Oh, those piggies. If you’ve played Angry Birds even once, then you’ve probably fumed at those green piles of pork and their ability to survive entire buildings coming down on their fat heads (yeah, sneer all you want, Porky–at least all your piglets died in the wreck). Rovio is asking a lot by expecting us to open our hearts to our nemeses, but Bad Piggies demonstrates that the pigs are cool dudes. And you still get to bash them around a lot, so it’s win-win.
Bad Piggies is the sequel to Angry Birds, and like its predecessor, its story isn’t exactly War and Peace (or maybe it is, in a way). King Pig wants eggs, and his subjects immediately begin drawing up plans to reach them. Alas, a mishap with an intern results in the plans getting shredded and scattered (once as bits of parchment, and once more as splinters of wood), so the pigs need to use their engineering prowess and whatever’s lying around to build contraptions that will allow them to collect the plans.
The pigs are eager engineers, but they’re not necessarily good engineers. Still, they do their best with what they have, which includes wheels, motors, boxes, springs, balloons, umbrellas, sandbags, fizzy bottles of pop, and a whole lot more. Your job on each level is to assemble a machine that propels the pigs around the landscape and over to the plans by whatever means necessary. Fly. Float. Go putt-putt. Roll your ham-beast body across that finish line, if that’s what it takes.
Whereas Angry Birds is pretty straightforward (sling birds, kill pigs), Bad Piggies is more open-ended. One level can potentially have dozens of solutions, though it’s not uncommon to have to build a specific rig in order to get where you need to go. In other words, Bad Piggies is quite a bit slower and trickier than Angry Birds, and it’ll be interesting to see if casual gamers likewise turn it into a phenomenon.
But for the most part, Bad Piggies is a gas. Sometimes, it’s downright hilarious. Obtaining the three-star maximum in each level takes significant trial-and-error (and different goals must be met, such as finishing a stage within an allotted time, picking up star boxes, or not going down in a flaming wreck). Needless to say, your vehicles often break up, explode, and throw parts willy-nilly. Your pigs go flying a lot, too: there’s more airborne bacon here than at a Canadian food fight.
You still occasionally stumble into moments of ‘RRGH!’ with Bad Piggies, and they’re made worse by the fact you’re disallowed to skip levels. If you’re hopelessly stuck, you can opt to hire a mechanic who will build your vehicle for you–for a price. Not only do the mechanic’s services cost hard cash (though you can find ways to hire him for free, such as ‘Liking’ Bad Piggies on Facebook), but he only builds the vehicle that will get you to your goal. He won’t show you how to pilot it efficiently, and he certainly won’t help you grab a three-star rating.
Yes, Bad Piggies has problems, but it also has tons of content thanks in no small part to the game’s ‘Sandbox’ option. The Sandbox is a huge open level that gives you access to tons of parts and few restrictions. Your job is simply to build the biggest, stupidest contraption on planet Earth and then keep it together long enough to grab the stars scattered around the tricky terrain. If you’re fed up with the main game–and you will find yourself in need of occasional breaks–the Sandbox is a wonderful place to cool off. You can also get a better feel for how the game’s parts all work together.
Bad Piggies is a fun game that offers lots to do, though it definitely offers a different kind of experience next to Angry Birds. It’s more difficult, for one thing, and slower, and requires a bit more thought and strategy. But given Rovio’s usual exercise of rehashing the Birds themselves, a species shift for the company’s most lucrative IP isn’t necessarily a bad thing.