The Game: Bad Piggies
The Device: The Droid X, still chuggin’ along
The Price: Free (ad-supported) on Google Play, $0.99 for App Store
The Basics: Is there a chance that Angry Birds set the bar too high for Rovio? Without the game no one would know about the Finnish developer, creator of such games as Mole War and Bounce Touch for the super-popular N-Gage. Obviously they’re absolutely massive and successful right now and have raised a ton of money thanks to their ridiculously popular game, but will they ever be able to follow it up with anything nearly as big? As our fearless leader pointed out last week, Amazing Alex wasn’t as successful as hoped. Bad Piggies should be an easier sell- it’s an Angry Birds spinoff that sees you controlling the pigs instead of the birds. Rather than getting back at the birds for their suicide attacks it turns out that the pig are actually great inventors, and love constructing things almost as much as Amazing Alex.
Each level will see you building vehicles from various objects in order to navigate a level and get the pig safely to the end. The wooden and stone blocks that the pigs hid inside in Angry Birds are utilized as the insides of vehicles and you’re given everything from fans, wheels, balloons and even shaken soda bottles to provide motion. 33 different objects are available to ensure a ton of variety.
The Review: There’s no two ways about it. This is a great game.
The one thing it’s not, though, is a casual game. Rather than just changing the trajectory and aim of a slingshot, here you’ve got countless variables to worry about as you make these vehicles. Besides the construction you’ll also control the moving parts, the propellers and umbrellas and such, and it adds a real degree of skill on top of the strategy.
As in Angry Birds you can get three stars in each level. One star you’ll get just by crossing the finish line but the other goals for the other two constantly change level to level, from smashing special blocks along the level to keeping your vehicle intact. Some of the stars can only be gained by not using one of the items you’re given to build with. It’s generally the most helpful one too, which forces you to experiment with new tactics.
Trial and error is the name of the game here, especially in later levels as the vehicles get bigger and more complex and you’re given more to play with. Fortunately failure is almost as much fun as success, since the pigs end up getting exploded and smashed about and there’s likely a small part of you that wants the pigs to pay for their egg-thievery. Whereas with Angry Birds you feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, Bad Piggies gives you new challenges almost every level. There’s a great difficulty curve that introduces you to each and every object.
The game comes with 90 levels, 18 of which have to be unlocked by getting stars. A number of sandbox levels offer up even more challenges by giving you sprawling levels populated with 20 stars. The only way to get across these giant levels is by earning more objects for the sandbox, which is done simply by getting stars throughout the game. The more objects you have the bigger the vehicle you can build, although getting all of them is an incredible challenge.
Bad Piggies hit the #1 spot in the app store in three hours, a record even for Rovio. I don’t know if Bad Piggies can keep up the sales like that- it ultimately is too much of a core gamer’s game to keep the casual gamers going, but it deserves to be a success.
Best of all is that it seems to already be getting the fantastic support of their earlier titles, as Rovio’s announced that the first update will be released in the next few weeks, called ‘Flight Into the Night’.
The Final Grade: A