A sometimes fun but never thrilling physics-based racing game.
While there doesn't seem to be much of a story within Noble Nutlings the game, there is a rather interesting story behind its development. It's been created by a development studio known as Boomlagoon, and that studio is comprised of three developers who once worked on a small mobile gaming franchise you might have heard of - Angry Birds.
Having struck out on their own, what have the team created? Well, it's a physics-heavy 2D racing game, and it shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that it owes more than a little to another Rovio big-hitter, Bad Piggies. There's a fundamental difference though, and instead of trying to upend carts to send its inhabitants into the abyss, you need to race the trio of riders across a series of maps, gathering up nuts before reaching the finishing line.
You do this by tilting your iOS device to re-balance the cart after you've flown around the landscape, while acceleration's controlled by a button to the right, and an extra burst of speed is provided by the turbo button that sits at the bottom left. Managing your speed, trajectory, and ensuring you land level with the ground is essential. Crashing doesn't end the game, but it does affect your time performance on a level.
It's entertaining enough at first, but there's no denying the frustration inherent in the game's physics engine. In the early days, particularly before you get to upgrade the stability of your chassis, the tilt-controls are tuned far too sensitively, and crashes can be frequent and frustrating - switching to button-steering doesn't improve things a great deal either. You can also upgrade your tires to add a little speed, although that's not recommended until you've added some weight to your racer.
That physics system is also combined with level design that doesn't flow and thrill quite as you suspect it's intended to. Abrupt halts are common, and picking up every nut and getting a three star rating (without getting stuck on a piece of destructible scenery) often feels like an impossible task with the tools at hand. We can absolutely see why the game should be thrilling, but that optimal experience always feels dangled just out of reach.
It's not all bad though, and there's entertainment to be had from the game, even when taking these frustrations into account. There are - inexplicably - though, challenge sections of the game where you have to ride a unicycle to the end-point, and this precarious contraption only magnifies the problems found elsewhere. Still, you can always go at the chaos with a friend if you fancy some multiplayer!
You can pick up Noble Nutlings for free on the App Store, and you're unlikely to feel pushed towards the in-app purchase store either which sweetens the deal a little. The game has its faults and frustrations, but it also has its moments of enjoyment too, and there's undoubtedly the building blocks of a far more enjoyable game that we hope either an update, or a sequel, can introduce.
Noble Nutlings is free to download from the App Store but additional in-app purchases are available. Extra coins can be purchased in the following quantities: Stack of coins (1,000): $0.99 / Pile of coins ($2100): $1.99 / Heap of coins (5,500): $4.99 / Potful of coins (11,500): $9.99 / Chestful of coins (27,000) / Lots of coins (73,000): $49.99
What's Hot:Great music, a decent concept, and a fair chunk of levels to work through
What's Not:The physics engine will frustrate more than it entertains, and you'll get stuck from time to time on that destructible scenery.