Unless you've been living under some sort of internet rock, you'll probably have heard of the horrible goose – the one that's been terrorising a small town and making life for its inhabitants a bit of a nightmare. Socks missing, a random assortment of items found in the lake, a broom broken clean in half, slippers forcibly removed, young boys trapped in phone booths… The list of atrocities is endless, utterly mind-boggling, and almost unpublishable. But that's nothing compared to the antics of three little pigs, and the crimes committed against one poor farmhand just trying to do their job.
This is (almost) the premise of Hogwash: a brand new game that's about to join the Apple Arcade line-up from the crew at Bossa Studios. Unlike Untitled Goose Game, created by developer House House, it's an asymmetrical multiplayer game that similarly lets you embrace your rebellious animal side – now with friends!
It's a 3v1 multiplayer affair, where one of you has to play as a farmhand, while the others get the distinct pleasure of rolling around in the mud as one of three cheeky piglets. Their sole task is to get key items on the farm as muddy as possible. Instead of any kind of weapons, you literally just have to leg it around the farm rolling in as many muddy puddles as you can, effectively charging up your piglet with as much mud as possible.
Then it's a case of strategically planning with your piggy pals which of the farm buildings you're going to muddy up first by shaking the dirt from your body as soon as you get into its vicinity. The big advertising sign? The tractor? The brilliantly white, fluffy sheep? Or are you going to go for the big time – the farmhouse itself? Handily, you can get extra mud by charging through the vegetables scattered around the farm, causing additional chaos as you scoot away from the grasp of the farmhand.
The farmhand, on the other hand, is all about trying to keep things clean, and – if possible – hogtying the little pig devils. If you manage to stop the pigs from dirtying either all of the farmhouse, or all the other three targets, you win. And the same goes if you hogtie all three pigs before the timer runs out.
Happy as a pig
The resulting five or so minute-long match is a chaotic scramble to keep yourself up to the eyeballs in mud if you're a pig, or sprinting across the map to protect your livelihood if you're the farmhand. Pigs can ping an item to coordinate their mischief efforts, which is kept hidden from the farmhand, and makes it a much more tactical affair. And yes, I realise I'm saying this about a game about dirty piggies.
But, it's the pure glee in the squeals that emit from the mouths of the pigs that make this game so akin to the antics of our aforementioned favourite goose. There's a playfulness and quirkiness in ditching guns for mud, as Splatoon has done with ink, that really sets this multiplayer apart from the rest. Plus, because it's an Apple Arcade title, it helps that it's super family-friendly. I found myself chuckling away at the chaos of it all as much as I was getting stressed at just how easy it is to end up with rope around your trotters.
For a service that includes so many wonderful titles, there's a certain multiplayer element missing from Apple Arcade. This is quick to jump into, delightfully adorable, and can be played solo, online or with your family and friends on the couch. If you're craving more cheeky animal game antics, you need Hogwash in your life.
Until you can play Hogwash for yourself, why not check out our pick of the best Apple Arcade games right now?