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Critics: ‘Bad Piggies’ is… not bad

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Bad Piggies, Rovio's first truly original game since Angry Birds, hits app stores everywhere today, putting the focus on the light-fingered, egg-loving pigs that have long tortured the feathered protagonists.

It's a blend of familiar territory and new mechanics for the developer, blending well-known characters from its hit series with the building elements of Amazing Alex (the company's rehashed version of Casey's Contraptions that came out earlier this year). Players must build a craft out of the inventory they're given at the start of each level to let the pigs complete their goal.

Will the pigs prove as popular as the birds? Are players ready for a game without catapults?So far, critics are pretty happy with what they're seeing — though they're stopping a bit short of the adulation Rovio is used to.

Polygon's Chris Plante notes that the game's build-a-cart mode is one that takes attention and patience. As a result, "unlike Angry Birds, it's not as easy to play on a subway or during a coffee break".

The Guardian agrees, saying "Bad Piggies requires more skill, so should please more-hardcore gamers. But it runs a very real risk of frustrating more casual players."

While the gameplay is being called out for its difficulty, critics are unanimous in their praise for the game's sandbox mode, which lets players build any craft they can dream of, then use it to collect stars.

"If you're fed up with the main game--and you will find yourself in need of occasional breaks--the Sandbox is a wonderful place to cool off," says Slide To Play. "You can also get a better feel for how the game's parts all work together."

Bad Piggies's biggest failing, beyond its difficulty, seems to be that it's very much a solitary experience. While you can brag about your score on GameCenter, there's no way to strut your engineering feats among friends.

"It's just a shame there are no real social features, aside from Game Center achievements," says PocketGamer. "It would be brilliant to show off a particularly insane contraption to a friend, but short of physically lugging your iPad to his house it's not possible."

The verdict? Bad Piggies is anything but a bad game, but doesn't yet soar quite as high as those Angry Birds.

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