Game

The heavily influenced Pigs Can’t Fly brings multiple design and playability motifs, but leaves out a lot of the gameplay from its more enjoyable contemporaries

“Pig has the misfortune of crashing his holy bacon butt in Hell,” goes the description of Pigs Can’t Fly. Sadly, Pig will likely stay there – it’s unlikely many players will find the motivation to reach the end of this by-numbers platformer and save the little hog from his fiery fate. Pulled pork sandwiches all round, we say.

Pigs Can’t Fly’s protagonist was presumably thrown into the devil’s pit due to some clerical error considering its angel wings and halo, but it’s those wings that will help save Pig from the spikes, flappy devil monsters with baseball bats, and big old lava rock monsters. Players are given two controls in each corner of the screen – both of them wings – which help you to move Pig around the screen.

Get the key, get the star, avoid the spikes, repeat.

Get the key, get the star, avoid the spikes, repeat.

The aim is to get to the door at the end of the level, picking up a star, and sometimes a key along the way, avoiding the obstacles, which largely consist of devilishly sharp spikes, bedded into the rock. Getting impaled will cause frequent growls rising up from whoever’s playing – but at least, after you pop, you regenerate almost instantaneously at the start – any delay would be frustrating because of how frequent you get spiked.

Flappy-like

Developers BulkyPix have clearly pulled some design motifs from Angry Birds, but the game itself lacks the quirks, twitches, and character-specific behavior. It’s also picked up a little influence from Flappy Bird (but then who hasn’t these days), but without the speed. Pigs Can’t Fly is very slow, and ultimately, this can make the game dull, alongside it’s predictability, and lack of design effort between levels.

The level design doesn't change much, only the color scheme. But we're in Hell - shouldn't it all be red?!

The level design doesn’t change much, only the color scheme. But we’re in Hell – shouldn’t it all be red?!

It’s a tedious journey through the four acts, each with 20 levels, none particularly differential – moving a spike bed from the right to the left hand side and adding another to the roof may be the only difference between two levels. However, between act one and two some red flappy individuals bumble along. They like to smash you with a hammer, which is a bit of a shock the first time round. They move fairly uniformly, however, and usually all it takes is a quick assessment of their movements before you deftly flap around them.

Overly-simplistic

Movement from the pig itself doesn’t take long to get use to. You tap the left wing to bare left, the right to the right. Pause in between taps and you’ll get a nice rhythm that moves them in the direction you wish. A quick shoot upwards requires you to tap left and right in quick succession. While this will get you out of a bind with one of the flappy things, you’ll usually find yourself soaring headlong into a spike bed within a split second.

We later found out that you don't even need the star to complete the level.

We later found out that you don’t even need the star to complete the level.

Overall, Pigs Can’t Fly is absolutely fine, but there’s nothing about it that encourages you to keep going. It’s first few levels are so simple, that by the time you’ve got a handle on the controls, interest has already wavered.

Price: $2.99 / £1.99
Size: 30.3 MB
Version: 1.01
Platform: iOS Universal
Developer: Bulkypix

Pigs Can't Fly Review: Good Design, but sluggish without variety
Who knew that the oft-ridiculed concept of flying pigs would turn out to be so upsettingly underwhelming?
For
  • Looks delightful, nice and bright
  • We guess the pig IS pretty cute
Against
  • It's far too slow
  • All the influences, without much of the fun
2.9Overall Score