By Jeff Neuenschwander / July 30th, 2013
|Title||Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo|
|Release Date||April 16, 2013|
|Age Rating||ESRB: E|
You’ve probably never heard of developer Pixel Toys. That’s because they have only released one game: Super Little Acorns. The game is a platformer that first appeared on iOS devices last year. This year, they made an enhanced version called Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo (a title I’m sure our Podcast hosts would find favor with). The game includes challenge stages as well as a Turbo Mode, neither of which is in the iOS version. So, along with all the new additions, is the game worth buying? Well…
Here’s the great thing: the physics in the game are great. Pixel Toys made sure that you have complete control over the main character, Mr. Nibbles, as you gathered all the acorns in the stage. Just simply move the circle pad either left or right (or use the D-Pad) and hit either A or B to jump. Hit either one again when near a grappling point to swing across. It’s all very well done.
The power-ups that lay around the stage work well for the limited time that you use them. There are three that you can use when available: Tough Nut, Super Jump, and Super Speed. Tough Nut is pretty much invincibility but with an added bonus of being able to break through gray walls. Super Jump gives you an added boost to your vertical movement. Super Speed makes you faster for a brief period. You can also combine these power-ups and use the effects simultaneously. For example, when you use Super Jump and Super Speed in combination, you can get much farther than you would using them individually.
The other good thing I liked about the game were the challenge stages. These are available from the start, were well designed and made for a good diversion from the main campaign. In these stages, you are pretty much challenged with various level designs, such as getting away from rising water and using super speed to clear large gaps. The only problem was that I felt that there should have been more. There are 30 stages but it’s pretty much 10 levels with three difficulty variations. But I still enjoyed them more than the main game.
Speaking of the main game, the stages are fairly well designed but needed a bit more difficulty in the later levels. There are 60 stages separated into three “Years,” with each Year ending with a boss chase. Overall, the difficulty curve felt rather flat. Here’s a quick example: one level has no platforms except at the sides. You have to grapple across to get the acorns. Great idea. However, it seemed like it could’ve been better. The grapple points were rather close, which made the difficulty more trying to get away from a previous grapple (the game tracks which point you’re closest to and grapples towards it) rather than trying to reach the next point. Just a missed opportunity.
Another missed opportunity would be that of Turbo mode. This is pretty much just the normal game sped up. No changes to level design. Perhaps instead of just making the game faster in Turbo, they could’ve made the game a bit more difficult by changing some of the levels here and there. Maybe they could’ve had the expanded range between grapple points to coincide with the faster movement.
For aesthetics, they are rather hit and miss. The graphics looked fine to me, with each season of the Year getting its own design with a special night time design for bosses and challenge stages. 3D was serviceable. No noticeable problems with it. It looks good either way.
The musical composition in the game is terrible. Individual stages are bland. Themes for menus have nothing to them. In a game that got the technicals so right, the music was just so wrong.
So, as we come to the end of this review, it seems like the score will come down to a battle of the technical prowess and challenges stages versus the sub-par aesthetics and the flat difficulty curve. For everything I liked about the game, there was a problem that irritated me. Overall, I’d say that this is the poster child for our “average” score.
Pixel Toys, I wish you guys the best. I can see potential in your studio. You seem to have your technical prowess down. And whatever comes next, I hope that you put as much time into the aesthetics as you do your technicals. I’ll be keeping an eye on you.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
eShopPixel ToysplatformerSuper Little Acorns 3D Turbo