Bad Piggies Review: This Birds Sequel Is A Worthy Successor
Rovio has launched Bad Piggies, the latest entry in their highly popular Angry Birds franchise, and this time it’s the egg-stealing pigs who take center stage. Rather than being just a rehash of the Angry Birds formula, Bad Piggies is a build-a-vehicle puzzle challenge that delights.
The pigs of Bad Piggies are after the Angry Birds’ eggs (of course!). There’s only one problem: their plans have been torn to shreds and scattered across the landscape. It’s up to you to help them get it back by building makeshift, gadget-powered vehicles to navigate each of more than 60 levels. Along the way, you can gather extra stars and find silver skulls, then go play in the Sandbox — an open level that allows you to build and explore with more freedom.
The core of each level in Bad Piggies is the building phase, where you assemble makeshift vehicles from boxes, wheels, fans, springs, and other items. How can you get a pig to the map piece? Each level gives you a building grid of a certain size, plus a limited selection of parts. In the early levels these vehicles are pretty obvious; but soon enough the options grow, and you’ll find yourself rebuilding many times to complete a level.
This building phase can be both fun and frustrating. If you get too frustrated, you can call in a pig mechanic to build the “perfect” vehicle for you; this is sort of like the Mighty Eagle of Angry Birds. Unfortunately, like the Space Eagle in Angry Birds Space, the mechanic pig isn’t “buy once, use always,” but instead “buy charges, use them up, buy more”. Sigh, I hate IAP. [And speaking of spending more, note that, like all other Rovio releases, the iPhone and iPad (HD) versions of Bad Piggies are separate purchases, despite being exactly the same game. Ugh.]
Once you’ve built your vehicle, you set it into motion … but you’re not done. Navigating vehicles is the next challenge. Timing things just right, so that your vehicles stops and goes and flips and jumps at the right moments, can be both really fun and really frustrating. The physics of the game are solid, and so the vehicles are realistically rickety and prone to breaking. Not that breaking is always a bad thing; after all, it’s the pig, not the vehicle, that has to get across the finish line.
Currently, Bad Piggies comes with two sets of levels. I like how different the two offered sets of levels were — one ground-based, one air-based. I wonder if Rovio will be able to continue to iterate with different setups; I imagine a water level not far off, and maybe ice, and maybe pigs in space? It will be worth seeing how they differentiate.
It’s worth noting that there’s a lot of Amazing Alex, Rovio’s other Rube Goldberg-esque physics building puzzle, in the DNA of Bad Piggies. It’s a slower, more thoughtful game that requires you to build contraptions, then trial-and-error your way through a level. That said, it’s a game with a broader appeal than Amazing Alex, in that (1) building a vehicle is more fun and less thought-intensive and (2) stars gained in each level are cumulative, so that you don’t have to execute a single “perfect” run to get all three.
That said, the DNA of Angry Birds is still strong in Bad Piggies. Besides the pigs themselves, the game sports a fun destructive element — wood splinters, TNT explodes, and pigs go flying as you engage in crazy driving and vehicular mayhem. It’s got a zany spirit to it that it shares with its Bird predecessors. And of course, there’s that “one more time” urge that all great puzzle games have.
Bad Piggies is a great game that will appeal to many. It doesn’t quite hit that sweet spot of portability, quick play, and low skill that Angry Birds does, but neither does it aspire to the level of lateral thinking and deep attention that made Amazing Alex harder to get into. Rovio had a tricky needle to thread here between capitalizing on the fame of Angry Birds and offering something new, and I think they nailed it.
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5