A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – 2 Fast 4 Gnomz
Version: eShop (3DS)
Release date: 11/1/2012
Acquired: Review Copy courtesy of QubicGames
“4 Gnomz go on an adventure, and they don’t even know where they are going.” This quote was taken right how Nintendo’s website for this game’s description and this couldn’t be more true to describe how you feel when you play this game. This is an action packed, runner type of game that will keep you on your heels as your Gnome races through the levels by gliding, charging, sprinting or going back in time (slightly).
Gameplay & Controls:
This game is one of those runner like games similar to Temple Run or Samurai G. But where this game succeeds is that the levels have an endpoint or a destination that the runner must reach. The Gnome moves automatically, and the player must jump, glide, charge, sprint or rewind time their way through each level. Your initial Gnome will not have all of those abilities, but as you clear each world (a collection of 10 themed levels) then you unlock another Gnome and a new ability. Your initial Gnome can only glide, by pressing and holding up on the directional pad. The player simply presses A to jump then can activate the glide mid-air and hold it for the desired length of time. They can also release and re-apply to drop in height and continue gliding, making this a tricky maneuver in some of the more difficult levels. Along the way, the player must help the Gnome collect brightly colored socks. The game does not explain why socks, but it’s to add to the craziness.
Each level (except the Nightmare courses) has check points where the player re-spawns if they die. This makes it easy to resume somewhat near where you were last and allows you to grab each and every sock. When the level completes, the player is graded in two initial and eventually three categories. First the player’s total socks collected are totaled and receives a star, 2 stars or 3 stars based on a preset ratio of socks acquired or times died. 3 stars is only if you hit perfection and grab each and every one. Next the player is graded on the number of times they die. It does not count if you restart, or redo the level, but only when you are on the level or resuming mid-level. Eventually in World III, the player gets graded on time, when they gain the ability to sprint, forcing you to beat the clock. Each level has 9 stars available to acquire, and thankfully you don’t have to complete all 3 categories on a single run. The player can do a deathless run, collection run and a timed run and it will save all 9 stars on that level.
On the touch screen, it tracks your deaths, total socks collected and time. In the second world, the player gains the ability to charge. This is applied by pressing (and holding) down on the directional pad. This allows you to drop quickly from a jump, charge through trees, or stay planted on the ground through a world wind storm. In world III, the player gains the ability to sprint, by holding right on the directional pad, and finally in world IV, the player can rewind time a little by using left. The player can only rewind time at specified clocks placed within the level.
The game is pretty enjoyable, as players will have to figure out the patterns of moves to advance through each and every level. The player may need to land quickly and break through a tree, then immediately jump and activate the glider to sail up through the water sprout, and then land into charge mode again. Each level is set, so it never changes between each play through. Once the player completes world IV, world V unlocks with 5 Nightmare courses. Each Nightmare course requires 80 of the 90 stars from the previous 4 worlds and the 5th Nightmare course requiring 24 of the 36 Nightmare stars. Let me tell you the Nightmare courses are nuts and there are no check points as the player must do the entire course in a single run.
Graphics & Sound:
You can get a pretty good feel for the graphics from the screen shots. The backgrounds, elements, characters while playing are pretty crisp. The animations from the cut scenes are a little poor. The 3D slider adds a little depth to the background elements, but it is not required to play nor does it really enhancement the experience. The music is probably the weakest part of this game as it is a basic track that is on repeat. When you die it reloads the song again so you could get stuck listening to the same portion of the song over and over again. The map music is about a 10-20 second clip that also repeats frequently. The sound effects are mostly basic but add a nice feel to the game, particular when you get squished or fall into the endless pit.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
Overall, this game is pretty solid. The courses are well designed and are definitely challenging. This game’s difficulty level of increase can be compared to Fractured Soul, where you are just a few levels in and then you feel the difficulty spike all of a sudden. On average I would die around 2-5 times in world I, but that jumped up to 15 in world 2 since it has you alternating up and down on the control pad within a very short period of time. Besides the lacking in the music and cut scene graphics areas, there is also no form of leaderboards or multiplayer. The leader boards would be nice to compare best runs, and/or also track the worst run, but is only a minor recommendation. I would recommend this game to those that enjoy runner type games jam-packed with action and a little adventure.