Little Acorns Deluxe is a title that has grown tall and proud from the smallest of beginnings, but one that in so doing has rather overreached. An indie platformer that started life on iOS and Windows Phone, its move to XBLIG, console and controller does more to expose the limits of the touchscreen than showcase the strength of its new home.
That said, Team Pesky’s art benefits from the scale of a TV screen and its simple colours and squared off character designs are showcased perfectly by a larger display. This is a tidy, bright and pretty game, with smooth motion and simple mechanics inside levels with unfussy design. Playing a squirrel whose task is to correct all the acorns dotted around LAD’s levels, you can only exit the arena when every last collectible has been grabbed.
But Little Acorns’ smartphone origins are plain to see amid the unchallenging levels and simple tasks: those uncluttered levels make sense on a phone, perhaps, but here they’re just obstacle courses without obstacles. Enemies feel similarly neutered – incapable of actually hurting your squirrel, the best they can manage is slowing you down. A simple rope-swinging mechanic makes traversing these levels more interesting, but other variations are introduced at the rate of arboreal growth.
Clearly designed around the limits of a much simpler interface, the original Little Acorns’ awareness of its limits has been Deluxe’s undoing. Charming but bland, this is platforming at its most inoffensive and unambitious.