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'Bad Piggies' get a shot at greatness

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This wacky spinoff rewards you for wacky creativity.Rovio

After spending years releasing new games in the "Angry Birds" series, Rovio is now putting its focus on the Birds' foes with the just-released "Bad Piggies."

And no, this isn't just a "Birds" sequel. It's a whole new kind of puzzler, one that will keep you busy for hours at a time – just as any good Rovio-produced game would. You can grab the game for just $1 on the iPhone or $3 on the iPad edition.

[SEE ALSO Angry Birds Trilogy]

In the game, the Piggies find themselves on a tropical island, enjoying the sunshine and seeking out new land with the help of a map. However, a wind gust comes out of nowhere and scatters the map into pieces, forcing the pigs to attempt to collect all the pieces.

Here's where things get interesting. You don't launch the Piggies with the help of a slingshot. Instead, you put together a makeshift vehicle using a limited amount of parts, then send them on their way through a number of complicated levels. 

Sometimes you're able to use the momentum of a steep slope to your advantage; other times, you need to use gadgets like a fan and a bottle of fizzy soda. The goal of each level is to get each pig to the map piece – even if the vehicle falls apart along the way. Each stage gives you the opportunity to earn three stars – the better you do, the more stars you earn.

What makes "Bad Piggies" so interesting is that there's more than one way to finish a level. You don't have to use all the parts provided, nor simply build a vehicle the conventional way. In fact, some levels even award you for not using specific parts. So if you can get to the goal without using a fan or a TNT box, you're rewarded for it. This provides an excellent opportunity to be creative and figure out how to get through each level.

[SEE ALSO Pigs Go To Mars In Red Planet]

Some of the later levels in the game (for instance, the larger sandbox stages) are difficult, and will require several tries just to figure out how you'll get going. But this is one of those games that relies on the "try, try again" rule and yet doesn't wear out its welcome as a result. In fact, you'll welcome the creativity. You can also check the GameCenter-supported online leaderboards to see how you fare against others.

Visually, "Bad Piggies" has the same flair as the "Angry Birds" games, with colorful backgrounds and cute little animations — watching the pigs hop around all smiles at the end of each stage is a delight. It also provides helpful camera options, as you can zoom out and see where you need to go at any time. The sound mostly consists of light, pleasant music and pig snorts, but you can always play your own iTunes library if you prefer.

Though it plays much, much differently than "Angry Birds," "Bad Piggies" is a terrific addition to your digital game library. It's about time they got their big break.

RATING: 3.5 / 4

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