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Noble Nutlings Review

By Dave Flodine, on January 22, 2013


Noble Nutlings
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Vehicle customization.
  • The unicycle levels give more play time to the game's balance mechanic.

CONS

  • The physics engine only seems to be half there.
  • Repetitive music.

VERDICT

A noble effort for Noble Nutlings, but its combination of racing and balance mechanics don't completely hook the player.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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Boomlagoon, the makers of Noble Nutlings have received a lot of buzz thanks to being a company sporting ex-Rovio employees (you know, the developers behind Angry Birds). Before Angry Birds was a hit, Rovio had released many other games for mobile platforms - obviously these did OK for the company as they stayed in business, but what we're saying is it can take a lot of tries before hitting on something that really resonates.

Keep this in mind for the review.

Each level of Noble Nutlings consists of an obstacle course come racetrack where you'll guide a wagon full of squirrels before they hit a balloon pile at the end and explode. There's an accelerator pedal, and tilting back and forth will change the balance of the cart. Collectable acorns act as cash for purchasing new wheels, new chassis, and even chilli sauce (which acts as the nitro for your escapades). The level's three stars are tied to completing the race as quickly as possible, and are also used as a barrier for accessing future levels.

There's a physics engine at play here as you accelerate down hills, try to roll up slopes, and hit TNT boxes which double as launchers and speed boots depending on the circumstances. The thing is it only feels half realized, or more to the point, the physics engine often works as you'd expect, but also occasionally swings towards being lenient depending on the circumstances. At times this is a good thing, for example, no matter the angle of the slope, you can work your way up it, but this inconsistency can make the results of playing through some levels baffling. Nothing game breaking mind you, it just doesn't feel right.

Upgrading allows you to achieve higher top speeds and faster acceleration with new wheels, and play with weight and balance with the new chassis. The ability to mix and match is kind of fun, especially when the cart is lopsided due to two different sized wheels.

The game's visuals are ostensibly 2.5D (a form of 3D on a 2D plane), and the backgrounds and squirrels are lush and expressive enough to give you a pleasant feel of the world. The sound effects are the only part of the sound design that can be given positive feedback. The music is OK, but the one track plays over and over again consistently to the point of annoyance.

Noble Nutlings is a decent enough physics based side-scrolling racer, but it's missing that spark that would really make the gameplay shine. It'll be interesting to see what's next from Boomlagoon and how they'll continue to support their first effort.

Screenshots

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