Triple the trouble, one-third the content
Ever wonder what would happen if you combined the animal-flinging physics of Angry Birds with the match-three gameplay of Bejewled? We hadn’t either, but Triple Trouble (not to be confused with the Beastie Boys song) provides a unique, albeit imperfect, approach to this hypothetical matchup.
Your furry alien companions (known as the “Triples”) are looking for the means to return to their home planet of Trigalax. Their only means of transportation activates when they gather together in equal colors of three or more, giving them the energy to teleport off to their home planet.
By swiping your finger forward, you launch a Triple into the air. Each stage contains various nooks and crannies for Triples to lodge themselves into, and your main goal is to use these slots in order to store similar colors. In an interesting addition, most stages offer a handful of “re-throws”, which allow you to throw a Triple that has already landed. This allows for correcting a poor toss, or more skillful maneuvers for matching more than three Triples at a time.
Your minimum requisite for completing each stage is to make a certain number of matches (most stages require three). While you do lose 10 points if a Triple falls off the stage, you’ll never fail a stage for too many falls. Combined with the points you earn from matches, and the single 500-point collectible on each stage, the only way to “fail” a stage is if you’ve clogged all flat surfaces up with too many non-matching Triples.
In concept alone, Triple Trouble is a unique approach to puzzles. Combining the skillsets of physical tossing with mental prowess leads to some interesting combinations. While early stages will give you four or more slots to place differently colored Triples, it’s the crowded later stages that really force you to think about where you throw each color. It never gets too challenging, but it does become thought-provoking.
The big issue holding Triple Trouble back from a greater amount of success is its execution. One of the larger problems with the throwing mechanic is the control scheme. In order to throw a Triple, you simply swipe in the direction that you want to throw. Because Triples travel at various speeds based on how hard and far you swipe, it can become frustrating when trying to launch Triples at a specific trajectory. While we hate to encourage developers to rip Angry Birds any more than they have, a pull-back slingshot mechanic might have been a better way to gauge the power and speed of each throw.
While the issue of sensitive controls isn’t a deal breaker, the lack of depth is. While there are a few additional physics-based elements, such as teeter-totters, springs, and fans, many stages are nearly identical to each other. In addition, there aren’t very many of them, with the low count of 48 stages to complete before you’re done. The entire game can be completed in a single setting, which isn’t a great trait to have when you consider the 150 level depth of the iPhone’s biggest franchise.
Like the Triples themselves, Triple Trouble is harmless. It’s not a bad game by any means, but we craved a lot more out of its unique mechanics than we ended up getting. If it truly does receive the “more levels soon” that just about every developer promises these days, it’s definitely worth a look. Until then, however, it offers too little to compete with the industry standards.