Peppa Pig is now a worldwide sensation, with merchandise and TV shows airing in countries all over the world. To mark its 15th anniversary, Peppa’s latest (and most popular) show was released: My Friend Peppa Pig!
“My Friend Peppa Pig” is a British animated children’s television series that was produced by Aardman Animations and aired on Channel 5 from 7 October 2011 to 20 December 2016. The show stars George, an anthropomorphic red-headed pig with a big nose who lives with his family in the fictional town of Peppa, England.
Peppa Pig, My Friend — an interactive animation (pic: Outright Games)
You get the opportunity to experience the world of Peppa Pig in what may be the most faithful TV program adaptation ever done.
We’ve been concerned for years that young children don’t have a simple path into video games that doesn’t include microtransactions and little or no gameplay. The finest games of the 1980s and 1990s were, on the whole, family friendly, but that is virtually never the case nowadays, unless it’s a Nintendo game. Only a tiny percentage of console games are appropriate for children of all ages, and nearly none of the truly excellent ones are among them. As a result, the games that do eventually introduce children to the realm of conventional video games seldom provide a good first impression.
If Peppa Pig had been in the 1990s, she would have been cast in a 2D platformer, as was the case with practically every movie or cartoon at the time — regardless of how well-suited the IP was to being transformed into an action game. Peppa definitely isn’t cut out for this, so although there is a jump button, this is primarily a point-and-click adventure.
This isn’t the first video game based on the program, as any parent knows, but the previous ones have all been edutainment applications for mobile phones and web browsers. That’s all great – anything that helps youngsters acquire fundamental skills and ideas is a good thing – but as the program’s first big(ish) budget console game, My Friend Peppa Pig is primarily concerned with enjoyment and serving as an interactive episode of the show.
Rather than being an adventure game, My Friend Peppa Pig begins as a role-playing game, with a surprisingly good character building tool. The game’s premise is that you’re a new character at Peppa’s school, and you get to choose what animal you want to be, what color you want to be, and a range of additional cosmetic options, such as whether you want to stroll about wearing a pirate or top hat all day.
We tried the game on a five-year-old Peppa Pig lover called Henry, who has only ever played touchscreen mobile games unless he’s been keeping things quiet while visiting friends’ homes. That seemed to make him the ideal target audience, and although utilizing a favorite nephew as a test subject seemed strange at first, it was intriguing to observe how fast he adjusted.
My Friend Peppa Pig’s main attraction, and what impresses even adults right once, is that it looks and sounds just like the cartoon. A short look at the screen would lead you to assume it’s the program, and most, but not all, of the characters are voiced by their normal performers (a couple are visibly different, and it’s new Peppa – because the previous actress became too old for the part).
We start to wonder whether little Henry had ever used a physical controller before, since he swiftly grasped how to control his character and utilize the primary action button. Prompts for its usage are practically the sole onscreen display, and they only show when you’re close to an interactive item or a talkable figure.
Before even running into Peppa, you come across a muddy puddle, and learning that jabbing the button lets you to hop up and down in it instantly sent Henry out on a fit of joyous laughs (in Henry, not us – though it was very entertaining).
When you arrive to Peppa’s home, you are introduced to her family and the game’s first ‘puzzle.’ Mummy Pig urges you and Peppa to go hunt for George’s toy dinosaur, which gives you an opportunity to meet Daddy Pig and explore the home and its myriad diversions. This contains a change of clothing and Peppa’s toy box, which you can take about with you and play with anytime you want – similar to a vehicle you can roll across the floor.
From Peppa’s home, you may drive to the playgroup (through Mr Bull’s roadworks) and then wherever else, from the seaside to the snowy mountains to the starch-based fun of Potato City.
My Friend Peppa Pig is cute and hilarious, exactly like the program, but it’s unclear if it has any value as a video game, given that it isn’t attempting to be educational. While there is no actual gaming, it does teach young players how to utilize physical controls and, like other video games, dramatically improves hand-to-eye coordination.
The puzzles aren’t quite puzzles in the LucasArts sense, but keeping track of discussions and imagining logical locations for misplaced goods is a decent introduction to the basics of gaming.
The main issue is that switching between places takes a long time — we played the game mostly on the Switch, but the load times aren’t much better on the Xbox Series X. There’s a decent 20 second delay between sections that comes without notice and may easily be triggered again and again if the player walks back the same way they came by mistake.
Moving between regions not only makes the wait more annoying, but it also resets everything in them, with discussions and lost dinosaurs returning to their original form and everyone introducing themselves again, even if you’ve already met them ten times. Even though what are effectively unskippable cut sequences are just a few seconds long, they rapidly wear on your patience, and if the narrator joins in on re-describing things, it all becomes quite aggravating.
We’d want to argue that the loading time delays are particularly torturous for youngsters, but Henry appeared astonishingly patient of them at first, most probably concocting tales for his future children about how there was no such thing as rapid loading when he was a kid. He still wanted to play the game the following day, but his focus drifted after that, and he became much more interested in playing ‘real’ games on the Switch instead (our vernacular, not his).
Peppa Pig, My Friend is a family-friendly show. (Photo courtesy of Outright Games)
It’s difficult to sum up My Friend Peppa Pig because, although it’s a good method to transition young children from mobile phones to consoles, it hardly qualifies as a regular video game. There are just a few distinct locales, each with a small number of interacting items and people, so seeing everything (as we did after Henry went to bed) would only take an hour or two.
Apart from learning the fundamentals of controlling an onscreen character and completing objectives, the only real gameplay consists of a small selection of vehicles to control, including a hot air balloon, as well as activities such as kite flying and a game of catch that require some basic knowledge to enjoy.
News about games:
We’re not going to assign My Friend Peppa Pig a score since it’s evident that it’s not a really excellent video game, assuming it even qualifies as one. There’s no doubt that a lot of work went into developing it, and that youngsters of the right age will like it – but that pleasure will probably only last a few sessions at best. You’ll have paid £35 on something that isn’t actually that much more engaging than a free smartphone or web game, and surely has less instructional value.
It may be beneficial in teaching children how to play conventional video games, but whether or not they need assistance is a choice that only a parent can decide.
Summary of My Friend Peppa Pig
In a nutshell, it’s one of the most faithful TV adaptations ever made, but its worth as a video game is arguable, unless you want to teach your kids how to use buttons instead of touchscreens.
Pros: It looks precisely like the cartoon, and the UI is incredibly simple. Many of the characters have the same voices as in the program. Accessible to players of all ages and ability levels.
Cons: There isn’t much in the way of typical gaming. It’s a headache to have long load times that reset your progress and character interactions. Within an hour, you may easily see all the game has to offer.
Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC are the available formats. Cost: £34.99 Outright Games is the publisher, while Petoons is the developer. Date of Release: October 22, 2021 Age Rating: 3
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Frequently Asked Questions
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