Can one game have two titles and two storylines? Today I'm reviewing Snuggle Truck (Smuggle Truck) and I will explain. Top off the gas tank and make sure everyone is strapped in, we're making a run for the border or the zoo, one of the two.
The original title was going to be Smuggle Truck and the story was going to be that you were smuggler for hire and you were smuggling people of various ethnicities into a non-specific country by loading them all into a truck and literally jumping the border.
Once word got out about the story, controversy erupted. To developer Owlchemy Labs' credit they stuck with it. They noted that the idea for the story came from the fact that one of their employees was going through the long process of becoming an American citizen. Seeing the legal hoops he had to jump through, there was a joke he should have just hopped the border.
Sensing there may be problems getting the game through Apple's approval process for the iTunes AppStore they developed a "plan B." "Plan B" is the official release story.
In Snuggle Truck you are a zoo worker trying to get your pick-up truck full of rare animals safely to the zoo. This story is the only one available on the iOS version of the game. The PC, Mac, and Linux version allows you to play the "director's cut" version of the game. With the click of a button the game can be switched back and forth from Snuggle Truck to Smuggle Truck.
Controls and Gameplay
The gameplay for all versions of Snuggle Truck is the same, get your cargo to its destination. The game is physics based so bumps and jumps in the road can cause you to lose people/animals from the back of your truck. Along the way you'll encounter things such as spots were a "Fuzzy" animal baby shoots up in the air and you try to catch it in the back of your truck, dangers like boxes of dynamite, or a helpful power-up rocket.
Controls, while slightly different between the iOS and PC, Mac, and Linux versions, are fairly similar; accelerate, brake, tilt forward/backward and action. All very simple and straight forward. The PC, Mac, and Linux versions can be programmed to whatever keys you want, if you don't like the default keys.
Graphics and Sound
Snuggle Truck's graphics are crisp, clean, very colorful and cartoony, no troubles here. Locations are varied so you could be driving through the deserts of the south, woods of the north or some unknown underground location. This helps keep things fresh as you play through the game.
The music is fun and doesn't annoy while playing the game. The sound effects match the actions.
Owlchemy Labs got a lot of flack over the original premise of Snuggle Truck and it's nice to see that they planned for the inevitable rejection from Apple. I also applaud Owlchemy Labs for keeping ethnicities of the passengers and setting of the countries varied so it is never really known who or where the setting of "Smuggle Truck" is located. I have to say, all that controversy over the story line did help get a lot of eyes on the game.
The game itself is a fun casual game that can be played easily enough by anyone. Each level is short and quick, so it's perfect for on the go on your iOS device. It is one of those games that is easy to learn, but hard to master as the difficulty moves up. Players can also challenge themselves to unlock various achievements. With its cuddly stuffed animals, kids will enjoy it. For owners of the PC, Mac, and Linux version, a quick switch and it can be a harmless adult chuckle about a sensitive issue.
Future planned updates for the game will make replay value really stand out for Snuggle Truck. Owlchemy Labs will be releasing a set of tools so that players will be able to create their own levels to share with the world. Once this feature is released the sky is the limit for continued fun.
The only fault I give it, is that if you play it for long lengths of time it can get a little boring. It is more a stop and go game that is always fun to come back to later.
I easily give Snuggle Truck a "FUZZY!" 4.5 out of 5.
Snuggle Truck is rated 4+ on the iTunes AppStore for containing no objectionable material.