It's hard to separate my love for Snoopy and the Peanuts from this game. While there is nothing wrong with the title, it's clear after playing for a little bit that beyond Chillingo's great usage of the Charles M. Shultz style and atmosphere, Snoopy Coaster is little more than a skinned version of a different Chillingo game -- Madcoaster.
Madcoaster was basically a standard endless-running game, only with a roller coaster. Snoopy Coaster is more or less that same game, but with the superior art and style of the Peanuts. While there are already several apps in the App Store that feature Snoopy and the gang, this new one certainly deserves a place among them and will please fans of the comics and cartoons.
In Snoopy Coaster (and in Madcoaster), you control that iconic of fair rides that is filled to the brim with Peanuts characters. Snoopy, naturally, is in the lead car. There is a short tutorial at the beginning of the game that lays out the standard controls for other endless runner games. To make the coaster jump up, you tap the screen. This is good for switching track levels and essential for collecting coins, which is how you upgrade your coaster and pay for things in the game. Swiping down will bring you back down a level, if you happen to be on a higher track.
As you coast along, you will come across balloons, birds, kites and other objects that you can run into. Collect all of these, in addition to as many coins as possible and then spend them on making your coaster faster. You can also cash in on power ups like Linus’s blanket, which will let you jump higher in your coaster.
If you happen to plummet off the track, you will re-spawn at the cost of a fix-it wrench. These basically serve as lives for you as you make your run. Occasionally, you will have a chance to jump in your coaster for an extra wrench, but every new round you will start off with a set amount. Every crash means you lose a wrench and once you run out of wrenches, you will have to restart the level.
The different levels will have a series of objectives to complete, much like in Jetpack Joyride or Punch Quest. However, these objectives seem less of something that you're intentionally striving for and more of things that just happen on their own. After you die there's an option to get another life by spending a crown, but in order to get those you will usually have to spend actual money. You're better off just spinning the wheel for a bonus.
But it's the in-app purchases that kind of irk me. For one, they shouldn't be as prevalent as they are here, considering that the Snoopy Coaster app is not a freemium title. I'm sort of resigned to the fact that a free-to-play title will be full of IAPs. But if you have to pay for a game, even if it's only for a buck, there should be an unspoken rule that the purchases be moved more to the background. Yet in Snoopy Coaster, you can barely come around the bend before another opportunity for a purchase comes up.
Between that and the recycled voice clips of Charlie Brown and co. saying the same things over and over again, I'm a little turned off by this title. I can recommend it to anyone who's a fan of the Peanuts and just wants a simple little game. The presentation here is quite nice. But if you're really just looking for a Peanuts fix, you're better off reading some of the old comics. (You can do that on your iPad as well.)