148Apps Network Post
Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Price: Free
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Happy Squirrels is the latest tower-building game from Chillingo. The main premise is to build a giant oak tree by collecting nuts and adding new rooms for the squirrels to enjoy. From arcades and saunas to bookstores and ice cream shops, there are a variety of things that will keep these little guys entertained – and, more importantly, keep the nuts coming in to build the oak tree even higher.

The visuals are just absolutely over-the-top adorable. I love the colorful background that can be seen just behind the oak tree. Is that a glimpse of Heaven above the rainbow? And when players pull up, there’s another surprise buried in the earth. There are also a number of hidden details and interactive elements, such as the pinwheel that spins when touched, a doorbell, and a pond with a jumping fish. Happy Squirrels is just chock full of fun details that help complete the overall package. There’s even a “star” squirrel that can be customized with unlockable hats and other accessories.

As a freemium game, there’s always the worry that players are going to be nickeled-and-dimed to death for every interaction. Fortunately, Happy Squirrels keeps this to a minimum. The only reason to buy nuts and potions, for example, is if the player is just too impatient to wait for rooms to fill, or for construction to finish on a new room or upgrade. As the tree grows, new levels and rooms do increase in cost, but a little bit of patience and strategy keeps the game moving along.

A nice touch is the inclusion of minigames to keep the player occupied and earn a few extra nuts while they do wait. The 2 minigames that Happy Squirrels starts off with are a tilt-sensitive “collect the falling nuts” game and a tilt-sensitive object avoidance game featuring an airplane. They’re basic, but offer a little something more to do.

I admit, I tend to get sucked right into these time-management, tower-building games, but if keeping these squirrels happy is the name of the game, I’m more than happy to oblige.

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