Hands-on with Chillingo's Little Acorns on iOS

Mighty trees

Hands-on with Chillingo's Little Acorns on iOS
| Little Acorns

Old skool platformers work because they have simple controls and simpler premises. Forthcoming Chillingo title Little Acorns has both, and after our recent hands-on with the game we think it's one of the more promising platformers coming out in January.

You play as – what else? – a squirrel trying to get nuts for your family. Collecting all of the nuts on the screen will open up the gate to the next level, of 60 in total.

The emphasis is on platforming, whether it be leaping for an acorn or jumping on an evil caterpillar to get to a higher ledge.

The main enemy here isn’t the bad guys, but the time limit. The levels are split into the four seasons, with the later areas proving more difficult as you approach hibernation. Clearing levels faster will give you more slack, while getting hit by enemies will stun you enough to hurt your time.

Pitfall squirrely

Both the animation and the controls lend themselves to running through levels quickly. The only things you have to worry about are moving left, moving right, and jumping. There are also bonus items that appear after you grab all the nuts, so the game ends up being a strategic consideration of time vs score.

Little Acorns plays like a sophisticated version of Pitfall. The screen subtly zooms in and out based on your movements, and in later levels you have to grab ropes to swing over gorges. The tongue-in-cheek animations give it a Saturday morning cartoon flavour.

Little Acorns has smart level design, tight controls, and solid humour. We look forward to spending more time with it when it hits iPhone and iPad next month.