Rovio fans worried that their favorite mobile gaming company had jumped the shark with Amazing Alex can rest easy: The maker of Angry Birds can still design fun and exciting puzzle games. Before we get into Bad Piggies, though, let’s recall the major reason why Amazing Alex failed: It was absolutely pointless. Unlike Angry Birds, whose goal is to help a flock of cantankerous-but-lovable birds recover their beloved stolen eggs from smarmy green pigs, Amazing Alex revolved around helping a bored kid come up with new ways to put a soccer ball into his laundry basket. Bad Piggies rectifies this right away by giving you an explicit, understandable motivation: The pigs are hungry, they want to eat a damn omelette, and it’s your job to help them.
From there, the game gives you several different obstacle courses designed to help the pigs gather the supplies they need to capture the birds’ eggs. But since pigs don’t fly (pun intended!), you can’t simply launch them out of a slingshot. Instead, you have to design wacky vehicles that propel them toward their goals involving fans, bellows, balloons, dynamite and several other contraptions that look like they came straight out of Wile E. Coyote’s ACME Co. catalogue.
It’s in the vehicle design and implementation that Rovio takes the best aspects of Amazing Alex — that is, the creation of zany contraptions that help the protagonists navigate their environments — and makes them feel fresh and engaging. It also helps that it’s fun to play a game as a bad guy every now and then, since the wicked pigs are much easier to root for than some dweeby kid whom I wanted to shove into a locker after hanging out with for 15 minutes.
So the bottom line is this: If you were turned off by the direction Rovio took with its last game, give Bad Piggies a try. Because if you can’t enjoy watching a pig drive a badly constructed car off a cliff and onto a pile of dynamite, you probably don’t have a soul.