Nutty Fluffies

August 11, 2013

Nutty Fluffies follows on from Ubisoft’s excellent Rayman Jungle Run as the publisher continues to output great looking and easy-to-pick-up games on mobile platforms. This title, now out on Android and iOS, aims to provide an addictive physics-based experience, not unlike the app giants which perpetually tower over the app store. Cheap and fun time wasters are always welcome on my iPhone, but Nutty Fluffies is a bit more aggressive about what it wants from you.

The game’s central idea is actually very fun. You control a chain of cars on a roller coaster, with a swipe forward or back of your fingers linked to accelerating and braking. However, the cars aren’t locked onto the rails by any means, which means you’ll be flying off at a moment’s notice, able to catch some big air usually only reserved for registered surfers and skateboards.

The physics of all this are pretty strange – they don’t resemble anything close to real life, but there is some kind of internal logic if you can wrap your head around it. As the conductor of the roller coaster, you accelerating in mid-air or braking not only alters your velocity, but warps the shape of your centipede-like chain of cars. As it bends back in on itself as you fly across the track, you increasingly run into danger of crashing and losing some of your riders, or even falling off the track yourself. Your objective is to collect as many hearts as possible, found along the track and (usually) far above it as well. The controls are simple, but the weird physics lend to you feeling that you’re not in control as much as you’d like to be, and constant replays are a necessity (unfortunately, but more on that later).

IMG 03041 500x375 Nutty Fluffies

The titular Nutty Fluffies are the riders who fill your roller coaster’s cars, and there are several types ranging from rats and pigs, to dogs and cats. Each have unique properties that affect how many hearts you collect, and under what conditions you can get bonus ones. Some riders deal out more hearts if you stay on the track, while others will spew them out when you’re in the air. There is strategy involved in choosing your riders to suit the track, and maximising the amount of hearts you can reap.

Ultimately, at the end of each level your hearts are converted into coins – which can be spent in a number of ways. Levels don’t unlock one after the other as you complete them – they must be bought (or built) using coins harvested from hearts. Unfortunately, you’ll rarely be able to collect enough coins in a single run-through of a level, so you’ll have to repeat it a few times to get the dough you need. Here’s where it gets a little complicated.

Each successive time you retry a level, another car is usually added to your chain. This has to be filled with a new rider, since no car in the chain can be left empty at the start of a level. However, all of the riders (except the worst type, rats) cost coins to strap into each car – meaning you’ll always be spending coins on replays, rather than saving them to spend on a new level. Riders are also want to fling out of their seats at a moment’s notice, which means you’ll be spending coins to refill their cars most retries as well. As the game goes on, it also gets more and more expensive to unlock the next level.

The upshot of all this is that you’re always in need of more coins than you’re able to accumulate easily, and luckily Nutty Fluffies has several ways for you to get them. First up, you can straight up exchange your real money for the game’s currency. Microtransactions are the lifeblood of many mobile games, and I’m sure Nutty Fluffies is going to make a bundle through this, because there’s really no other way to get through the game at a decent pace without straight up paying for it. Amounts start at a reasonable $1.99 for 800 coins, all the way up to $31.99 for 25,000 coins, which should hopefully last you the whole game. It’s an added cost to be aware of before purchasing Nutty Fluffies. You’re also constantly reminded to like their Facebook page and follow their Twitter for extra coins as well. Finally, and more helpfully, there is an achievement system which rewards certain actions with coins, which occasionally provide you the boost you need to unlock a level.

IMG 03031 500x375 Nutty Fluffies

Nutty Fluffies looks great, with some nicely designed and cute characters. Playing on an iPad with a Retina display, the colours pop and the artwork is really sharp. The way your roller coaster collides with tides of hearts is simple but satisfying, and the chaos that results from a sharp crash to the earth is suitably punishing.

I don’t have anything against games featuring microtransactions necessarily, as it’s a way for developers to make their money back more effectively on games which typically sell for very little. However, the way Nutty Fluffies is structured makes it quite aggressive about trading your cash for game currency. Your progression is slowed right down if you don’t have the coinage to unlock new levels, and you’re relegated to replaying through old haunts again and again, spending money each time to make more in an effort to continue. There’s a metaphor about life somewhere in the structure of Nutty Fluffies, but I fear it would be too depressing to articulate. Nevertheless, when you’re actually playing through levels, choosing riders and rocketing into the sky – Nutty Fluffies can be a fun game. And at $0.99, this review is almost entirely unnecessary, as you’ve probably already made the snap decision of whether to purchase it or not. If you are, however, um-ing and ah-ing about this particular $1, then – yeah. Be aware this one could cost you a lot more.


Fun visuals | Good concept | Can be addictive


Forced to repeat the same level over and over unless you want to fork out some moneys | Weird physics

Overall Score: