Bad Piggies or Great Piggies?

Bad Piggies is one of my favorite leisure games. The wildly popular game lives in the world of Angry Birds. However, you are actually helping the pigs build vehicles to navigate small levels where they collect boxes and other items, instead of shooting birds at them. The game starts off with very simple tutorial-like levels but gradually builds up to larger levels with more complex designs needed.

Bad Piggies – Easy Level

I chose to write about this game because of how well it exemplifies many of the different aspects of play, specifically casual play, that we have discussed in class. It was almost a no-brainer for me. The contrast between the ease of the first set of levels and the difficulty of the later sets brings to mind the concept of difficulty outlined by Jesper Juul in Casual Revolution. One of the common problems associated with casual games is how the game’s difficulty promotes sustained gameplay. To me Bad Piggies absolutely nails this concept. The ease of the first levels encourages the player to keep advancing and promotes confidence in their ability to play and understand the game almost immediately, regardless of their experience in any video game. As the game advances new aspects are slowly introduced that gradually increase the difficulty of the game to higher levels. For example, the ability for gliding is added before the full ability to fly. These gradual steps ensure that players get to win and win often, while also experiencing a feeling of improvement in their skills that is perfectly supplemented by increasingly challenging gameplay.

Bad Piggies – Hard Level

The game also excels at another aspect of casual gameplay discussed by Juul, the concept of interruptibility. Part of the gameplay for Bad Piggies is focused on time. Many of the levels have time based achievements represented by stars that also become increasingly challenging in a similar way to the levels. These time limits are always reasonably obtainable however, and I consider them to be a good marker of how long the average level would take the average player. Most of these time limits are below 10 seconds meaning that the actual gameplay is very brief, making the game one that is very interruptible. The game also saves whatever you are crafting within each level, meaning that if you are in the middle of building a craft and receive a call your work will not vanish. This is extremely helpful as it allows players to pick up where they left off very easily. I think that by observing the way Bad Piggies and similar games handle difficulty and interruptibility, other developers can learn how to address these issues in their own games to make them more user friendly.

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