Have the past three years left you or your kids bored of tossing birds around on your screen? Has the endless sound of “ba-KAW” from a bird or “Hee hee hee” from a pig left you wanting? (No? Me either!) Regardless of your relationship with Rovio’s popular and highly successful Angry Birds franchise, their latest offering may pique your interest. In Bad Piggies (available on Mac, iOS, and Android as of September 27), you must construct contraptions to successfully deposit your pig at the end point of a level. No enemies to smush or blocks to smash, just designing and operating vehicles that can roll, explode, flap, or fling your pig. Sound easy? Think again.
The gameplay has familiar graphics and menu navigation to anyone that has played an Angry Birds game. Once in the game, however, your first objective is to construct a vehicle by placing component tiles on a limited number of build spots. (You also have to fit your pig inside the space provided! Luckily it can fit inside some of the components, like the wooden cubes.) This is a fun phase where you can experiment and kids can test out their creativity in placing blocks, rockets, explosives, wheels, and “make it move” parts wherever they want on the tiles.
Next you activate game physics and see what happens. Didn’t connect two pieces? They’ll fall apart. Too heavy on one end? It might tip over. Pig not secured well enough? It’ll fall out! Fan or bellows pointing the wrong way? You won’t be moving anytime soon! It can be a painstaking process to figure out exactly what you can do with all these parts. It is also a great learning experience for unintended consequences in design. That fan may look great on the bottom of the vehicle, but if it keeps you from rolling then it isn’t much help!
Once you have an operable vehicle, it is time to run down the course. (Suggestion: scroll around the course while you are building to get an idea of what you’ll need to build.) A tall contraption may not make it through a short tunnel. A fast vehicle may jump too far and miss the end marker. And sometimes, your vehicle may have to be sacrificed to let your pig cross the finish line. Again, this is a great “think outside the box” moment where your kids may outshine you — or have a revelation about their own constrained creativity.
If all that sounds too simple, there are also multiple objectives in each of the 60+ levels. First you need to complete the level, then get stars, and then do it without using certain critical components. If you manage to find a few surprises, you can even unlock “sandbox” levels that let you explore even more!
Overall, it is a great way to transition from the old “point and shoot” of Angry Birds into more intellectually challenging scenarios and creative gameplay. Not bad for $0.99 (on iPhone/iPod)!
Find Bad Piggies online at BadPiggies.com