Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2 Fast 4 Gnomz (3DSWare) Review

Once again, Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating, and if you aren't, have a wonderful holiday season. If you don't celebrate the holidays at all, then you're simply making this difficult for me on purpose, aren't you? Just kidding.

Regardless, that review I was alluding to earlier is for a downloadable 3DS game that you can try out via demo first on the Nintendo eShop. It is 2 Fast 4 Gnomz from QubicGames.

Sock It to These Gnomz

It is Christmas day, and you know, when many people associate Christmas with Santa, they associate elves with jolly old St. Nick. What about those lesser heralded small-in-stature folks? They decorate lawns across the world, and some of them-- unlike elves-- actually work all year long! I am talking about gnomes, and QubicGames is once again paying them their due respect with 2 Fast 4 Gnomz on the Nintendo 3DS's eShop marketplace. Wii owners might be familiar with this title as it originally appeared on the WiiWare service. Is this second helping of "gnomz" good or is it 2 bad 4 words?

2 Fast 4 Gnomz is a runner-type game. Your gnome is perpetually in motion, and it is your job to dash, jump, and duck your way through progressively more fiendish levels while gathering socks and avoiding hazards like pits, walls, spikes, tornadoes, and other devious traps.

At the start of 2 Fast 4 Gnomz, you are limited to simply jumping, but as you make your way through the game, you obtain new powers. These are activated via the direction pad. Holding up opens up a glider, perfect for crossing large chasms. Holding down activates Berserk mode, where your gnome can channel his anger and smash and crash his way through obstacles and stay grounded during tornadoes. Holding right gives a burst of speed, necessary to jet past falling icicles, for instance. The last power allows you to turn back time as you pass a clock. This is performed by pressing the left direction on the d-pad.

Starting out, 2 Fast 4 Gnomz possesses a relatively relaxed difficulty, but as new powers are introduced, your reflexes will get put to the test in a mighty fine fashion. It is commonplace for levels to have you switching between pressing d-pad directions with split-second timing. One second you're gliding up a wind tunnel while the next you are wanting to quickly fall to the ground and enter Berserk mode so you don't get blown away by the upcoming tornado.

Therein lies a problem with 2 Fast 4 Gnomz. A significant portion of successfully completing levels is left to pure memorization. Sure, that aforementioned split-second timing comes in at the occasional point, but the game mostly relies on having the player have the level ingrained in their memory to beat it. If you simply want to beat the game, then you need not worry about memorizing much. Dying simply takes you back to the last checkpoint you crossed, and you have an unlimited number of tries. However, if you wish to 100% the game, you will need to memorize each level and always be thinking one step (or several steps) ahead.

Speaking of which, there is a good amount of replay value in the game. Each level has three different ratings depending on how you do. There is one for collecting the socks sprinkled around the levels, one for how fast you complete a given level, and one for not dying much (if at all). You can earn up to three stars for each category for a total of  nine stars. Thankfully, you need not get all nine stars in a given run. You can go for the sock stars first, then try not dying a lot, and lastly try to get a great time. It makes for a less frustrating experience.

An issue many had with the WiiWare version of 2 Fast 4 Gnomz was that it was hard telling the background from the playing area. This issue has been cleared up with the 3DS iteration of the game. Not only does the stereoscopic 3D of the Nintendo 3DS do wonders, but there is a greater separation between both backgrounds and the playing space. The music is appropriate for the game, and even after you've died dozens of times on the same level, you won't grow weary of the soundtrack.

While there are many free alternatives on the iOS market to 2 Fast 4 Gnomz, 3DS owners looking for a competent runner game will most likely enjoy the game. It has a cute charm to it, it is engaging, and it is generally a rather fun time. The focus on memorization for completionists will no doubt put some players off, but overall, 2 Fast 4 Gnomz delivers a good challenge and plenty of enjoyment.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.0/10]

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