I don't know when cardboard became a thing in the world of gaming, but a thing it most certainly is.

The Adorables is a pinball game along the lines of Pachinko, and it drops a cast of five cuddly creatures into a world full of tape and cardboard as they search for fragments of a mystic rainbow.

Despite what that sentence might have led you to conclude, The Adorables is actually quite a neat little game.

Like pinball, but cuter

The gameplay follows Pachinko's lead almost exactly. Each level has a specific number of targets that you have to hit with your ball (in this case, an adorable creature) before you can clear the level.

You can move the creature about the level by tapping on the bottom of the screen to create a beam of light that will propel it upwards. Along the way, you can tilt your iOS device of choice to send your character arcing to the left or right.

To add a challenge to simple target hunting, The Adorables gives you a star for each time you hit the array of targets. Clear them with one Adorable and you'll earn one star. Clear it will three and you'll attain all three.

This quickly makes time your biggest opponent in the game, which is why you should take every chance to grab time-extending power-ups when they appear. You'll complete early obstacle-free levels without too much hassle, but later levels all but require multiple time extensions.

Trip the light adorable

Furthering the challenge in each stage is the presence of six colour beams that you have to collect in order to earn the rainbow for a given level.

Mixing in colour beam-collection makes time-management and strategy all the more fun. Soon, every tap becomes a careful attempt to send your Adorable to exactly the right place on the screen so that they can collect a colour beam on the way to a target.

It rarely works as well as you'd hope, and try as you might it's unlikely that you'll collect all six fragments and hit three targets in a single bounce. Thankfully, the game's soothing music and delightful art-style make replaying the levels much easier to bear, and its advertisements are unobtrusive throughout.

Adoring The Adorable

The Adorables is a shining example of what a freemium game should be. There's no currency to collect or crystals to limit your playing time. For the price of a stroll you can download and play The Adorables to your heart's content.

While it's really just a casual arcade game at its core, The Adorables's endearing presentation elevates it beyond the the usual three-star fare. You really have no excuse not to try it out.