Little Acorns in Review – Collecting Nuts Is Cute And Tough

Little Acorns is one of the latest platform games from the publishing masterminds at Chillingo, and I’m beginning to think that there are a lot of closet Mega Man fans out there.  Not that the premise or atmosphere is anything like those games, but Little Acorns can get tough!  Thankfully it’s fun as well, though there are times when playing a level repeatedly can get frustrating, especially when it’s one small spot on the level that’s giving you grief.  I honestly wasn’t quite sure about this game when I started playing it, but I’d say that Little Acorns is another solid platform game release from one of the leaders in iPhone game publishing.

You play a squirrel trying to gather acorns to store for your family.  Each year is broken down into the four seasons with five levels for each season and the last level of the year is a boss.  There will be plenty of bad guys to stand in your way throughout the levels, most of which can be dispatched by jumping on them.  You can also get rid of some of the foes by twirling into them as you release from swinging on a rope.  If you hit them at the wrong time they will simply stun you for a second, which causes you to move slower.

There are also all kinds of environmental hazards to deal with.  Some platforms will crumble under your feet, while others require you to break through them by swinging or using a special hat.  Water is deadly, and some gaps are so big they require you swing across them.  The biggest obstacle, however, is the fact that every level is timed.  In some levels you can collect clocks to earn a bit of bonus time, but when the timer runs out you have to restart the level.

In order to complete a level you must collect all the acorns on the level.  Once collected five fruit will appear and you get a bonus for collecting all of them and escaping before time runs out.  Certain levels even have you collecting your kids in addition to everything else.  Besides all of that and the clocks you can collect special helmets that will do things like let you jump farther, run faster or become temporarily invincible (which also lets you destroy some bricks).  Hats are only good for a couple of seconds but they will reappear after a while.

There are buttons to run left and right and a button for jumping.  When you’re close to a “swing point” you can press jump again and the squirrel will throw a rope to the swing point.  On the rope you can swing back and forth with the run buttons, and pressing jump will release you from the swing point and additionally execute a spin jump if you’re going fast enough.  The controls work pretty well, though sometimes jumping can get pretty tricky depending on what’s around the platforms where you’re trying to jump.

Little Acorns is cute, which might lead you to a false sense that the game is easy.  The characters are blocky and suspiciously missing any appendages (at least for critters like the squirrel and porcupine).  The backgrounds are alternately detailed and simple where necessary, and as for each level where you get all the bonus fruit you’ll unlock a costume part that your squirrel can wear.  The sound effects are a mixture of cheesy and good, but overall manage to work together quite well.  I especially dig the organ riff when you die.  The music is decent enough and they were kind enough to provide a different tune for each season.

In the end there’s certainly enough to like about Little Acorns.  I don’t know that there’s much of anything new here, but it has certainly kept me entertained up to this point.  The cuddly exterior might make it especially frustrating for the younger set, who could find the game a bit more difficult then what they expect, but more experienced gamers should quite enjoy the challenge.  If you like platform games, you won’t regret adding this one to your collection – just don’t expect it to be the next evolution in the genre or anything.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Little AcornsDeveloper: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:
  • Plenty of challenging levels
  • Cute visuals
  • Decent soundtrack
  • Jumping can be tricky
  • Nothing really new

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