What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Snuggle Truck is a physics-based arcade racing game that forces players to keep their pickup truck filled with stuffed animals level as it navigates hills and valleys -- trying to avoid letting any fall out. The game's emphasis is on cute, but parents should be aware that it originally was dubbed Smuggle Truck -- and rather than driving a truck full of stuffed critters, it was a truck full of illegal aliens from Mexico. (Apple banned the app and the developers adjusted it to this; both apps are available for Android devices.) While the core gameplay is unchanged, there are no signs of the original theme. Users can create their own levels and share them via a level portal, which ranks the best and most popular user-generated maps. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What kids can learn
- making new creations
- producing new content
Engagement, Approach, Support
Fun for snack gaming (3- to 5-minute bursts), but not especially compelling. Most redeeming feature is an online community where people can share levels they create.
Snuggle Truck teaches some rudimentary physics concepts to kids as they see how a truck and its contents are affected by high-speed acceleration and sudden drop-offs. The extensive level editor lets kids express their creativity,
Level Portal online community lets people share levels they create. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. Players can send friend requests.
What's it about?
Kids tap the screen to move their truck forward and propel it through a series of hills and valleys, while trying to keep the stuffed animals in their truck's bed from falling out. The more animals they keep in the truck, the higher their score. Players can retry levels as many times as necessary -- and can even build their own in the level creator. They do this by dragging objects on screen from a collection of items and choosing which trucks can be used. These maps can be shared with other players through an in-game tool.
Is it any good?
The dubious history of SNUGGLE TRUCK aside (it was originally created as Smuggle Truck and players carried illegal aliens from Mexico in the back of their vehicle; both Snuggle and Smuggle are available for Android devices), this is actually a fairly well-done game. It's quick to reward players and the physics is very responsive. The problem is, the app store is fairly flooded with side-scrolling racer arcade games, and there's not enough here to really stand out from the crowd. It's fun and perfect for snack gaming (3- to 5-minute bursts), but won't be something you find yourself going back to again and again. The most redeeming feature is the Level Portal, an online community where people can share the levels they create, giving the game enhanced replayability, should it capture your fancy.
Families can talk about...
Let kids build real-world obstacle courses for their toy cars and see physics working in reality.
Toss several balls in the air and let kids try to catch them with a basket.