Bad Piggies is the latest hit mobile game from Rovio, developer of the hugely successful Angry Birds franchise. It's not a carbon copy of Rovio's original blueprint, but we expect it to be every bit as successful. Here's our Bad Piggies for Android review, also available for iOS, PC, Mac and, soon, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
First released for iOS in December 2009, Angry Birds remains one of the most popular mobile games of all time, with millions of downloads from Apple's App Store and Google Play. Rovio has been milking its cash cow ever since, with Seasons, Rio and Space sequels, and an online store that offers a range of merchandise from plush toys, clothing and iPhone and iPad cases to bedding, books and stationery. See Best Android Apps.
We've all bought into Rovio's loveable characters. There's Yellow Bird the dive-bomber, Black Bird who explodes on impact, Big Brother Bird who demolishes everything in his way, and White Bird who drops bombs, for example. And then there are the macaws, bulldogs, toucans, parrots, marmosets and more, introduced in later episodes. But arguably the most important character is the one who features in every level: the egg-stealing Bad Piggy, without whom the Angry Birds would have no purpose; they'd be weapons with no target. It's high time the evil green swines swapped stealing eggs for their own spin-off series.
Unlike Angry Birds, in which you must fire avian missiles to take out Bad Piggies, there is no such violence in this sequel. A cute showreel of the type we've come to expect from Rovio aids your understanding of this new mission. It appears that having found a map telling them exactly where to find the Angry Birds' eggs, the Bad Piggies have managed to lose said map in Piggy Island. King Pig has ordered his minions to recover the map, and you will collect a single scrap of this vital information with each level you complete.
Bad Piggies is more of a cross with Rovio's Amazing Alex than it is a carbon copy of Angry Birds. In the former, you must interact with various toys and other items to create a chain reaction that allows a football to land in a basket, or pop a balloon let off in the direction of a pair of scissors. In Bad Piggies, a hand-made contraption comprised of propellant devices, wheels, springs, TNT, balloons, umbrellas, engines, sand bags, fizzy pop and more enables you to manoeuvre obstacles, getting your Bad Piggy to the finishing line and a step closer to victory in Rovio's mobile war.
Bad Piggies operates on the same three-star rating system that's become synonymous with Angry Birds, and which has since been incorporated into a plethora of games by developers hoping to build on Rovio's success (read our Bunny Shooter for Android review for an example of just one). There is no baffling scoring system here, though; zoom out of a level to see exactly what is required of you to achieve full-marks, whether that's to complete a level within a certain amount of time, collect all the stars, build a contraption without using a specific part or get to the finishing line unscathed.
You can choose to play in either Ground Hog Day or When Pigs Fly chapters, both of which include 36 free levels, plus nine bonus levels. You'll need to complete a level to move on to the next, and a bonus level is accessible only after you score a given number of stars in the four levels preceding it. Extremely challenging but very fun Sandbox levels can also be unlocked, in essence the equivalent of boss levels, in which you can select any of the tools available throughout the chapter to build a vehicle capable of enduring one mega-challenge. A fourth chapter is simply labelled Coming Soon, welcome evidence of Rovio's promise to continually add free updates.
There is no single right way to build your cart: several combinations might get you to the end of a level, although not all will allow you to do so with no damage and within a certain amount of time. The game is made more difficult in the sense that you need not only create a winning vehicle, but you must monitor it throughout the level, toggling on and off the engine, opening an umbrella or popping a balloon with precise timing. Even with the correct combination of parts, it can take several goes to win all three stars.
A hint book can be useful in helping you to build a workable contraption for each level, without you needing to visit YouTube for a walkthrough (of which there are many). Alternatively, if you're stuck, you can hire a mechanic to build your vehicle. You get three free mechanic tokens for liking the game on Facebook; thereafter, it costs $1.99 for 10, $5.99 for 35 and $9.99 for 65.