Have you ever heard of Psycho Pigs? What about Butasan? Was there ever a point in your childhood where you recall controlling a pig that would grab bombs and throw them at other pigs in a bid for barnyard supremacy? The answer is probably no, but there was a game that tried to make that a reality for people in the 3DS age. Clarice Games, Mechanic Arms and Bergsala’s Psycho Pigs is a digital revival of everything that mattered about the original game, packaged in such a way that everyone can compete to be top hog.
Butasan is hardly a household name. The original Jaleco arcade game was never released outside of Japan. The only time a variation of that version made it outside of the country was for the Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 as Psycho Pigs UXB. But even then, few really had a chance to know and appreciate this free-for-all that was surprisingly tactical. It was only in 2015 that Arcade Archives: Butasan brought the original game to the PlayStation 4 and Psycho Pigs, as Tatakae Butasan, appeared on the 3DS in Japan. It introduced this simple, yet effective competitive gameplay to a larger audience.
In Psycho Pigs, you are placed in a fenced-in pigpen. Other pigs will be present. Your goal is to be the last survivor. How? You grab bombs, each with a number on it, and chuck it at your opponents. Once it lands and hits, a countdown begins. The 3DS remake’s campaign gives you three lives to start and tasks you with surviving as long as you possibly can. You can acquire certain power ups as you play, perhaps giving your pig more armor. Different kinds of bombs can appear with varying timers. You can duck and hide in bushes, though explosions’ fire will destroy cover. You can even build up your stats as you go through various rounds and levels. It becomes about doing all you can to survive, and exploiting pen layouts and various items to cook your opponent’s bacon.
The best way to play Psycho Pigs is with other people. The game only has offline multiplayer, which let you play competitively or cooperatively in various sorts of tournaments and modes. This works in the game’s favor. After all, the niche nature of Psycho Pigs and its age means it would not have the most active online community. You can see this by uploading your high scores from the solo tournaments. (Very few are there and it is super easy to find a spot for yourself.) The ideal way to play at this point is get four friends with 3DS systems together and convince them to all play it with you.
Which might not be too difficult, given how well Psycho Pigs works on the 3DS. This is an ideal handheld game. It doesn’t need a lot of buttons or extensive skill to play. Most matches will be over in a few minutes. You each have your own screen, so you can focus on the action in front of you. It lets you clearly see and enjoy what is happening and keep track of the power ups currently available to you.
Psycho Pigs brought back this classic is a fun way. The 3DS is easy to pick up and enjoy. It is perfectly geared toward short gaming sessions. Especially if you have friends who are also around and willing to play a short, silly game with you. It makes it the perfect time to bring Butasan into your life.