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Psycho Pigs UXB

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Released: 1988

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: Amstrad CPC

Publisher: US Gold

Developer: Software Creations

Psycho Pigs UXB is a bizarre action game based on a bizarre arcade game from Jaleco that was titled Pigs And Bombers, which, in the tradition of bizarre arcade action games, never actually found a release outside of Japan.

The premise of the game is so simple that it actually fits quite cutely into a standfirst (see above). If you require a more visual description of the game then imagine you and your friends are pigs. Now envisage that you and your friends love dodgeball. Now imagine you want to blow all your friends up, so in a bid to liven up proceedings you decide to replace your tools of combat with weapons of mass destruction. Welcome to the head-spinning world of Psycho Pigs – one glowing satsuma-orange presenter away from being Smash T.V. meets Pets Win Prizes.

After a brief intro screen, showing one of the various multicoloured piglets strutting on to the screen like eager and porky contestants on some kind of futuristic game show – but with their identities replaced by a random foible like cowardly, obstinate and testy – the action begins.

A snout-faced referee wearing a leather mask blows on his little whistle and all the pigs scuttle around the screen trying to lob bombs at each other, while the ref chucks more ammo into the arena. The winner of the competition is the last pig standing. To help shovel in more tension, each bomb displays a timer showing how long remains before it goes bang.

With each passing stage, the difficulty, volume of pigs and bombs, and speed of gameplay will increase, and it doesn’t take long for the action to get ferocious. To soften the difficulty, certain pigs will drop power-ups when they explode, some of which will increase your speed, add points to your score, or, in some kind of weird send up to Bubble Bobble, suit your pig in a blue dinosaur costume to give you an extra hit.

Psycho Pigs is a bizarre game that’s so wonderfully simple to grasp, and, because of this, it quickly grows annoyingly addictive. Right, who’s got the pork scratchings?

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