On paper, the title offers a lot. You have a bargain-bin price of $2.99, attractive and well done graphics with 1080p support, online leaderboards and decent Sixaxis support. Unfortunately, when you fire up the game you realize that it's not enough, the one thing Sony forgot in to put in is decent gameplay that rewards skill. Hit the jump to find out what went wrong.
The game starts off pleasantly enough, with the mama Piyo dropping a clutch of eggs into a hollowed out tube/tree shell that serves as your playing area. The background is a pleasant countryside view with a crisp, handpainted look that is both cheery and appealing to casual gamers. The eggs themselves are a variety of colors and are nicely rendered, with nary a stray pixel or jaggy edge anywhere in the entire game to detract from the attractive graphics.
Unfortunately, the game starts to fall a part almost as soon as you start playing. The way you move around eggs is just plain broken, not to mention difficult to describe. As you can see in the above screenshot, you highlight a one line of eggs at a time by pressing up or down on the D-pad. Once you've selected a line, you press left or right (depending on which side of the screen you're on) and you push the three eggs in the accordian-like storage compartment into the main playing field, which will then force three eggs into the compartment on the other side of the screen.
The only eggs you can actively switch around are the three in the accordian egg compartment (or AEC as I call it), which you you can rotate by pressing the X or O buttons. It's a frustrating gameplay element, which leaves the eggs in the middle of the playing field almost untouched and difficult to position. Once you do finally get four eggs of one color in a line, you have a few seconds where you can rapidly swap eggs in and out to try to create additional lined up eggs for big-scoring combos.
And this is where the real annoyance of the game comes into effect -- the most effective way to score points is just to press buttons randomly. By rapidly switching lines and swapping the eggs in the AEC around quickly, you can build up fairly large combos with no skill or thought. In fact, you are much more likely to build up large combos this way than you are via careful, studious play -- a fatal flaw in a puzzle game.
There are some tweaks and twists to the gameplay to make it more entertaining, like being able to shake the eggs around by shaking the Sixaxis (which is a lot of fun) and special eggs and power-ups. They also have online leaderboards, which includes the now standard and still awesome Friends leaderboards too. Unfortunately, all the parts just don't add up to a game that is worth putting a lot of time into.
Much has been made about the difficulty of reviewing casual games, and it honestly is a little tricky. I mean, this game cost half what the gyro I had for lunch cost, and while it is by no means a game I will continue to come back to -- I'd say I got my 3 dollars worth out of it. The graphics really are quite appealing, and the incredibly easy/random gameplay rewards non-gamers who just want something simple and brainless that looks pretty. If you have $2.99 sitting in your PlayStation Store wallet and want something colorful and bubbly to mess around with for a weekend, then go ahead and try out Piyotama -- just don't expect it to be the chicken egg puzzler you've always dreamed about.
PS3 Fanboy Score: 5.0