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With Bad Piggies, Rovio strays further from Angry Birds success

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Rovio has been under a little pressure to come up with a gaming title that shows it can win over fans with something not named Angry Birds. This past summer, it released the Amazing Alex, a rebrand of acquired IP Casey’s Contraptions and the title did pretty well, initially, though fell well short of Angry Birds success. Now, it’s out today with Bad Piggies, which takes the viewpoint of the pigs from the Angry Birds games.

The physics-based game requires players to build contraptions and vehicles for the pigs that get them to their beloved eggs. Once the device is built, the player guides it toward a map of the eggs, with physics taking over. The title is available today on the iPhone (s aapl) (99 cents), iPad ($2.99), Android (s goog) (free) and Mac ($4.99).

The game is built in the same art style of Angry Birds and should be familiar to fans of the series. But the title is more like Amazing Alex, which also let users set off physics-based chain reactions and create their own over-engineered devices. That title got off to a strong start but has fallen to #112 on the overall iTunes charts and #58 on the game charts, according to App Annie. Meanwhile, the original Angry Birds, three years old now, is #25 overall  in the iTunes App Store.

Bad Piggies, RovioBad Piggies will likely do better because of its Angry Birds heritage combined with the Rovio brand. But in playing the game this morning, I feel like it will also fall short of Angry Birds success, ultimately.

Angry Birds was pure simplicity when you first played it, but the payoff was visceral. It was so satisfying seeing the birds hurtling toward the pigs and seeing all their elaborate structures come tumbling down in different combinations. And all the unique birds with various capabilities created new game play that kept the title interesting.

Bad Piggies feels more complicated up front with less destructive joy. That’s by design, since you’re building something. But the whole act of putting something together in pretty much only one logical configuration and then pressing go is nowhere near as fun as just letting a bird rip in a slingshot. The results are less satisfying as well. If you deliver the pig to the map, you’re done. It’s a little fun to see if you make it there, but there’s not much variance in how a successful run goes. And there’s no glee in watching a big fortress come down.

This is not an in-depth review since I only played a dozen 20 levels this morning. But the early game play makes me doubt that Rovio will have a long-term success like Angry Birds. I haven’t played Amazing Alex in a long time and I don’t think I’m going to look forward to going back to Bad Piggies in the way that I did with Angry Birds. I could be wrong and this could turn out to be a huge hit over the long haul. That would be great considering Rovio raised $42 million on the premise it would be a hit maker. But increasingly, I’m seeing why Rovio stuck with Angry Birds so long: it’s a recipe that works.

11 Responses to “With Bad Piggies, Rovio strays further from Angry Birds success”

  1. I just downloaded Bad Piggies, and agree with this review. It has the same weakness of (not so) Amazing Alex’s lack of action. If you are into the buiding aspect, you’ll enjoy it more than I do. But it appears that there’s only one right structure, and the payoff is boring.

  2. android

    Bad piggies uses more brain power and will probably be more for techies or geeks/invetors that like to build things. Anyone remember a game by Sierra Online called TIM? I say no more…

  3. It looks like a good game, but I don’t think there is another game like Angry Birds anywhere. A good game is what I was hoping for and looks like it is what I will get.

    Angry birds was _one_ game that changed the company from relative “nobodies” to one of the most well known gaming companies in world. I don’t expect them to make similar success with every game, not with every second or even with every 50th. They had made many games already before Angry Birds and there is no reason to think they could have just found the philosopher’s stone and now would be laying nothing but golden eggs. Angry Birds was gameplay of Tetris with marketability of Mario.
    I still think they will do just ok..

    They have learned something about making games attractive though. This has nice graphics and sound. It’s an interesting game idea. What they probably still are more interested about, is how to sell the characters. They are a gaming company so the games always come first, but it’s merch that makes money. They just have to keep finding or making ok games and maybe every few years come up with an interesting character. Disney had Mickey and Donald as their birds and pigs. While those characters still live on, Disney has used half of Grimm’s stories to make ok films and that’s very acceptable to me. Disney’s movies are worth the ticket and this is more than worth the ads or 99c.