Review: The Trash Pack (3DS)

Truth in advertising

Are you a fan of the Trash Pack toyline? Your answer to that question dictates whether or not you'll find anything of value in The Trash Pack for 3DS, as there's nothing noteworthy about this release apart from its connection to that franchise.

The Trash Pack forgoes story altogether and presents you, simply, with a menu. From this menu you can choose to play one of four mini-games, or look at your "Digital Poster." That's it.

The Digital Poster simply tracks how many of the 179 characters you've unlocked. You unlock these characters by playing the mini-games and either collecting them in mystery boxes, or earning aluminum cans that are exchanged automatically for new characters.

One nice feature, we guess, is that you can mark on the Digital Poster which of these toys you own in real life. It's a nice way of tracking them for insurance purposes, or so we like to tell ourselves.

This means that the entire strength of the release rests upon these four mini-games, and, as you might guess, that's a problem.

The best of them is probably Trash Drop, in which your goal is to launch a character — chosen at random — from the lid of a trash can up to a crane, knocking the garbage it's holding into a receptacle down below. It's exactly as simple as it sounds, but once the cranes start moving you'll need to pay a fair amount of attention to your timing and trajectory, making it easily the most involving game in the set. You launch your character by pressing A and then releasing it when the power gauge is as full as you'd like it to be, which gives you an idea of how simple the controls are.

The simple controls make sense for a game collection aimed at children, and the fact is that they are every bit as responsive as we would like. This is particularly evident in Trash Attack, in which you guide another random character around a landfill, picking up aluminium cans and avoiding a bombardment of trash that comes flying in from off camera. In this game you can walk left and right, and jump with A, and the tight controls make it a fair challenge. We're not particularly big fans of The Trash Pack, but we definitely think it could teach a thing or two to lesser mini-game collections in terms of control.

The third game is Trash Catch, which is played sort of like Atari classic Kaboom!, only you're sliding a garbage truck back and forth across the bottom of the screen. Miss enough falling trash and your game ends. It's that simple, but it also never becomes much of a challenge, and that's a problem. You can drive back and forth collecting trash endlessly, and the game doesn't get fast enough to ever require much attention. It's a case of the simplicity becoming a drawback rather than a feature.

The worst game is unquestionably Trash Toss, which asks you to slide the stylus along the bottom screen in order to launch a character into a particular bin, but there's no indication of how much power you're putting behind it so it's a pretty blind case of swiping and hoping for the best. Compared to the above three games, it feels particularly unfinished.

And that, wall to wall, is everything The Trash Pack has to offer. As a retail package, it's pretty paltry. At least two of these games, however, could have done well as individual downloads, especially if they received another pass in the way of refinement. With a little extra attention they could have become competent time wasters, but as it stands they're buried in a forgettable collection that really is best to leave in the...well, you know.

Conclusion

There's simply not enough content in The Trash Pack to justify its price, but we will say that the mini-games — forgettable as they are — control well and serve their modest purposes. It's a release that suffers not because it does anything particularly wrong, but because there's almost no reason to recommend it. Die-hard fans of the toy line may enjoy adding this to their collections, but we doubt anybody else will be impressed.

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