Bad Piggies Review
The latest chapter in the Angry Birds franchise is here, only this time you're not playing as the birds, you're playing as the pigs out to capture the birds' eggs. Do these Bad Piggies help push the franchise forward?
Bad Piggies takes a brand new approach to solving levels in the Angry Birds universe. Instead of slingshotting your guys across levels, the piggies have to build a junky contraption and use it to get to the goal line. While the birds were just trying to get their eggs back and get revenge on the pigs, the pigs are doing everything possible to try and steal the eggs from the birds. It's a never ending cycle that only ends in fun for us gamers.
Angry Birds fans are going to notice the difference in gameplay right away. The first few levels are very basic in their approach. You're given a grid before you start the levels. Below the grid are various parts that you'll drag and drop into the grid to build your ride. Put wheels below the boxes, put your pig in one of the boxes, and off you go.
There are two parts to each level -- building the correct contraption, and using it to get to the goal line. You can build the perfect ride, but if you don't know how to use the various components on it in the right way at the right time, you could accidentally junk it and have to start over.
This becomes more evident when you reach the When Pigs Fly stage, which utilize balloons as part of your vehicle. You can build the perfect vehicle, but if you pop a balloon too early or too late while trying to float to the goal line, you'll have to start the level over. Fans, engines, propellers, umbrellas and soda bottles used as thrust come into play later on in the game, making for some interesting vehicle combinations.
There are three stages you can play -- Groundhog Day, When Pigs Fly and Sand-Box. When Pigs Fly and Sand-Box unlock as you collect stars in each stage. Rovio has decided to do away with high scores like in Angry Birds, instead letting the player try and collect three stars in each level. Do this by collecting star boxes, beating the level within a certain amount of time, not using various props, etc. It all depends on the level and adds another layer of strategy to the game. And if you're stuck building a contraption, you can use the Pig Mechanic to build the perfect vehicle for you. Granted, you only have a limited number of uses for the mechanic, but thanks to the magic of in-app purchasing, you can conveniently buy more.
Don't bother going to the Sand-Box stage even after you've unlocked it. You've got to play the first two stages first to unlock more props that you use in the first level of the Sand-Box stage. Otherwise you're left looking at the picture below and thinking to yourself, "Crap."
What's that word I was thinking of? Oh, ya. "Crap."
That's what's tricky about Bad Piggies. You can't just jump from stage to stage. The game requires you play it to unlock more props that will help you later on in the game. The more stars you collect in each level, the faster this mission is accomplished. The game is a lot more layered than Angry Birds, making the challenge that much more complex. The physics are spot on. You'll know right away if you built a Ferrari or a Pinto as soon as you start the level. It's that mix-and-match gameplay that's the main challenge.
But is the game fun? It is once you get past the initial frustration of not being able to build the right vehicle. Each level is passable, you've just got to figure out what you're doing wrong. Once you've done that, you're on your way. Just expect a lot of trial-and-error the further you get. Much more than the stages in Angry Birds. I was getting really frustrated with the game at one point, but I kept chugging along and trying new things, eventually figuring it out. Some gamers might not have the patience for that, expecting everything to be hand fed to them. It's nice to see that Rovio isn't going to coddle you with their games. (Unless you want to pay extra $ for that coddling.)
The graphics are stellar, though the game isn't optimized for the iPhone 5 yet, something that is quite puzzling for such a big launch title. But it sure does look pretty on the new iPad! I would have loved to have seen some fun background animations, like birds launching into structures. That would have been a cool nod to the Angry Birds games. The music is the usual whimsical nonsense that never gets old, and the sound effects are straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. There are a ton of Game Center achievements to keep trophy hunters occupied.And the game promises future content is on the horizon.
Bad Piggies is a nice change of pace for fans of the Angry Birds franchise. Some might get turned off by the difficulty, but if you're patient enough, you'll get through each level. I would have liked to see a bit more variety in the look of the levels though. Despite those small gripes, these bad piggies are going to be hogging up all of your free time.