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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: Raging Pigs (iPhone)

Most people will have instantly noticed that Raging Pigs sounds like it should be the alternate version of Angry Birds. The developers, EnsenaSoft, have thought to ride the astronomical success of the Angry Birds franchise and use it as a platform from which to launch Raging Pigs, hoping that people will be interested in their game simply because of its affinity in name to the most successful and popular iOS game of all time.

Let's, for the sake of argument, agree that there's nothing ethically wrong with that, before we move on to the next point. Now, one would assume that if you're going to ride someone else's coattails like this, that you would have a game worthy of associating with the real deal. I'm going to insert a gameshow buzzer noise that would indicate an incorrect answer right now; you'd be wrong to assume this because Raging Pigs, although trying to copy the spirit of Angry Birds in many ways, is nothing like the game it wants to be.

The premise of the game is simple; control a pig as a you jump around a stage attempting to squash birds which move in a very linear fashion up and down the screen. Why is the pig in such a rage as to be willing to commit ornicide, you ask? Beats me, since there is no storyline to this game at all. Whatever the case may be though, you are asked to take charge of a murderous porker and, in classic platformer style move left to right, and up and down, using a virtual D-Pad in the bottom left corner of your screen. Since I've mentioned the controls, lets start with my criticism of that first.

The movements of the pig are nothing short of clunky. There is no flow to his motion as he moves with almost Q-Bert or Pac Man-like rigidity. The D-Pad is difficult to use so there's also the option of switching to a virtual joystick. I found this even more cumbersome so I switched back to the D-Pad. On the bottom right hand side of your screen you have a button with a picture of a crate on it. Walk up to a crate, press and hold the “crate” button, then move either left or right and you can push or pull the crate. This is useful in trying to make the stage more navigable for your bacon-maker and you can also crush birds between, and under, crates. Be careful though, as you can get smooshed under a crate yourself if you move it in the wrong direction.

The gameplay itself is very repetitive but not in a good way. Sure, a game like this is meant to have an addiction factor which comes from wanting to master the gameplay over a variety of stages but Raging Pigs seems to be missing some vital element. I found the stages to be more frustrating than entertaining and felt more likely to put the game down after completing a stage than to go and try the next one. The birds just move up and down with varying speeds and only ever move one block across at a time so they're quite predictable. The music and sound effects are also quite terrible. The noises are grating and seem completely incongruous with the game, which meant I turned the game to silent-mode very quickly.

Its not all doom and gloom though as Raging Pigs has managed to have some positives. The graphics are cute and, while not as clean cut as Angry Birds, still hold some charm. Bonus pickups in the game that add some degree of interest are chili peppers to make your character invincible, crossbows, fire platforms and protective helmets. There is Game Center integration too, so you can keep track of your scores and achievements and each stage has a rating system based on how fast and how well you complete the stage, so players can keep coming back until they get all three eggs on every level. The free version has 20 stages while in the full version there are 168 levels to keep you occupied so there's plenty of content there for people who really like the game. Also, if you're playing on a iPad you can download a virtual gamepad for your iPhone so that your fingers don't obscure your vision on-screen.

For a game that is basing a lot of its marketing on sounding like an alternate version of Angry Birds, Raging Pigs does not live up to expectations. Its difficult to get into the game when all the elements that make it up just don't gel properly; from the controls, to the gameplay and even the music and sound effects, Raging Pigs just doesn't run smoothly and is, to be frank, quite disappointing.

- Dom S

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Review: Raging Pigs (iPhone)
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