Bad Piggies review: Hands on first look
We go hands-on with Bad Piggies, Rovio's latest contraption building physics puzzle game
Bad Piggies is a new game from Angry Birds developer Rovio. It’s something of an amalgamation of the company’s previous titles - a spin-off of the Angry Birds series. It’s set in the same universe, but also features gameplay similar to Amazing Alex.
Instead of playing as the birds, who wanted to retrieve their stolen eggs from the pigs, this time you are the pigs and you want those eggs.
Unfortunately, King Pig’s dastardly plan gets shredded in a fan and scattered to the four winds, so you’re tasked with crafting various machines to retrieve the scraps of paper and piece them back together.
To get them, you have to negotiate a series of levels, each with different terrain and obstacles.
In Angry Birds you’d gradually expand your selection of task-specific birds for launching out of a catapult to destroy the piggy fortifications. Here, you’re being constructive and using a toolbox (which builds level-by-level) of various parts to build machines which will carry you through the world.
And it’s all done in a bumbling, ramshackle style, these pigs aren’t making Formula One cars that’s for sure - you’ve got a weird variety of springs, wheels, bellows, fans, balloons and even bottles of coke and boxes of TNT.
All of this stuff works in very different ways, but it’s mostly about propulsion.
As usual with Rovio games you’re introduced to new parts and functions slowly and it’s later on you’re encouraged to get creative.
To make machines you have a series of boxes in which you can place parts (including a piggy pilot) from your menu into whatever configuration you like – some levels limit the number of boxes, the available parts and number of each part to make things a bit more challenging.
There’s also the whole ‘three stars’ scoring system from Angry Birds making a return – finishing the level is one thing, finishing it with the most points by building just the right contraption is another matter entirely and not for the feint of heart.
The pace of the game is slower and more methodical than Angry Birds, but ultimately it’s far more entertaining and rewarding because, unlike Angry Birds you’ve got a lot more creativity and flexibility in how you play.
When you finish a level you really can pat yourself on the back for thinking outside the box, which is very satisfying compared to the grim determination needed to finish some of Angry Birds’ more demanding stages.
Bad Piggies is also just outright daft and we found ourselves grinning while playing just because of the silliness of it all, this certainly goes some way to making the pigs more endearing characters than the birds ever were.
There are currently two chapters in Bad Piggies: ‘Ground Hog Day’ and ‘When Pigs Fly’, the former dealing with land-based vehicles such as carts and cars, while in the latter you go where pigs aren’t supposed to – into the air.
The menu promises more chapters are ‘coming soon’ and it’ll be interesting to see where Rovio takes this series, already we can envision some aquatic stuff both above and below the water, ‘Seasons’ style expansions could be enjoyable and then of course there’s always the option of following in the footsteps of Angry Birds Space.
There’s also an unlockable Sandbox mode featuring several different large-scale land and air courses, here you’ll gather together your unlocked parts and have a bigger canvas of blocks to build with.
You can then go nuts in experimenting with various setups, exploring the landscape and collecting pickups for points.
This is a really fun mode if you’re getting exasperated with a particular level in the campaign or if you just feel like trying a bunch of crazy stuff out without any particular objective.
Bad Piggies is presented in the same cartoon style as Angry Birds and the level of polish here is very impressive indeed. Animations are smooth and the graphics are suitably bright and colourful. Backgrounds are detailed and interesting to look at.
In summary, Bad Piggies might be harder, more drawn out and not as instantly gratifying as Angry Birds, but there’s more depth here and it’s ultimately a more satisfying game as a result.