In a video accompanying the release of its casual iOS game Snuggle Truck, developer Owlchemy Labs has revealed that the title in its original form – the controversial immigration-themed Smuggle Truck, in which you have to convey refugees illegally into the US on the back of a truck - failed to get past Apple's approval process.
According to Owlchemy Labs, Smuggle Truck, “was inspired by the frustration our friends have experienced in trying to immigrate to the United States. With such a troublesome issue being largely avoided in popular media, especially video games, we felt the best way to criticize it was with an interactive satire.”
Unfortunately, the game has come under fire for its depiction of Mexican illegal immigrants, which some claim is racist despite Owlchemy Labs's averred effort, “to avoid depicting stereotypes and specific locales.”
That's presumably why Apple rejected it.
So meet Snuggle Truck. Owlchemy's Alex Schwartz says, “Snuggle Truck will feature a group of cuddly creatures escaping the wilderness for the comfort of a zoo, where they are provided plenty of food, shelter, and state of the art healthcare.” Right.
Clearly keen not to distance Snuggle Truck too much from its source material, Owlchemy Labs has made it possible to flip between Snuggle Truck and Smuggle Truck at the press of a button on the PC and Mac OS versions, and to use your iPhone or iPad as a control pad.
The developer also invites you to, "Read about the story behind the game at Snuggletruck.com."
The game involves transporting unsecured cuddly animals on the back of a roofless truck over hills and other hazards. There are 40 levels, a number of power-ups, Game Center achievements, leaderboards, and more. Owlchemy Labs also promises user-created levels in a future update.
The graphics were created by Bill Tiller, the artist behind Curse of Monkey Island.
Snuggle Truck is available now on iPhone and iPad for £1.19/$1.19 and £1.99/$2.99 respectively.