The 3DS eShop appears to be a good destination for games previously developed for iOS/Android devices to end up on. The latest game to make the move to consoles is this update of popular platformer, Little Acorns. Originally released on iOS last year, Martin gave the game a very impressive 9/10. The game has now been updated with new features, including the obvious 3D lick of paint. Now featuring physical controls instead of touchscreen, this simple platformer has been somewhat improved in terms of playability.
As the male squirrel of his household, it is Mr. Nibbles’ duty to hoard acorns for the coming Winter, even if that means traversing over 60 levels and defeating spiders, caterpillars and other mini-beasties to do so.
So we join the cutesy Mr. Nibbles over three years, split into four seasons of five levels. Each of these small levels requires the collection of acorns before the exit can be entered. But that’s not all there is to each level, as there are four objectives to complete: collect all acorns, destroy all enemies, collect all fruit and finish the level within a certain time. Not all of these objectives can be completed in one run-through of a level, and I found that I could kill all the enemies and collect all the acorns (which then makes five fruit appear to collect) during my first run, and then a second play would be for finishing the level as quickly as possible. The levels are so bite-sized that it never feels like a chore to finish a level more than once, and you’ll probably find yourself itching to play just one more level.
Controlling Mr. Nibbles is as simple as it gets. You move left, you move right and you jump. Power-ups litter some of the levels, offering bonuses like extra time, super speed, higher jumps and invincibility for a few seconds. Collecting fruit that appears after defeating all the enemies and collecting all the acorns will unlock various costume items for your squirrel, so you can finally live out those dreams of dressing a small furry mammal in a dinosaur outfit. Later levels implement things like spots you can grapple to with a rope and swing from, springs and, of course, the platform favourite – slippery ice levels. There are even “boss levels” that involve racing a larger enemy through a perilous obstacle course.
You’re probably thinking that all of this sounds very unoriginal, and your assumptions are entirely correct. But Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo is an incredibly well-made platform game, the kind that you would quite happily play on that big old grey brick of a Game Boy you probably have in your loft somewhere.
An addition to this version of the game is an all new Turbo mode, in which you play through the game again at a faster speed, as well as a Challenge mode: 10 levels with Bronze, Silver and Gold variations to test your nut-grabbing to the limit. There are also a few Achievements to get as well. I wouldn’t say these additions add too much more to the game though, as Turbo mode doesn’t quite warrant another playthrough of the game.
As an improved version of a relatively simple 2D iOS game, it would be foolish to expect jaw dropping visuals. Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo makes use of a very angular cartoon aesthetic, and there is enough detail in the visuals for the game to have a sense of character. Use of 3D is lacking imagination, but the game still looks pretty decent with the slider turned up, even if sadly it’s pretty non-essential.
Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo has a very odd soundtrack, with a handful of tracks played throughout the game. However, this music gets pretty repetitive and the stock sound effects don’t really give you a reason to listen to the audio while playing. It’s clear that like many mobile games, audio was an afterthought, which in my opinion isn’t the worst thing for a game like this.
VERDICT: This is a good port of a very fun mobile game, that is made more enjoyable through being able to use physical buttons to control Mr Nibbles, as opposed to virtual touchscreen controls. It is what a mobile game should be: simple and with short enough levels to play in small bursts at a time.
However, while the new additions of this Turbo edition are nice, you have to ask whether they’re worth £4.99 for this 3DS version over a mere 69p for the iOS version. It would be difficult for me to say this game was £4.30 better, but I wouldn’t let that detract from what is essentially a very fun little platformer, that invokes some very old school game design.
EXCELLENT. An 8/10 is only awarded to a game we consider truly worthy of your hard-earned cash. This game is only held back by a smattering of minor or middling issues and comes highly recommended.