From the initial introdution to this pigs vs birds battle you might think this was another Angry Birds rip-off, but Pigs in Trees is far from just another physics game. In fact, it shares more in common with Flight Control than Rovio's title.
The story, told in the excellent trailer (which you can see on our features section), is that the pigs have been very happy living in the peace and quiet of their tree until one day when the woodpeckers arrive. Not being able to get any sleep, the pigs resort to flying their aircraft at the birds in order to send them packing and get back to sleep.
Which is where you come in. Just as in Flight Control, you draw a line from the plane to your target, but this time you're not sending the aircraft to an airport but guiding the plane to a bird in order to shoot it down. As soon as the pig plane is in range of an enemy it begins to shoot.
The initial aim is to shoot down all the birds in each wave, but there is also an emphasis on achieving combo shots by planning your route so that more birds are shot at the same time. This gets harder as birds of different types are introduced and storm clouds block your path.
In the first few levels the game lets you deal with the common woodpecker, but then slowly introduces screamers, that will scream and damage your plane if tackled head-on, bombers and birds with speakers on their side, all of which need a different attack angle or strategy to be defeated.
In return you get power-ups to repair your plane, fire multiple fast shots, speed up and even spread a wave of fire or balloons across the field. These are simple to set off, just touch the icon and it works. In fact, the whole control system has been well thought out and works perfectly with the fast-paced nature of the game. Despite the wealth of enemies and power-ups, the game never feels too overwhelming.
That's not to say it isn't challenging. Pigs in Trees requires a good deal of strategy to reach a three rosette target on every level (the equivalent of stars). Summer is the least challenging set of levels and takes you through the basics of the game. By the time you get to Fall the challenge has ramped up and the birds learn how to make shields and even bird houses to protect themselves. By Winter you’ll be dodging exploding birds as well as everything that has come before.
Getting through the fifteen levels on each stage won’t take all that long, but coming back to complete the stages with a three rosette rating is a lot tougher and adds the much needed longevity to the game. There will also be a Spring update with another fifteen levels to keep you going once you’ve managed to defeat those woodpeckers on all three of the other stages.
Just as with Flight Control, the game it most takes after, the graphics are tiny but detailed, with a lot of character. Each season has its own unique animations and weather patterns, including thunderstorms in Fall and snow in Winter. Despite the amount of action on screen, the 3GS can handle the game easily, while 4th Generation machines will have the benefit of a sharper picture, it’s still nice to see a game of this quality that can run well on older hardware.
Pigs in Trees is a great title that takes the path drawing formula of Flight Control and adds its own unique spin on the game. It’s a good job pigs can fly after all.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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