If you're going to force players to grind for coins or ask them to pay cash for them instead, then you should make a game that's enjoyable enough to motivate them to do so.
By Ned Jordan
Noble Nutlings is the first game from Boomlagoon, a development studio founded by some former developers from Rovio, the studio that gave the world Angry Birds. It's hard to read anything about the game that doesn't mention that fact, as if the game should be great based on its pedigree alone. It's not, and it's not great based on its own merits either.
The gameplay is similar in spirit to Tiny Wings, with the little bird replaced by a trio of squirrels in a cart. The goal is to get these squirrels to the end of the level as quickly as possible while racing up and over hills and ramps and through loops. An accelerator button makes the cart go, while a chili pepper button gives it a burst of turbo power. In addition to keeping the cart moving, you've also got to keep it balanced. As the slope under the cart changes or the cart is airborne, you need to tilt your device to keep the cart horizontal. If you don't, then the cart will crash, the squirrels will go tumbling out, and you'll lose precious seconds as you wait for the cart to reset itself. The cart won't reset until after all of its parts come to a stop, so if you wipe out on a hill you'll have to watch helplessly as all of the cart parts slide down to the bottom.
The cart balancing part of the game can be frustrating, primarily because of the way the controls are implemented. There's not a one to one correspondence between the tilt of your device and the rotation of the cart and the cart is slow to react to changes in the direction of rotation. You'll often find the cart slowly over rotating and ignoring your desire for it to move in the other direction, resulting in one crash after another.
The game's issues don't stop there, though. The chili boost is vital to finishing levels quickly enough to collect the stars that you'll need to unlock additional levels, but it's a limited persistent resource. Once you use it, it's gone, and the only way to refill it is to visit the game's store and buy more using coins. While you can earn coins by scooping them up in the game's levels, the amount of coins that you'll collect will be paltry compared to what you need to keep the boost filled and available. Of course the game is willing to sell you coins for real-world money, leaving you to choose between grinding levels over and over just to collect coins or coughing up some cash. And if you want to purchase cart upgrades, you're going to need even more coins. Personally, I strongly dislike this style of in-game blackmail and the game wasn't enjoyable enough to motivate me to go into grind mode. Angry Birds has nothing to fear from these squirrels.