(3DS eShop)

2 Fast 4 Gnomz (3DS eShop)

Game Review

2 Fast 4 Gnomz Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Morgan Sleeper

Gnome-madic

While the title might indicate that 2 Fast 4 Gnomz could be the marriage of Miami street racing and gnome culture we've all been waiting for, what we have instead is a much-improved eShop version of QubicGames' WiiWare runner of the same name. In fact, the title's silly, Prince-esque number usage and 90's-edgy "z" belie the fact that 2 Fast 4 Gnomz is a fun, challenging, and solid endless runner that's well worth playing.

Opening with a cutscene wherein you're instructed by your gnome king to bring back both a princess and a lot of socks, this is a game that immediately wears its silliness on its tiny sleeve. It's got a charming aesthetic and is genuinely funny, especially with the twist on the "our princess is in another castle" trope that plays out after each world.

Like BIT.TRIP RUNNER and other similar games, 2 Fast 4 Gnomz consists chiefly of charging ceaselessly from left to right, avoiding obstacles along the way. You'll do that by jumping, but also by transforming instantaneously into different gnome forms ("formz", presumably) by holding down a direction on the D-pad. These give you the ability to float on the breeze, drop like a rock, burst into warp speed, and even turn back time, and the interplay between all these different options makes for some spectacular — and incredibly devious — level designs. It feels a bit like a turbocharged game of digital Bop-It!, and when you're in the groove it feels absolutely wonderful.

Make no mistake, though — you will lose that groove. Gnomz will die. There's a death counter on the bottom screen which, we're sadly able to confirm, is well capable of handling triple digits. This is a tough game that necessitates ninja-like reflexes and platforming skills, a lot of repetition, and often memorization. But a near-instant re-spawn rate and plenty of checkpoints keeps the frustration level relatively low, and makes sure everything moves at a quick clip. It's one-more-try addicting rather than 3DS-toss frustrating.

Back when we reviewed the WiiWare original, there were a few nagging issues that brought the game down quite a bit, and we're happy to report that this eShop version is a definite improvement. First and most importantly, the controls are now immediately responsive, which makes a huge difference in this type of demanding gameplay. Your gnomes jump just when you'd expect them too, and the billions of inevitable deaths you'll experience along the way will be well and truly earned. Second, the addition of stereoscopic 3D elegantly solves the problem we had of background elements looking like obstacles and vice-versa. With the 3D effect enabled, everything's neatly delineated: anything on the gnome's plane is an obstacle, while anything behind the gnome is decoration. Even if you choose to play in 2D, the background layers are distinguished by their softer colouring, which is a subtler but still helpful indication.

Playing without the 3D effect would be a shame, however, because 2 Fast 4 Gnomz makes excellent use of it. Multi-layered backgrounds fly by in parallactic motion as leaves or snow blow past in the foreground; it looks wonderful, especially in motion. The beautifully done cutscenes benefit greatly from the depth as well. The graphics are vibrant and colourful, and match the lighthearted, cartoony feel of the game. There are some lovely touches too, like the death animation: errant gnomz don't simply fall over or blink and disappear, they burst into pixels like tiny fireworks, lending a celebratory feel to each smashing failure. The soundtrack is catchy, if a bit repetitive, though luckily this is a game that's perfect to play in short bursts, so it's a good fit.

With four seasonally-themed worlds of ten levels apiece, plus five Nightmare stages unlocked by doing well on the first 40 levels, 2 Fast 4 Gnomz packs a pretty good run for $4.99. The game keeps track of your best sock count (very important!), time, and death records for each stage, and going back for perfect runs will add a ton of replay value for players so inclined. Another nice replay incentive is that while new abilities are doled out as you progress through the game's four worlds, once they're unlocked you can use them in previous stages, which opens them up for further exploration. That said, with no online leaderboards or score tables for friends to compete on the same system, these options aren't going to be very compelling unless you enjoy besting your own previous efforts.

Conclusion

Don't let the lawn gnome theme or silly title scare you away — 2 Fast 4 Gnomz is a great little eShop effort. It's fast, fun, and challenging, with a charming art style and a sense of humour running through the entire experience. It won't win any points for originality, but what's here is done well, and fans of tough endless runners will have a great time with these little guys.

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User Comments (33)

Pikachupwnage

#3

Pikachupwnage said:

Whoa whoa whoa....whoa.

This is a infinite runner that uses the uses 2 instead of too, and 4 instead of for and it isn't terrible?

What is this sorcery?

rayword45

#6

rayword45 said:

As many expected, it's one point away from the WiiWare score.

There's supposed to be a demo soon according to QubicGames. I'll wait for that.

TheDreamingHawk

#7

TheDreamingHawk said:

This game was terrible on wiiware, I kept dying due to the stupidest reasons (I DIED IN MIDAIR ONCE AND I WASN'T NEAR ANYTHING). But Thankfully this game fixes all of those problems! Gonna pick up the demo and this game when I have eshop money.

Nintex

#8

Nintex said:

Hmm, a seemingly solid review. I just went and watched the trailer for the game on the eShop and I'm impressed! I just might download it. I love fast paced nearly hard to play 2d sidecrollers. Just my cup of tea.

Barbiegurl777

#9

Barbiegurl777 said:

Just bought this last night. Very fun but very fast! :)

Glad it gives a good challenge & has cute graphic's! ;)

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

TheInvisibleTor

#10

TheInvisibleTor said:

By the review i was expecting more like an 8 or possibly even a 9, though a 7 is okay and might be enough for me to pick it up. Though is there some kind of option where it's just an endless run and run until you die?

zipmonStaff

#11

zipmon said:

@TheInvisibleTor Actually, no there isn't - which makes me feel a bit silly for referring to it as an endless runner! The running is endless, but the levels aren't - so I guess non-stop platformer would have been a better description.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#12

Philip_J_Reed said:

Great review Morgan. The WiiWare game had a lot of potential and I'm glad to se that some more of that potential has been realized!

TheInvisibleTor

#13

TheInvisibleTor said:

Played the wiiware demo just now and i beleive the 3D would really help knowing whats an obstacle and whats not like you said. Next time i get a prepaid card im heading to this game first, then crashmo.

DarkEdi

#19

DarkEdi said:

I hope they do an update to wiiware version with this improvements. (p.d. i know it won´t come).

HaastMK7

#20

HaastMK7 said:

Nintendo, or in this case any other company, should start making some 3D games Like 'Dillions rolling western' or 'Liberation Maiden'. I don't mind 2-D side scrollers but there are to many of them. But other than that, this game looks good :)

rayword45

#21

rayword45 said:

It'd be harder to make a 3D title I'd assume, and mistress would want to charge more for that unless it was really short like LM. Wait for Jetty Rocket and Nano Assault EX.

Pogocoop

#22

Pogocoop said:

The review was sounding like an 8 for the bulk of it, But still, a solid 7 may have convinced me to give this a shot.

Windy

#23

Windy said:

Me thinks.... me will pick this up when I finish some other backburner titles ive been working on. I am the king of Chain gaming and that is not a good thing

Henmii

#24

Henmii said:

So it's better then the Wiiware version! I found the Wiiware demo pretty fun, so I might download this one some day!

QubicGames

#26

QubicGames said:

2 Fast 4 Gnomz will be released through the eShop in Europe on Thursday 6th of December.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#27

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

It looks like you decent standard side scrolling continual runner where you avoid obstacles. You see a lot of them on iOS

QubicGames

#28

QubicGames said:

The demo of "2 Fast 4 Gnomz" is now available through the eShop in North America. Try it now :)

Ickaser

#29

Ickaser said:

The demo is awesome. I think I'll buy it, although I can see myself losing steam on the tougher levels.

QubicGames

#31

QubicGames said:

I wanted to let you know that the demo of 2 Fast 4 Gnomz is now also available in Europe through the 3DS eShop (it was already available in North America).
If you haven't played the game yet, this is the perfect chance to try your skills out!

Moshugan

#32

Moshugan said:

Haha, I found the game appalling at first, but then I tried the demo and I'm sold! This is just the kind of game I need in my life right now. It's bonkers!
God, I'm so prejudiced.

Bass_X0

#33

Bass_X0 said:

I played the 3DS demo first and quite enjoyed it then later played the WiiWare demo for the first time. The WiiWare version was terrible in comparison The stage design really felt off, Will download the 3DS version soon since there's a sale.

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