In early 2012, Little Acorns was released for iOS. It was a simple but charming title in which bespectacled squirrel Mr. Nibbles sought out acorns to prevent his family from starving. When we spell it out that way we realize it sounds rather morbid, but in practice it was a fun and addictive experience that we were excited to hear was coming to the 3DS eShop. Now that it's here, we're glad to report that it's superior in every way to the original.
Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo retains everything that made the iOS game great, while introducing button controls and a whole smattering of additional features, including the titular Turbo Mode which effectively doubles the length of the game. If you've come to this review simply to find out if it's worth downloading, we'll save you precious nut-gathering time: it is.
The introductory sequence sees Mr. Nibbles watching his precious acorns being carted off by some of the baddies in the game and, ever the devoted patriarch, it's up to him to get them back. You move the loveable little guy with the circle pad, and jump with either A or B. You can use either, and that will be the only button you need, as it also deploys a rope that allows Mr. Nibbles to swing around certain parts of the stage.
If it sounds simple, that's because it is. You maneuver around each level, all of which are very small, and collect every acorn. Once you do that the exit opens, you step through it, and the acorns you collected tumble charmingly into the hollow of the tree you call home. Completion percentages are marked on the inside wall, making that 100% mark that much more tantalizing to reach.
The difficulty in Super Little Acorns 2D Turbo is entirely up to you. If all you're interested in is some fast, time-wasting fun on the go, then you can collect the acorns, exit the stage, and move on. However if you want to invest a little more effort into the game, you're rewarded greatly with a whole host of optional objectives. These include killing every enemy, collecting the fruit that appears after the acorns are collected, and speed-running the stage. Achieving each of these objectives nabs you another badge for that level, and a bonus handful of additional acorns, meaning those seeking a true challenge will be playing through these stages several times each at least.
On top of that there are an assortment of achievements to unlock, a challenge mode containing 30 themed stages to push your skills to the limit, and a Turbo Mode that gives you a second — and more difficult — run through of the entire game. When all is said and done, that's 180 levels by our count, and getting every possible acorn is going to require a lot of attempts.
And, yes, there's more, as you can also unlock costume components for Mr. Nibbles, allowing you to dress him up however you see fit. This is integrated nicely, and the items of clothing pair up very well — and often amusingly — with the simplistic art style of the game. (Incidentally, if you'd like Mr. Nibbles to uncannily resemble this reviewer, choose the Super Toupee, the Beatnik Shades and the Hawaiian Shirt. You're welcome.)
If there are any negative aspects of the game, they're minor. The physics, for instance, feel a little loose, especially at first. We got used to them before long, but it took a while to get the hang of stomping enemies and clearing gaps. We do feel they could do with some tightening up, but we ultimately didn't have much of a problem. Additionally the soundtrack is a lot of fun, containing pieces that are alternately bouncy and brooding — depending upon the in-game season — but the number of tracks feels very small, and it would have been nice having more songs to break up the experience.
We're very happy with the way Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo turned out, and we'll never get tired of saying the game's full title. It stands alongside Gunman Clive as conclusive evidence that buttons will always be superior to touch-screen approximations, and we do think this is worth a buy even for those who already have the iOS original. It really does play that much better.
Super Little Acorns 3D is a lot of fun. Its tiny levels are perfect for on-the-go play, and it's got enough challenge for every kind of gamer. Some loose physics and repetitive soundtrack hold the game back somewhat, but not much. It's a great improved port of an addictive mobile game, and one we're glad to have on the eShop. If you pass on this one...you must be nuts.