When it comes to success on the app store I think most developers compare their progress with that of a little Finnish game company that has dominated the top ten list ever since their game about birds reclaiming their stolen eggs hit the iOS. The unprecedented success of Angry Birds was not only the envy of others, but it put a lot of pressure on Rovio to duplicate this accomplishment. So the spin offs of Angry Birds have hit the store with less, but still impressive, results. Rovio then tried its hand of something new with the Rube Goldberg style game, Amazing Alex. While this game was a solid production, it failed to capture the fickle crowds of iOS users.
This explains what is appealing about Rovio’s newest game Bad Piggies. It is a new game entirely, built from the ground up in the cross platform programing environment Unity. The mechanics and physics are different, and even the story is divergent. Gone are the birds, and instead, we are taking a look at the pigs’ side of the story in their endless quest for some eggs.
Bad Piggies puts you in charge of constructing a vehicle that will safely transport one or more pigs to pieces of a map that will lead them to the eggs they so desire. Like Amazing Alex, you are given a limited but adequate amount and variety of parts to build from. Like Angry Birds, you will have to use practice and skill to finish each level with the ambiguous three stars. Having the correct build alone will not guarantee success, while this allows for a variety of builds that will accomplish your goals.
Each level in Bad Piggies has three goals that much be completed to obtain the stars. One goal is to just reach the finish line, while others are challenges like finishing within a certain time, or collecting star blocks that are usually in harder to reach location. These goals do not have to be completed all at once so you can modify your craft to suit your needs.
The vehicles you will be assembling are junkyard mashups of crates and wheels. To help propel you, there are bellows and fans that are activated from buttons that display at the bottom of the screen when they are on board. The order of the buttons changes between attempts based of the items position in the vehicle. This can lead to mis-taps when you are not looking at the buttons. The size of the buttons and spacing is a bit small for those of us with larger hands. Other items you can attach include bottles of shaken soda that will propel you fast for a short time. Balloons and fans offer lift which can turn your craft into more of an airship. Each level offers a variety of environmental challenges that will lead you to make creative designs that may or may not reach your goals. Just like in Angry Birds, a poor attempt is quickly restarted to get your back at it until you can move on to the next level.
There are three sections in Bad Piggies, the first is mostly lands based machines, while the second is mostly air based. The third is kind of like the star levels in Angry Birds with various challenges with more ridged level designs.
Despite this game’s obvious deviations from Rovio’s previous hit, this game feels so much like Angry Birds in all the right ways. It captures fun and addiction that made players of Angry Birds unable to put it down. I find myself daring my battery and looking for somewhere to charge just so I can squeeze out a few more tries at a difficult level. Rovio has certainly proven that they have the ability to continue making high quality, and addicting games. If you are still reading this review instead of playing Bad Piggies, then you are crazy and need to hit the app store immediately.