What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bad Piggies is the latest game from the developer of the massively successful Angry Birds series. Instead of flinging creatures with slingshots, though, the game consists of inventing various crafts for the pigs to use to accomplish their goals (such as earning stars or collecting pieces of a map). It's an approach that requires a lot more thought than the earlier series and could frustrate younger players, who just want to play with the pigs. There's an in-app purchase option that may seem mandatory after you've been stuck on a level for a long while as well. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- solving puzzles
- making new creations
Engagement, Approach, Support
Bad Piggies looks good, with entertaining audio, fun characters, and a simple organization and rewards system. It's not easy to make and control crafts, but the graphics are glitzy enough that kids will keep trying.
Gameplay emphasizes controls over engineering, and the app lacks scientific terminology. Concepts may not transfer well, although the sandbox mode allows bit more flexibility.
Hints can be cryptic and sometimes not very helpful, and the app tempts kids to buy solutions or "pay" with a Facebook Like. The stars are the only saved data; saving kids' solutions would be a good addition.
What's it about?
Kids create carts and aircraft out of items -- including wheels, fans, boxes, springs, and balloons -- so the pigs can retrieve pieces of a shredded map by rolling, jumping, or flying to it. Players attempt to unlock star boxes along the way. There is often more than one way to solve the puzzles, but figuring out the best technique requires concentration and creative focus. The game also features a sandbox mode, which gives players access to all available parts so they can create whatever they want, largely without restrictions, to get stars.
Is it any good?
Let's answer the primary question first: Is Bad Piggies as good as Angry Birds? No. It's an entirely different sort of game, but it's one that ultimately isn't as welcoming to players, especially young ones. It's an app that demands attention to detail and focus (and that's often still not enough).
Is it a bad one, though? Not by any means. In fact, it's quite good -- with well thought-out puzzles and a terrifically fun premise. It may not be a game you can play for just a moment, but if you have time to sit and think, you'll find yourself captivated and determined to finish a level (or get all three stars). Or, perhaps, you'll simply enjoy experimenting in the game's unlockable sandbox mode. Either way, it's a game that is less about mindless fun and more about challenging you.
Families can talk about...
Have kids use LEGOs or similar building kits to make real-world machines to achieve goals.
Give kids a limited number of materials and let them create a vehicle on their own, with only their imagination guiding the way.