I've been playing Rovio's new game on my iPad on and off for the past day. It's officially out tomorrow. The first thing I'm telling people? It's hard! Way harder than Angry Birds. It's also somehow simultaneously just like it and not like it at all.
It's like Angry Birds in that you're trying to get your characters—the pigs who you used to squash in Angry Birds—from the one side of a level to the other, hoping that the game's physics gives you the lucky bounces you need.
It's not like Angry Birds in that this is no aim-shoot-hope-for-the-best game. This is a game about building contraptions, using the parts given to you, and then driving that contraption from one side of the level to the next. You get a set number of pieces of various types: boxes, propellors, balloons, wings, rockets, etc. You piece them together to craft a crazy car or plane that you think will get you through the level. You have manual control of the vehicle's engines and propellors (or soda bottles... whatever you're using to push things along), so even after things start moving, you need to control what's happening a lot more than you do in many Angry Birds levels.
The video up top shows all of this. It shows the good, the awkward and, most of all, it shows just how devilish the game can be. Making the right vehicle is tough.
A friend who was playing the game lamented that the game's main levels don't encourage enough experimentation. You really do have to make the vehicle that Rovio wants you to make. That was fine with me, I told him. Angry Birds was essentially a twitch-controlled puzzle game. There is a way to three-star each level, but doing that is more about figuring out what Rovio wants you to do than just depending on lucky bounces. That's the same here. There's a vehicle Rovio wants you to make to three-star the level. But figuring out what it is is the devious mystery of the game. The bonus levels, especially Bad Piggies' Sandbox, are for creating crazy vehicles that they didn't intend for you to make.
We shot 13 minutes of the game to show you all of this. Please take a look above.
Bad Piggies will be out for iOS and Android on September 27. The standard version will cost $0.99. The HD version (for iPads) is $2.99. PC and Mac versions will follow.
UPDATE: A Rovio rep says there will also be a free, ad-supported version for Android.