Most mobile games don’t compare to what has been released on dedicated gaming systems. But, this free to play game features Hoggy, a bright pink alien pig like- thing… that actually holds up quite well. Hoggy has had his girlfriend kidnapped by the evil moon men and it is up to the player to go through conveniently placed puzzle jars and recapture his girlfriend from the evil moon men.
This is one of the better, cleverer yet underrated puzzle platformers to grace mobile devices. The game features 45 fun and challenging levels that progress in difficulty. However, as much as I enjoyed the game there were multiple glaring faults I experienced in this side-scrolling adventure.
Progression in this game comes across naturally as you make your way through levels. The objective is to gather keys from each level that are placed within jars until you have enough keys for the next section of the over world. The option to pass through sections of the world without all the keys creates a nostalgia to that of Super Mario 64 and the star collection progress. Most levels play naturally with challenging puzzles, but every now and then I would stumble across a level that would lead to intense frustration. It is noted that this frustration would not stem from solving the puzzle itself, but from the action it takes to complete it. Most levels involve precise timing, strategic interpretation and a mix of quick reflexes which can sometimes be overshadowed by the controls.
The game involves three ways to control Hoggy, tilt left, tilt right and tap to jump to the top or bottom of the stage. I did however find the tilt based controls frustrating whenever I was in real life motion. The strength of mobiles games is the convenience of play; I found this convenience over shadowed by frustrating tilt controls whenever commuting. Although nowhere near game breaking it was still an annoyance for a game that requires precise control of your character. Other than that when I was motionless in real life the controls felt strong and intuitive.
The levels are simply put collection leads to goal; each level involves a set amount of fruit that Hoggy must collect before obtaining the key. Fruit is placed in clever locations that in most instances the player must solve a puzzle to reach. What makes this game different than other puzzle-platformers is that Hoggy can move across both the bottom and top of the stage. Most levels are short, sweet, and fair, but at some points design choices were broken and would make the game extremely difficult. For example, in the final boss you must maneuver around spikes to reach him while enemies are sent towards you. Sometimes the enemies would spawn in locations that would make the spikes unavoidable, this would happen through Hoggy’s location (and closeness to the enemies) creating where they spawn. On the other hand, whenever going through the challenging levels I found fair, I felt ecstatic upon completing them keeping me addicted for the most part to what is smart level design.
The artistic style is simplistic yet charming. Variation in the actual levels art styles are little to non-existent; expect the same atmosphere coming from each level. Character sprites are well designed to each fit how they go about their actions. A good example of this is how a faced blade that chases Hoggy spins its blades when targeting, showing it is necessary to be avoided and can move in all dimensions. While in stark contrast an enemy that can only walk left to right that will not target Hoggy has feet and a non-aggressive design. Although the art style is simple, it still comes across appealing and unique especially when compared to what is common in mobile gaming today.
The music is by far some of the worst I have heard for a game; it is easily the least developed part about Hoggy. The endless stream of the one, single, mono short bland song that repeats in each level will have you muting the game in under minutes. The sound effects themselves are minimal and simple, but no one sound stood out to me as an annoyance. I personally preferred to play the game without sound, but the in game menu allows for control over volume for music and sound effects.
All in all, Hoggy has its problems. But, the game comes together better than you would expect. Buried beneath simple artistic design, horrible music, and a few frustrating levels; it is a very enjoyable game. I had hours of fun playing through the levels and even chose to %100 it. Hoggy is one of the better mobile games you can try out and I highly recommend it.