Like me, if you have a child who is around the age of five, it is likely that you have endured many, many hours of Peppa Pig: one of the most popular and successful children shows of the last 10-15 years. To say my daughter is obsessed is truly an understatement, and being the stellar parent that I am (and to cheekily and slowly begin to introduce my daughter to video gaming), I took it upon myself to not only play but also 100% complete My Friend Peppa Pig, a game you really do need to complete for one specific reason.
It’s important to stress how every inch of this game was designed for young children that LOVE Peppa Pig. If you have a young child who doesn’t watch Peppa Pig, they’ll have zero interest, and if you’re an adult—again, with no interest in Peppa Pig—steer clear. I’ve yet to see my daughter more excited to grab a Switch controller than when I loaded up My Friend Peppa Pig, and her excitement didn’t stop there.
My Friend Peppa Pig allows players to live out their fantasy of being a part of Peppa’s world. As you begin a new game, you are prompted to create your own character with a plethora of animals to represent you best, clothing colour options and accessories should you wish to add some. The animals include a dog, wolf, horse, rabbit, fox, sheep, mole and mouse. We opted for a sheep, as she wanted to be Suzy Sheep. She was very disappointed to meet Suzy in-game and insisted on refusing to interact with this “copy-cat”!
An initial concern of mine was the gameplay element. Thankfully, My Friend Peppa Pig is incredibly user friendly and introduces the super simple controls well. To move your character, you use the left stick, and interacting with almost anything uses the A button. That’s pretty much it for the bulk of the game. Things that are interactable will display the button to press, ensuring that gaming novices don’t miss out on a new interaction, and yes, you can jump in muddy puddles as often as you like!
Outside of the muddy puddle jumping, there is plenty to do with Peppa and co. As your unique character, you arrive at Peppa’s house and from there on, you dictate where you go and what you do. You want to go to school? Jump in the car with Mummy and Daddy Pig and head left. You want to go skiing? Go right from Peppa’s home and hop in Miss Rabbit’s hot air balloon! You want to visit Grandma and Grandpa Pig and head to the beach with them? You can! All of the locations you can find in Peppa Pig are here. From Peppa’s bedroom to the museum: the possibilities are truly endless for a young fan.
Alongside the exploration of My Friend Peppa Pig, events will trigger when certain actions are taken, and you’ll be tasked with simple puzzles that you and Peppa must solve together. Keep in mind that this game is tailored for a very young audience; a character in the scene will usually state what needs to be done. For example, when Tiddles the Turtle was stuck in a tree, we were told to speak with Madame Gazelle, she then told us to find a ladder, to which Peppa responds that she remembers seeing one outside of the school.
My Friend Peppa Pig, is less of a game and more of an interactive experience, and in all honesty, that’s all it needs to be. My daughter was responding to the characters in the game with things like, “Okay, let’s get the ladder!” and, “Follow me, Peppa!” For anyone who has seen Peppa Pig, it’s a rare sight to see Peppa so consistently obedient.
Whilst you can essentially go anywhere in the Peppa Pig world, there is one area that is so hyped up beyond belief, the moment it was mentioned, my daughter was transfixed on going there: Potato City. This is where the problems arise. We searched far and wide, encountering newer places and triggering even more events, like the hugely not annoying at all Bing Bing Song, yet we could not find Potato City. This was the first time my daughter had experienced a video gamer’s rage—and it was not pretty.
My Friend Peppa Pig holds the player’s hand in terms of gameplay and puzzle solving, but in terms of direction and how to get to a specific location, the handholding is almost non-existent. After spending way too long visiting the same locations over and over, we looked online for the route to Potato City. As it turns out, to unlock Potato City, you must see every location and complete every single event that exists in My Friend Peppa Pig. Only then, will you have the ability to unlock Potato City, where you must still complete a specific action to access the cut scene that takes you there. Without looking online, or with my help, my daughter would still be sitting on the sofa in an endless cycle of muddy puddles, Bing Bong Songs, and hot-air balloon riding.
As explained, this game is geared toward very young children, which is why some mechanics—or lack thereof—don’t make sense. The pacing is very, very slow, and text cannot be skipped due to the voice acting and it all playing out as your own TV special. A fast travel option would have been an excellent inclusion; maybe talking to Mummy or Daddy Pig could present a map where you can choose where to go. A way to tally where you have and haven’t been would have been great when we began our Potato City quest. What’s more frustrating is if you are in the middle of an event or puzzle, and you accidentally go right instead of left, or vice versa, taking you to a new area, that entire puzzle or event disappears and you need to repeat previous actions to unlock it again. A great example of this is when we were on our final puzzle before Potato City would become available, and we had to help George find his dinosaur (Dinosaur… Grrr!). We couldn’t reach it and needed an adult’s help. My daughter recalled that Mummy Pig is sometimes in the field to the left, we went left and she was there, but she wasn’t the correct adult. Upon returning, the dinosaur toy had vanished and was back in George’s hands. Turns out, we needed to ask Daddy Pig who was back at the house, so we returned to the place where the event triggered, and did it all over again. Thankfully, I convinced my daughter that George had just lost it again (silly George), and she had the idea to check where it was last time.
Finally, Potato City was ours, and oh boy was it… fine? My daughter spent less than four minutes in Potato City, before leaving, running around other places for a bit, and then politely requesting me to get her Play-Doh out. My Friend Peppa Pig has not been played by her since.
For review purposes alone (I promise), I dove back in with my own character and experienced areas my daughter had on her own, and, yeah, it’s 100% not targeted at someone like me, or many gamers. I had achieved my own 100% completion, in just under an hour, with very little desire to replay any areas. Experiencing My Friend Peppa Pig solo, did make me appreciate specific areas of the game more, namely the controls and the visuals.
An issue that many child friendly games have is the “cheap-ness” they can often display, because some would assume that graphics aren’t too important to younger audiences. My Friend Peppa Pig doesn’t have this issue at all. The game is identical to the television show, visually identical. I say visually, because the moment Miss Rabbit opened her mouth, my daughter exclaimed, “That isn’t Miss Rabbit!” – and she was right! But aside from that oddly on-point spot, many of the show’s voice actors are present, literally putting you in Peppa’s world.
For those parents that don’t really want to be sat with their children monitoring how long they spend playing My Friend Peppa Pig, there is a parental control in the settings menu. When switched on, Peppa will, around that time, say it’s time for bed and just go home and sleep. A very neat addition.
My Friend Peppa Pig is not a game for the masses. Instead, it carefully caters its gameplay, visuals, story and controls to those they know will play it most. However, without my assistance and some online help, Potato City would have only ever been a dream for my daughter, and I imagine many other children around her age. And in all honesty, it isn’t worth the trouble! Aside from this gripe, it is an impressive looking game with easy controls that puts the individual in their own episode with one of their most beloved characters, Peppa Pig.