Hoggy 2 is about as simple, yet charming, as they come. You’ll spend your time flipping from floor to ceiling and back again as you attempt to collect all the fruit in the 200+ stages on offer. Each level offers a new twist on things, from patrolling enemies to strategically placed bomb blocks that will kill you in a single hit. While it’s app store origins are plain to see, there’s a decent puzzle game here for console players to spend a chilled out evening or two playing through.
Upon the start of the game, your blob-like children are abducted by the Moon Men. This sets you off on a quest to save them – naturally. In order to do this, you must enter the many, many jars on your way. Inside, you’ll find puzzles to solve – doing so will award you with a key. Collecting these will allow you unlock more puzzles, which in turn will unlock more gates etc. There’s really not much more too it to be honest. But, each of the puzzle levels are well designed, with the difficulty ramping up quicker than you may expect.
Each puzzle has the same goal – collect all the fruit. However, various enemies and hazards are in place to make your life difficult. Blocks that can only be destroyed by knocking an upside down spiked enemy (think the koopas in Mario), bomb blocks that will detonate on touch and many more beside. Our playable character has a somewhat limited move-set, mind. Pressing A will see them shoot to the opposite surface. This only manifests in up and down, so things don’t get too complicated, but it still gave me pause for thought when I flew up in to a spike trap I hadn’t seen before I set off. Once in the air, you can manoeuvre to the side a little, but you cannot head back to your previous surface until you’ve touched solid ground. Some surfaces (and items) will lend us with various perks too, such as a sturdy rock to destroy one thing in our path, or turn us into an ice block sliding about and crushing enemies in our way.
Using these simple mechanics, the levels are well designed and fairly balanced. There are the occasional difficulty spikes, but you can complete each section in any order, so can always skip and come back later if needed. There are optional extra star challenges to complete, unlocking their own gate too, for those looking for a further challenge. These will need you to clear stages in slightly harder ways to collect.
But, with our fragile hero only able to withstand a single hit, you need to be planning ahead. Some items can be moved about, lending a modicum of strategy to things. Placing objects correctly before setting off a chain of events will be the only way to succeed. Thankfully, restarting is super quick (though I’d have preferred a dedicated button rather than having to use the pause menu each time). Levels are short too, with even the harder ones I came across easily finished in under a minute – once you’ve solved it of course. While completionists will no doubt aim for every jar, the locked gates are fairly generous with their requirements, so even less seasoned players will be able to keep proceeding.
There are a handful of boss fights at certain points also. These will test what you have learnt up until facing them, though to be honest they are not the hardest things in the world, nor the most fun. They appear to exist to give some of sort justification to the story, but really, they just break the pace of the game. Thankfully, you’ll likely breeze past them and can get back to the fun part of actually clearing the puzzle jars.
There’s also a kid mode, which is a super truncated and much easier version of the main game. At just 20 levels long, it’s not gonna last forever, but it’s great for the little ones to join in and play along. And if you’re feeling extra creative, rounding out the package is a level editor. Here, you can make levels as easy or hard as you like, though there didn’t appear to be anyway of sharing them online. But still, it’s a good way to give the kids a little more to do, or even test yourself with a super challenging stage.
There’s not really much to complain about with Hoggy 2. While it’s hardly likely to set the world on fire, what’s here is a cute, simple, but challenging puzzle game that is a fun way to spend an evening. The overly bubblegummy visuals and music get a bit much after a while, and the kid mode could’ve done with being a tad bit longer, but overall if you’re in the market for something short and sweet, you can much worse than this.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.