Noble Nutlings review

You can take the employees out of Rovio, it seems, but you can’t take the desire to make insistently chirpy physics simulators out of the employees. Did Boomlagoon want to populate its game with bug-eyed, oddly shaped animals who talk in irritating blips and blurps, or are they merely the victims of the very App Store market conditions they helped create?

But if Noble Nutlings looks like Angry Birds, it plays more like Trials, as you accelerate your rickety wagon full of quite-contented-looking-really squirrels through a series of twisty courses, hurtling through loop-de-loops, nudging drawn bridges until they fall, and sailing over gaps, all the while adjusting the pitch of the vehicle by tilting the iPad or iPhone.  It’s a much more forgiving game than that of fellow Finns RedLynx, however, one that avoids frustration but fails to replicate Trials’ immensely responsive sense of complete control. The physics are unpredictable at times, too, with explosive TNT crates sending us flying in unexpected directions and seemingly minor scenery collisions leading to crashes and respawns.

A cynical, if predictable approach to monetisation also sours the experience, with two and three star ratings increasingly difficult to achieve without the aid of a finite boost meter that can only be replenished via items bought with Nutlings’ soft currency. You need stars to access every fifth level, though Boomlagoon does let you spend yet more of your coins to bypass this arbitrary gate. It’s a structure that turns your boost into a precious resource rather than a genuine mechanic, and a decision that sucks some of the fun from an otherwise enjoyable game.