After releasing many years ago on platforms such as the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64, Psycho Pigs makes a somewhat surprise return on Nintendo 3DS thanks to Bergsala Lightweight.
With the original release remembered for arriving alongside a provocative advertising campaign, Bergsala casts such controversy aside to deliver an arcade-action title that tries not to put a trotter out of place compared with Jaleco’s classic.
That being said, the edgy artwork penned to promote the game is once again entirely at odds with the multi-coloured swine that inhabit it. Whether the muscular pig wielding a blood-stained chainsaw or the svelte female officer landing an uppercut, neither represent how Psycho Pigs occupies your time nor the characterised pigs that you play as.
It is said that pigs can fly, but the game takes a far more menacing approach in placing such porcine creatures in quaint arenas where, against the backdrop of a jovial soundtrack, they discover a newfound talent in hurling bombs at their squealing opponents. These each have timers on them, and, once grabbed by any player, start to tick down. You must, therefore, be quick to throw them in an opponent’s direction, gambling on how late to leave it.
Practice makes perfect, and the central Tournament mode is certainly best place to start. With three difficulties to select between, this simply sees you take on rival porcine in an increasing number of knockout rounds. The harder the difficulty the busier the battleground, even if the AI doesn’t notably bump up in ferocity.
Each opponent is eliminated once they have been on the receiving end of a merciless explosion, but Psycho Pigs is more lenient toward the player in providing multiple lives per round. Inattentive players can still lose these fairly quickly, with the relatively small arenas resulting in particularly frantic rounds where you will be dodging bombs coming at you from all directions while being wary of chain explosions.
That mischievousness is only heightened by the fact that you can slap an opponent in the chops to stun them, or duck down to see bombs fly over your head. This only adds to the laughs that you will have with Psycho Pigs, but, expectedly, your games will become far more riddled with humour once friends are involved.
This is where Versus mode comes in, welcoming as many as four players to connect either through Local Play or online on Nintendo Network. Auto-matched rules will either see players compete on score or the highest number of times that you defeat an opponent, while you are free to create your own room and choose which rules to use.
This is more of the same though and Psycho Pigs clearly falters in not trying hard enough to differentiate the experience. An Endless mode can be played alone or with another player, but, again, this is simply the same content repeated under a differing rule set.
There are some nice extras like scanned design documents from Jaleco’s original game, although these are all in Japanese without any available translation. While a Sound Player lets you listen to arranged and original sounds at your leisure.
There is fun to be had with Psycho Pigs, but, despite the game’s undeniable mirth, it lacks enough content to maintain your attention beyond quick bursts. That’s not worrisome enough to see this little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home, but it certainly disappoints in not satisfying our appetite.