The issue of immigration is a particularly thorny subject, especially in the US, and so it’s perhaps little wonder that Apple decided to ban Owlchemy Labs's original Smuggle Truck, which saw you driving a vehicle filled with illegal immigrants over the US border.
Smuggle has since been changed to Snuggle, and you’re now delivering stuffed animals to a zoo, so the question is can the physics-led design compensate for the loss of its satirical sting?
To be honest, at times, it does feels like two games stitched together in a slightly awkward way - the dark forests and caves you speed through hardly fitting locations for a zoo.
The tone feels inconsistent too; perhaps it’s the knowledge of what the animals once were that makes it curiously disturbing when their ragdoll bodies hit the ground.
But if the visuals are a compromise, the game itself remains a finely crafted time killer.
Don't lose your load
The objective is straightforward enough: navigate obstacle-laden landscapes and reach the finish line with as many animals aboard your truck as possible.
You hold your thumb on the right side of the screen to drive right, and on the left to slow down or back up. Tilting your iDevice allows you to adjust your truck’s orientation in mid-air for that perfect landing.
It might sound simple enough, but after a gentle introduction you soon realise just how difficult it is to keep your cargo onboard. The tiniest bump in the path can send several critters flying through the air, and there are plenty of bumps.
And that's not forgetting the ramps, logs, boxes, and stacks of TNT all designed to lighten your load.
Flying through air
It doesn’t help that your cargo is so lightweight, though occasionally this can be a blessing in disguise as they cartwheel through the air - those few precious seconds giving you the time to race forward and catch them as they plummet earthward.
That said, you’re not really expected to make it to the end with all animals intact. You can finish a stage with a bronze medal for limping over the finish line with just one stuffed critter in the back. Naturally, silver and gold medals require you to rescue more in a shorter time.
The Ark badge gives you as much time as you need to reach base with a full complement of creatures, while the Speed Run achievement is attainable as long as you have one left when you reach the zoo gates.
You can occasionally replenish your stock, too. Passing signs sends a boggle-eyed fuzzy spiralling into the sky – if it lands in the back, it counts towards your tally. A rocket power-up affords you a temporary speed boost, with the added bonus of a protective cage to keep your passengers safe.
Our only real quibbles are with some occasionally lacklustre level design, and the unavoidable fact that those with larger thumbs can easily obscure dangerous obstacles while steering.
With over 40 levels across four difficulty levels and the promise of user-created stages to come, Snuggle Truck offers a decent-sized challenge for your money.
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