Three of the best
If you have a mobile phone then it's almost unthinkable you've never heard of Angry Birds. The puzzle-action game is a true phenomenon, and Angry Birds Trilogy treats PlayStation 3 gamers with a compilation featuring the original game, its sequel Angry Birds Seasons and film tie-in Angry Birds Rio.
New animated cutscenes and interactive backgrounds help to bring the feathered friends to life and inject personality into their characters. With a vast number of settings as diverse as a jungle, a beach and a Halloween themed level to work your way through, it's impossible to become bored. As an extra treat, you can unlock and view an exclusive collection of cheeky bird biographies, concept art and character sketches.
Thanks to glorious cartoon-style High Definition visuals, plotting your pig-pummelling is easier than ever. Now you can fine-tune those precision slingshot strikes with pinpoint accuracy. The jaunty music and surround sound support add to the comical and chaotic atmosphere, letting you feel every explosion and crash as birds go pop, structures topple and pigs get squished.
Ruffle some feathers
Considering the birds don't have individual names and none of them speak beyond giving the occasional angry squawk, it's amazing how connected you feel to them and their plight. Like the animated cutscenes in the LEGO games, humour and personality in Angry Birds Trilogy is conveyed through facial expressions, expert comic timing and the occasional bit of slapstick or comic violence.
In Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, the flock is acting purely on instinct to rescue their eggshell-encased offspring from a bunch of greedy pigs, whereas in Angry Birds Rio your objective is to free exotic birds from cages dotted around a level by smashing them open. Angry Birds Rio also lets you play as Blu and Jewel from the film, and even introduces a boss fight against Nigel, the movie's main villain.
The key to beating a stage is to make full use of the different types of birds you're allocated. Red birds are the most basic and simply smash through objects; yellow birds get a furious burst of speed; black birds explode on impact; white birds drop explosive eggs; and blue birds split into three smaller birds in mid-air for a scattershot strike. More feathery furies become available as you unlock stages and it pays to aim your bird wisely if you're to hit the really big scores.
Revenge is sweet
Wage war against the pigs in a deceptively simple but perfectly executed and fiendishly addictive puzzle game. Catapulting your plucky birds against the structures protecting the porkers couldn't be simpler: you pull back on the left stick to control the force and trajectory of the slingshot, and press the X button on your wireless controller just before impact to unleash the bird's special ability. Using the PlayStation Move motion controller is just as easy, as you can direct the slingshot using an on-screen icon.
The physics-based level design forces you to form cunning plans, especially since the number of birds at your disposal and the order in which they launch are pre-determined. However, you don't need a degree in physics to topple even the most elaborate of barricades combining wood, stone and ice; often it's more efficient to drop another structure onto the pigs with one superbly aimed shot rather than hitting them with a bird directly. And, if you know you've messed up, you can restart a level instantly by holding the Square button for a couple of seconds.
Huge replay value comes from trying for a three-star rating on every stage. With 19 new levels unlocked only after beating the 600 plus original ones, even a wise old bird would have trouble calculating the hours of fun-packed gameplay on offer.