Review: Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo

Warning: this review may contain nuts.

By Katharine Byrne. Posted 04/21/2013 10:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Charming art style, rock hard challenges
Poison Mushroom for...
Too expensive; loose jumping mechanics; not enough new content compared to the iOS version.

As the race to port every popular iOS game to the 3DS eShop continues, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo actually does better than most when it comes to asking players to drop another $7 on top of its $0.99 App Store price.

Under its original name– the decidedly ordinary non-turbo 2D Little Acorns— you took on the role of the bespeckled Mr. Nibbles, an unfortunate daddy squirrel who’d lost all his precious acorns to his vicious woodland neighbours. And like any parent with hundreds of tiny squirrel-sized mouths to feed, Mr. Nibbles decided there was only one thing for it. He had to sprint through sixty seasonal levels and reclaim his coveted foodstuffs (swaging a bit of fruit on the side, naturally) while giving his acorn abductors a good old bop on the head for being such mean buggers in the first place.

Not a lot has changed on this front for the 3DS version. You’re still running and jumping and collecting acorns against the clock, but you’ll rarely run out of time unless you’re slower than a snail trapped in a puddle of glue. Instead, the challenge lies in completing four objectives for every stage– collecting all the acorns, collecting all the fruit that appears after you’ve gathered said acorns, eliminating every last enemy, and completing the course within a certain time limit.

In most stages, you can comfortably achieve all these bar the speed run in one attempt, but going back and finishing these tasks is vital if you’re aiming for 100%, as each one will not only earn you extra acorns, but a “fruity finish” will also net you various fancy dress costumes for Mr. Nibbles’ ever-expanding wardrobe.

Mr. Nibbles doesn’t feel quite as agile as our favourite Ninty plumber, though. Despite having proper buttons and the Circle Pad to help manoeuvre him mid-jump, landing still feels very loose, and trying to stomp on enemy skulls with any kind of precision will frustrate those used to the pin-point accuracy of more traditional Nintendo platformers.

This is even more exaggerated when you turn on the titular “Turbo” mode, which ramps up the speed of Mr. Nibbles’ non-existent legs to send you dashing round each level at breakneck speeds. While there’s some comfort to be found in the fact that Mr. Nibbles doesn’t technically lose any life when he accidentally slams into his enemies (he’s only temporarily poisoned/slowed down instead), we would have hoped that physical controls might have led to tighter jumping mechanics.

The “Super” part of Little Acorns comes from 30 additional challenges that are exclusive to the eShop version– or rather 10 challenges that have gold, silver and bronze difficulty levels. These take the form of some quite punishing time attacks, but unlike the stages attached to the main story, these will really put your platforming skills to the test. There’s the usual jumping and rising water level fare, but there are some real flashes of brilliance in the level design here, particularly when the same acorn-fruit-speed run badges still apply as well. You’ll be attempting these much more often as you try and work out how to shave seconds off your time to collect that last piece of fruit, and it’s a shame there aren’t more to dig your teeth into.

Is all this worth an extra $7, though? As with many eShop games that began life elsewhere, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo isn’t quite super enough to warrant such a high price, but it’s a fun little diversion nonetheless and the extra challenges are a very welcome addition. Jumping issues aside, its cartoonish art style ensures that every level is full of charm and character, and it’s perfect for whiling away the time on public transport. If it was setting its sights nearer the $3-5 mark, then Mr. Nibbles’ acorns would be the ideal eShop comfort food, but at $8, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo feels a little undercooked to be a true platforming classic.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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