Now pigs will fly before I spend money on an Angry Birds game! In fact...



bezerker99 said:

U can't ever have too many games about birds, imo. Great review, btw!! I might have to check this out.



sinalefa said:

So they want me to pay around ten times the price of this game in its original format? And give all that extra money to Activision? No, thanks.


After that 300 comments post yesterday, I found out that the comment sections here can be as bad as IGN's, and that blew my mind as well.



LordJumpMad said:

@CountShredaqula & @sinalefa
I think your both over reacting, it doesn't get that bad in here.
The only people who agure here, are people who never seen sarcasm before, and takes it seriously.

Unless you like taking sarcasm seriously then its fine by me.



Megumi said:

These comments are nowhere near as bad as IGN's.
If it were as bad, we would have "PS3 is superior" as well as insert CoD related comment here.



Zach777 said:

This really should be put on the eShop. Having a mobile-quality game as a cartridge seems redundant. Perhaps it will someday...



R-L-A-George said:

Erica_Hartmann wrote:

These comments are nowhere near as bad as IGN's.
If it were as bad, we would have "PS3 is superior" as well as insert CoD related comment here.

LOL, true you should of seen the story about the new kingdom hearts port for PS3. There was a lot of people trying to justify where the argument wasn't valid.



Spoony_Tech said:

I would consider this if and when it goes digital. After all isn't this the type of game you want with you everywhere?!



Reala said:

Actually the score puts it equal to starfox 64 3D, so can't be all that bad surely.



RetroGBHippie92 said:

I hate Angry Birds, period. The most boring "video game" in history, hell I personally IMO wouldn't give it any credit for being a video game. Although I own an iPod, I never use it to play games, it's not what an MP3 player is for anyway. Why on earth Nintendo is allowing this dev to publish these glorified iPhone apps as a "video game" is beyond me.



rayword45 said:

I don't think everybody on the site should be a hardcore Nintendo fan. If they make a mistake, then people should complain.

However, I don't think people should go on the site, and bash every move NIntendo makes, and insult the people who don't bash Nintendo frequently (which happened on other articles, not this one).

Anyways, screw this. If I thought the game was "amazing", "unique" or even "tolerable" then I'd just get the free Android version.



Flowerlark said:

Despite everyone telling me not to get this because I could find it cheaper anywhere else, this smart-phoneless gal bought it anyway- and I love it! I'm one of those people who INSISTS on getting 3 stars, so I'm veeeerrrry slowly getting through the levels. I haven't even finished Poached Eggs yet and have clocked about 11 hours. Tonnes of content, addictive, and fun. While the rest of the world thinks the price is a rip-off, I felt it was worth my money.



IsawYoshi said:

@Cipher Yes, there actually is a place called moomin world that lies in finland! Finland's answer to the Danish lego in other words



Aerona said:

So I could get them for three dollars on an inferior platform or thirty dollars on the 3DS... Eh, screw the whole thing.



C-Olimar said:

@Reala Different genres. For example, Just Dance regularly receives top scores from this site, and that is barely a game (especially the Wii version)!



TimboBaggins said:

Angry Birds is a great game, but I'm not paying $40 to buy it a second time. I could get all three of these games on my ipod for about $9. Hell, I can play the demos for free.



FriedSquid said:

I think I'd probably pick this up, I've liked the Angry Birds games. Maybe not for $40, that's asking a bit much, but perhaps if I could find it for a bit cheaper like $30 or something.



LittleKing said:

Sad to think this got the same score as Tales of the Abyss, or other great titles. TofA had a great story, fun characters, well paced combat and was altogether a ton of fun imo. Then we have Angry Birds. A game that could've been on Kongregate and all but forgotten about. No, I haven't played the 3DS version; I have played the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Rio on other platforms (including iOS).

Seriously, I'd have to be smoking something to dish out thirty bucks on Angry Birds. The games are fun, but I found they also get extremely tedious very quickly. All you do is fling, see what happened, fling again. The cartoonish graphics and funny noises the pigs and birds make makes the game enjoyable for awhile, but then it dawns on you: you're doing the video game equivalent of flinging a tennis ball at a stack of cans, just with a few collectables and explosions.

Then Rovio has the nerve to try to fry our brains with an absurd achievement. Yes, because we all want to enjoy marking spot after spot for an airstrike until we destroy everything in sight for 300 hours. Sardines... BOOM. Sardines... BOOM. Sardines... BOOM. Only 32048563750 more levels to go.

For anyone over the age of ten, Angry Birds is probably more like a 6, imo, especially at retail price. Note that I do think the games are very good for young children; they love the cute pigs and birds, the funny noises they make, and seeing the stuff that happens when they fling them, but they are very shallow and repetitive games.

EDIT: *Sardines, not Soap. Now you've got me doing it.



ueI said:

Why are people pretending there is some kind of argument going on in the comments? I don't see any argument...



SanderEvers said:

It's a good game, and button controls do help a bit. But yes, the iOS / Android versions are cheaper. But a smartphone is a lot more expensive than a 3DS



SomeBitTripFan said:

I'm not going to go off about this review, but I wholeheartedly disagree. I don't find a set of 3 free, same-ish games worth even $20,$10, or even $5. Buy this game if you want to fatten the pockets of lazy game devopers. It would be smarter to buy a quality game for only 10 more dollars and wait for this game to appear in a bargain bin priced at $1. If you get it, I won't hold anything against you, but think about how much money this cash cow is making.



Shotgunryugan said:

Honestly i have never been much of a fan,but the score is surprising,i was expecting something lower.



LordJumpMad said:

You possess neither respect, nor resolve, nor reason.
Just because someone joins a videogame site about "said company", doesn't mean they need to kiss the ground they walk on. And if its not a game made by them, it should be trash for it?

So its not ok to bash Nintendo games on a nintendo site, but its ok to bash other games on a nintendo site.
You sir are a hypocrite.



Froggievilleus said:

I've been having fun with this title. Mind you, I got lucky and picked it up for $15 at Target when it was accidentally put on clearance.



rayword45 said:

@SomeBitTripFan Hell, if you wanna get a good bargain bin game, go to Toys R Us or Best Buy. There are some pretty great games like Nano Assault for 10 bucks.



Freelance said:

@Haxonberik Not everyone has a phone or other device to play it though. You're assuming everyone does. I don't have a phone and don't want one, but I still won't get this game as it doesn't interest me.



Dodger said:

I would be slightly more tempted if this was $20 cheaper and the guy hadn't said that console games were $40 pieces of plastic. You know what, I think he is right. I won't buy his $40 piece of plastic.



Dodger said:

M'kay. $30. Not that much better, but a little bit better. Still not enough for me to give money to a guy who will say anything to still be in the news. If he hadn't said a bunch of stupid stuff, I might pay $20.



idork99 said:

Good game, good review, price unjustifiable. It'd make more sense if they'd release it as an eShop download as opposed to a physical copy as I would never carry it in my system, hence, never play it. The most I'd pay for this is $10 (download only) and that would still be pushing it. $8 would be the sweet spot! And I'm talking about the entire so called trilogy. If they wanted to release each one individually, then I'd only pay $2-$3 tops!



ueI said:

I can't believe it took 73 comments before someone confirmed the game's price.

@Donjwolf and @rayword45 I'm looking at my mac's app store right now. It has all the Angry Birds for $4.99 each.



LittleKing said:

@CountShredaqula How did this get started? He entered the comments by making a somewhat sarcastic comment, you complained about the "lack" of Nintendo lovers (there's actually tons on this site; the majority like Nintendo), he replied that it isn't so bad, you said it was horrible and wrote a super long reply, he replied in a slightly brash manner, and then you say he deserves no respect and whine about how no one should whine, but should vote with their dollars.

Talk about mountains from molehills (not that I don't do the same, at times). It's like me saying I greatly dislike people who say they dislike things. Also noticed you took the time to edit your comment four minutes later to add the nice line "I guess I struck a nerve for speaking the truth eh?"

Then you edited it again ~10 minutes after posting to say he's a horrible writer. Well, and here I thought you didn't want people to focus on the negative stuff and just talk about the positive.

Also, for the records, half of what JM says is sarcastic.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@CountShredaqula Take it easy. Can't you see JumpMad's just trying to take his anger out on other people for losing his criminal organization? lol

You'll find plenty of Nintendo lovers on this site but generally the oldest audience is usually going to be the most critical. Nostalgia only goes so far after all.



MAB said:

For some strange reason I just got the sudden urge to download 'Bird Mania 3D' from the eShop. Cheers Mr Wahlgren



Auracle said:

Meh. I don't really care for Angry Birds. I played it once and it was ok, nothing special. It's actually kinda scary how much merchandise there is for this game.



GreenDream said:

Maybe Nintendo should authorize "Crush the Castle" and "Tiny Wings" to complete the collection! (LOL)



JayceJa said:

angry birds is fine, packaging angry birds with 2 reskins of angry birds that offer very little variety is not fine

i was ok with them not really changing up the game at all on the iphone because at a couple of bucks, its basically a level pack which is acceptable for that price, but even with "3 games" on the 3ds they are too similar to slap a retail price tag on



Firejonie said:

I just got it from Target today, but it was the PS3 version. Used a $25 gift card I received a few days ago so I got it for about $15. Now I don't feel as guilty for buying it ( though I do like Angry Birds anyways).



TingLz said:

@rayword45 Which is weird because I rarely hear anyone say that about Angry Birds. To be fair, Nintendo isn't really unique in some aspects, but they are good at taking small ideas and making them huge...which is what Angry birds did



GreenDream said:

@Mr_LztheBleh Kind of like how Robotrek, an Enix/Quintet game on the SNES in 1994, had the main character create, invent and capture robots which were kept in balls, and sent them out into battle without fighting for himself? Hmmmm.... Sounds familiar...!!



Hokori said:

I just love how Revio said they wished Nintendo shouldn't sell $50 (it's $40 BTW) plastic pieces and yet they sell this for $30 pieces of plastic, instead of the obvious choice (a $8 3DSWare app)



Ichiban said:

anyone who pays top dollar for this really should lay off the crack pipe....



rayword45 said:

@Mr_LztheBleh I've heard that several times, typically in reviews, but also in real life.

Nintendo isn't completely original, but their games are usually more then a direct ripoff typically.



Shiromikio said:

Tried the demo of the first game on iOS. It's fine for short bursts of diversion — the graphics look good and the characters can be endearing, but the gameplay gets repetitive for me fairly quickly. Young children might like it though, the controls are easy enough to get a handle on, and the levels vary some to keep them aiming for those stars. It reminds me of an old game (forgot the name) where you control a tank and the goal is to figure out the trajectory/physics to hit a target on a hill.

As others mentioned, this has the same rating as titles like Tales of the Abyss, which has much, much more depth from gameplay to story. To me the rating is for someone who's followed the franchise and likes this sort of game, not for those who're looking for a game with a full-length story with a lot of puzzling or fighting strategy.

The price difference between this and iOS versions bought separately is odd from a consumer's point of view, and the mobile games advocates will probably bring this up as an example that 3DS games are overpriced. Is there a good reason for the difference (stereoscopic 3D, packaging, licensing fee)?

For gameplay alone, I'll pass. For what looks like a double standard, I wouldn't bother with the iOS ones, either.



Dodger said:

Angry Birds as a game isn't terrible. I place it in the same category as Bejeweled, Pac-Man or Zuma. You play it for 5 minutes here or there but that really is about it.

What makes me not want to get Angry Birds is that the guy who made it has to regularly insult things I care about for no good reason when he has no credentials that give him the right to do so anyways. He made a glorified flash game and he thinks that he has made 100 hour adventures obsolete. He has to knock huge games like Zelda and Skyrim because he made a game that can compete with the likes of Tetris. Why do so many developers (and fanboys) think genres, pricing models and systems can't ever coexist?



rjejr said:

@SanderEvers An iPhone may eb more expensive, but there are Android players you can play this on CHEAPER than a 3DS, or the same price as a 3DS XL.

My wife bought Peggle Deluxe Dual Shot (DS) today for $12 so I guess she'ld buy Angry Birds for $12, maybe even $15, but even she wouldn't pay $30 for 3 $1 games.



Linkuini said:

Really, if I didn't hear people comparing this game's addictiveness to anything by PopCap, I wouldn't come down on it so hard. I would have had a far better first impression of this game if I hadn't expected it to be nearly as good as Plants vs. Zombies or Zuma. It's not nearly as good as Plants vs. Zombies or Zuma.

It's not just that Angry Birds doesn't do the same kind of thing that Nintendo does, it's that the kind of thing it does do has been done better elsewhere for ages! It really has nothing to do with Zelda or Skyrim or anything of that nature, at least for me.



JonWahlgren said:

Just out of curiosity, what are these other games that do what Angry Birds does but way better?



Hokori said:

@Aviator It could be worse, nintendo fans could say "finally we get this so called good game on our real gaming system"



Samholy said:

i really want it. but the price is ridiculous.
i dont mind paying 40 dolalrs for paper mario as an example.
but just like cave story 3ds, paying for a game that is free or not above 3$ originaly is kinda lame.

if they had lauched the game at 20bucks, i would have paid for it. and frankly, its not a game i want physically, i would rather get it digital for some angry bird now and then without switching carts all the time.



Geonjaha said:

@DonJumpMad - How do you expect people to realise you're being sarcastic just because the comments you post are idiotic? There are a lot of stupid people on the internet in case you havent noticed.



Vallu said:

I didn't like Angry Birds too in the beginning but I suddenly had to buy this and It's actually pretty good. There is a lot to do and the game is actually fun. I think they should make a trilogy of Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Star Wars and Bad Piggies.



mozie said:

nice collection albeit at a cheaper price, picked it up for €15 recently and I feel its worth it considering the amount of content here.



Harley said:

Outrageously overpriced...but it's a safe bet as long as you don't happen to own anything that uses Apps (you can get them all for a couple bucks in that case). It did drop 10 bucks at Gamestop recent (19.99 now).



grumblegrumble said:

I'm addicted to this game!! Got it on sale for just $19.99 brand new at Target about 2 weeks ago, been playing it nonstop ever since. It's price is higher than the games might cost on the App Store (for instance, on your iphone or iPad) but having it available on the 3DS is wonderful, the 3D effect is just right without being distracting, and the gameplay is impeccable. I notice a couple of glitches when all your birds have been flung, sometimes the game takes a while to register you are, in fact, done.. but I think this is just a normal flaw in the game as the same thing happens on my version of Angry Birds Space HD on my iPad. I would gladly give this game a 9/10 because it's such a wonderful addictive way to blow an entire snowy afternoon. Did I say these games were addictive?! I'm enjoying RIO and Seasons, never played them before but they are equally as addictive as the classic version which is also included. Plus, there are a few unlockable courses as you progress through the game. There are a few extras here and there, but there's so much content here it could literally take you months to finish.



grumblegrumble said:

P.S. Jon, you say these games would cost you $3 for all three, you are definitely wrong with that figure. Looking at the App Store right now on my Mac, these games go for $4.99 a piece plus tax. Three games would equal about $15-20 after tax. I don't see a problem paying $20 for these 3 games plus unlockable content and levels, PLUS having it on your 3DS. That's like, what, $3 or $4 more than these games would cost individually? Not bad!!



marakassi said:

I find it quite boring honesty.. plus you can't erase save data. Animation style is fun though. I like Peggle (DS) is quite similar (simple gameplay -style), but much better than this.

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