148Apps Network Post
Developer: PAN Vision
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I’m curious, what is it about pigs and birds that the two just don’t get along? Seriously, pirates and ninjas seem downright civil when compared to these two holiday dishes. This time around, the Peckers (i.e. woodpeckers) are threatening the pigs’ home (i.e. a tree) and it’s up to the crafty swine to fight back. How? By way of white-knuckle aerial dog fighting.

Pigs in Trees seems like a rather standard game involving tracing flight paths with a finger and watching the flying pork chop follow them. At least at first. After only a few levels, however, it becomes more apparent that things are nowhere near that simple. Two elements are at play here that make this an altogether different beast than those “land some flying thing” games. First, power-ups ranging in use from simple shields to dropping trails of fire will get tossed out randomly and can have a dramatic effect on a game. Some are more useful than others depending on the situation, but each one has a purpose. Second, the Peckers start to bring out bigger and bigger guns. These arbor assassins may start out simple, but soon they’re sporting shields, using sonic screams and dropping bombs. Each new unit requires a different strategy to beat, and finding the right path to link them all together is essential to survival.

The mix of new Peckers (except the blimps, which I hate) and power-ups add a much needed sense of urgency to the standard line-drawing formula. Later levels especially can really get the blood pumping. Finding that perfect path and completely decimating an entire squadron of Peckers is incredibly satisfying, too. Plus there’s a whole other season/chapter in the works (Spring), which will presumably add at least another 15 levels (bringing the total up to 60) as well as another kind of Pecker or two.

I’m a little disappointed that the announcer voice can’t be turned off, because he starts to get a little annoying after a while, but that’s not my biggest issue with Pigs in Trees. My big problem is that sometimes the line doesn’t stop where I’d intended, making the pig overshoot a target and fly into harm’s way or, even worse, fail to lock-on to a Pecker. That second thing I mentioned is a big problem because, while he may gun down anything between him and his target, he won’t shoot at diddly if he’s not locked-on. I’ve lost more than a couple of levels because he just didn’t shoot when I wanted him to.

I’m hoping the shooting thing will be addressed in an update, but even as-is Pigs in Trees is a lot of fun. I’ve usually found games like this to be boring, but this one kept me so hooked I almost missed my stop on the train. Multiple times. It’s definitely worth checking out.

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