Review: Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo (3DS eShop)

Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo is one of those games that you'd pass by, never even thinking of giving it a second glance. However, with this game, that's definitely not something you want to be doing. At first glance, it looks like nothing more than a boring ol' platformer. But when you play the game and see for yourself just how fantastic it is, you'll be glad you didn't bypass this. This game may be worthy of the title of one of the best eShop games since the eShop began, way back in June 2011. And that's not something to be said lightly.

There's a minor amount of story here, but what everything boils down to is that you need to collect acorns so your squirrel family can survive. The game is split into three years (which are basically worlds), each year is split into four seasons, and each season is split into five levels. So that's a total of 60 regular levels, plus the special Challenge levels, of which there are 30. That's 90 levels... and then there's Turbo mode, which brings the grand total to 180 levels. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that there's a whole lot to go through in this game. You'll definitely be playing for a long time.

The controls are very simple; the Control Pad or D-Pad are used to move left and right, while the A or B buttons are used to jump. Also, if you press A or B whilst in the vicinity of a grapple point, you'll hook onto it, and you'll be able to swing around to new areas. The touch screen displays a timer, and the four awards for that level.

Let's briefly talk about the levels. To complete the level, you need to collect every acorn, which unlocks the door. However, there's more to it than that. Each level has four separate awards. You'll need to collect all the acorns, beat the level very quickly, defeat every enemy and collect every piece of fruit to complete a level fully. Bear in mind that fruits don't appear until you've collected all the acorns and you've got a challenging yet fun concept. Collecting fruit does reward you with costumes for your squirrel, so customisation does play a part in Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo. 

Levels start off simple and progressively become harder as you travel through the years. By the time you're at the final level, you'll have had to retry many levels, as later ones do become quite unforgiving, whether it's due to time constraints or enemy placement (enemies are placed just so to knock you into water, which, by the way, does kill you). At the end of each season (that's the fifth level of each season), you'll be faced with a 'special' level. In spring, summer and autumn, you'll have to round up a number of baby squirrels as well as the acorns, making the level a little bit more difficult. 

The fifth winter stage, however, is a boss stage. Instead of trying to defeat a boss, as you might expect, you'll simply be faced with the task of running away from a giant version of a regular enemy. Beat it to the door, and you'll win. Simple enough, right? Actually, collection the fruit and defeating all the regular enemies in boss stages is pretty difficult, because a lot of the time, doing this will put you behind the boss, meaning you might not win the race to the door.

That just leaves the Challenges. There are 10 altogether, each with a bronze, silver and gold difficulty. Each one requires you to master a certain technique, the first challenge for example, Long Jump, sees how good you are at jumping long distances without falling. Rising Tide sees how good you are at moving upwards, to avoid the impending watery doom beneath you. In Challenges, you'll also have to collect fruit and beat the level in a very fast time. These Challenges certainly live up to expectations, some of them had me ripping my hair out in frustration. But that's not a problem, as this game has something for every type of gamer.

Then there's the Turbo mode, which not only makes the game doubly as long, but adds a whole new level of difficultly to the game. If you thought the game was tough normally, try playing through it in super fast Turbo mode. Not only do you have less time to complete levels, but you and all the enemies will also be sped up, making for some exciting gameplay. 

Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo has pretty decent graphics as well. The 3D is just as you'd expect from a platformer; the level is in the foreground, with the... background in the background. But apart from that, everything looks nice, there's a lot of detail, actually. The game slips up slightly music-wise, as while tracks are varied from season to season, there really isn't a lot of it, and it gets pretty repetitive pretty fast, which is a shame. Everything else makes up for this, of course, because the gameplay is superb.

So, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo not only has one of the longest names on the eShop, but it will also keep you entertained for a long time. If 180 levels in a game manage to stay fun and exciting from start to end, you know something's gone right. It wouldn't be right to call this game a simple platformer, as there's so much to do; Challenges, collect costumes, the game even has its own achievements system to keep you coming back again and again. I therefore dub this game a 'super-platformer' and say again that this is one of the best eShop titles of all time. + Daniel Godfrey

9/10 - More than just a platformer, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo provides a refreshing new experience, and one that will last quite a while. A hidden eShop gem, if you will.

Review copy provided by Pixel Toys

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