Canned Laughter Drowns Out What Pigs In Trees Does Different

Canned Laughter Drowns Out What Pigs In Trees Does Different

Can we cut the crap with Angry Birds satires already? I’m not talking about the direct ripoffs, which you see on Facebook, flash sites and popup ads congratulating you for winning an iPad 3. I’m talking about games whose wink-and-nod visual style, method of scoring, and “story” don’t give themselves enough credit for what they do that’s actually different.

If you’re going to snark on Angry Birds, bring some credentials that suggest it is the derivative (like Siege Hero), not you. With Pigs in Trees (for all iOS devices, 99 cents) we have a game that is in no way like Angry Birds yet struggles constantly to suggest that it is.

If it’s derivative of anything, Pigs In Trees is more like Flight Control albeit with comedic dogfighting that takes a while to become challenging. In the game, you are a porcine aviator tasked with defending your tree base from aggressive and, what else, angry birds. You’ll draw a flight path with your fingertip. Once the plane comes in range of a foe, it will fire automatically.

You can multiply your score by cleaning off two or more villains with a single line. Powerups will repair damage, add a spread fire, lay aerial mines and give you a speed boost.

Your enemies have variable weaknesses and threats — one can only be attacked from the sides or behind; another can only be shot from ahead or behind; a third cannot be fought head on; a fourth moves slowly and lays mines, etc. The key to winning gameplay is drawing as long a line as possible, which means predicting where something will be when you arrive in the vicinity.

Throughout the game, the peppy soundtrack, cartoon style and madcap violence all elbow you in the ribs that this another hilarious pigs versus birds conflict, except–wait for it–you’re the pig. It’s not to say this game can’t be lighthearted, but I think it would have been much better served by different characters.

Pigs In Trees is not a bad concept. It’s somewhat novel, in fact, but its needless glomming onto Angry Birds‘ tone and motifs obscures what actually does set it apart.

Pigs in Trees [iTunes]

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