Rovio has revealed the first gameplay footage of the upcoming Bad Piggies, and it’s quite different than expected. It appears as if the ferocious fowl of Angry Birds will have little to do here, as the goal is to build vehicles out of the wood used to build the structures that usually hold the pigs, and get them to the goal. Differently-sized pigs will have different physics effects on the vehicle, and special parts will make the vehicle react in different ways when activated.
Comments have been made as to the game’s similarities to a 2D version of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts which involved building vehicles. Interestingly, this fits in well with Amazing Alex with both being games about building contraptions. Rovio may be aiming for deeper games, ones about creativity, as different vehicle layouts will be possible through the use of the different materials. The game launches on September 27th, and we’ll have plenty to say about it as soon as it is available. Until then, check out the video footage on Yahoo.
After several Angry Birds incarnations, Rovio’s first departure from the series is Amazing Alex, a different kind of physics-based puzzler. Players must build Rube Goldberg contraptions of over 30 different items to achieve a certain goal, like popping a balloon or getting an object to a certain point in a level. Later levels introduce new objects to play with and more complicated scenarios. If this sounds familiar, this is because this is based off of an iPad game called Casey’s Contraptions that Rovio acquired and have now released on more platforms.
What Rovio really did in its conversion of the game, despite few changes to content or mechanics, was to make it control a lot better. There is no text tutorial any more, the opening levels are designed to teach players the mechanics by actually playing with them, instead of having to be told what to do. The controls also make moving and rotating objects easy, without the need for multitouch gestures.
The level creation is very easy to use. Players just have to create a level with three stars in it, then find a way to get all three to guarantee that it is possible to beat. Then the level can be uploaded to the web or shared via email. The whole process is cross-platform, too: the levels are downloaded via web browser, and I created a level on the Android version, and downloaded it on the iPad to test this out.
While Amazing Alex at its best encourages creative solutions, some levels can be frustrating because it requires just so many tiny adjustments in order to beat some levels. Some levels wildly fluctuate in difficulty to the point where one can feel impossible, the next has a completely obvious solution. Sadly, the solution sharing from Casey’s Contraptions is entirely gone. It was a great way to see how a level really works, or how other people saw the level through their own thought processes. Just collecting three stars without any kind of recognition beyond the act feels like a letdown.
The fun of Amazing Alex comes in through the ability to be creative, to get involved. For people who want to get involved in their games at a deeper level than just completion, this will be a great choice. The level creation and sharing is easy to use, and great for replay value. However, for those that are looking for the next Angry Birds, a fun game to try and solve, this may not be one’s cup of tea.
Rovio has announced their first big non-Angry Birds game â€“ at least their first after the massive success of that franchise â€“ and it’s something of a familiar title. The game is called Amazing Alex, and it will involve players building Rube Goldberg contraptions in order to complete objectives and collect stars.
Now, some iOS gamers may think that this sounds like a game called Casey’s Contraptions released for the iPad in 2011, especially with the similar-looking blonde-haired protagonist. They would be quite right, because it is the same game. Rovio has decided to license Casey’s Contraptions, keeping the gameplay and general character design, and turning it into Amazing Alex.
So, what does this mean for Android gamers? Well, it means that the highly-regarded game (89% on Metacritic, and was Apple’s pick for iPad game of the week when it released) will be releasing on Android. The redesigned game is still in development, so there’s no real way to know what’s going to be coming with it. Casey’s Contraptions had the ability to create custom puzzles and share them with other users; will that be making a reappearance? Could that possibly be made crossplatform as well? Will the game be paid, or free to play? What will Rovio be adding to the concept beyond the original release? Those are all still mysteries.
The original game for iPad, which had an iPhone update in testing before it never materialized, has been pulled from the App Store; it’s still there in users’ purchase history if they want to redownload it, though. The developer of the game, Snappy Touch’s Noel Llopis (along with Mystery Coconut who provided the art) commented that “Rovio is a perfect gentleman. Not a Zynga at all.” â€“ showing how the independent development community still seems to regard Rovio with respect, despite Zynga’s many indiscretions. Interestingly, neither will have any connection to the development of Amazing Alex and will stay entirely independent. In fact, Noel Llopis has still been discussing prototyping his own projects while all the stories have come out.
This could be an interesting direction for Rovio to go in if it’s the start of their ‘publishing’ direction. Maybe there are other ideas out there, good game concepts that would be hits if they’re given that dose of Rovio magic? Maybe this is Rovio’s plan long-term: help redevelop ideas that didn’t quite pan out. While the world would love to see a true followup to Angry Birds, a new idea from Rovio, this is a good alternative.