Whether you call it Snuggle Truck or Smuggle Truck, this physics game offers plenty of challenging fun
Snuggle Truck is an absolutely adorable, albeit frustrating physics-based game for the mobile platform. As the unseen driver of an old truck, your goal in life is to transport tiny, fluff-filled animals into a zoo where they can be assured of a controlled standard of living. I'm not really sure how all that works, but it's a game that has rocket-powered trucks, so I'd assume logic isn't a priority here.
That said, Snuggle Truck is of interest to me for more than one reason. You see, Snuggle Truck wasn't always known by this name. In fact, sometime back, it wasn't a means of transportation for plushies. Granted, the wide-eyed characters that peopled the game then could have probably passed for plushies, but I disgress. Originally, Snuggle Truck was known as Smuggle Truck. As you can imagine, the story was also a little different. Back then you had to move illegal immigrants to the border - an unusual concept that sparked a mountain of controversial news. I had the chance to play with the original incarnation sometime during PAX East 2011 and I can definitely see how the game had to be renovated in order to cater to Apple’s approval process. Flying babies don't go over too well with everyone, after all. (Gamers looking to try the more controversial version, however, will still have that option on the PC and Mac).
Regardless of that speckled history, Snuggle Truck remains a surprisingly engrossing game. Controls basically constitute left and right thumb; tapping in either direction will either cause the truck to break or to speed up. You'll also have to make use of the iPhone's tilt function to control the vehicle as it sails through the air to ensure it lands properly. In addition, there are also power-ups that allow you to boost the truck's speed and have it rocket through the terrain. The 'easy' levels were aptly-named; you're likely to breeze through the initial stages so quickly that you'll begin to doubt their existence. However, the learning curve is somewhat deceptive. Hard, to put it mildly, can be hard. The developers have incorporated shamelessly complicated angles in the later stages. More than once I caught myself cursing aloud as an unexpected slope had me breaknecking into a wall, my cuddle-worthy cargo spilled across the map.
Visually speaking, Snuggle Truck is attractive. Filled with lush, watercolor-paintings reminiscent of a well-done cartoon, the game has a lot of little details to enjoy. From time to time, you'll see little squirrels scampering up trees as you bowl through the landscape. Huge, brightly-colored crystals litter the floor of the subterranean levels. The sound effects are appropriately as well; bright, chirpy and expected of something so cheerful looking. For some reason, I rather enjoyed the way the game will quip 'FUZZY' whenever you catch a plushie pinwheeling through the air.
There's a fair amount of replayability depending on the kind of person that you are. Multiple badges and achievements await unlocking. You won't be hard-pressed to advance through the game. However, acquiring the gold badge or anything more advanced will likely take multiple attempts. At its current price, it offers a substantial amount of gameplay.
- Good combination of touch screen/tilt controls. Great art direction. Satisfying gameplay.
- Some of the later levels may be a little too challenging for some.