To anyone who’s played Bit Trip Runner, the premise behind 2 Fast 4 Gnomz is immediately familiar: a colourfully drawn cartoon character propelled forward at break neck speed, tasked with avoiding pitfalls, jumping across ledges and activating controls in a bid to just stay alive. The purpose of all this hectic careening from one side of the screen to another? Well, to rescue the princess, of course. And to collect socks. Yes, socks. We’re not entirely sure why rescuing a kidnapped princess should go hand in hand (or is that hand in foot) with collecting socks. But there you go. Needless to say the game is fast, frantic and, yes, we have to admit it, fiendishly fun.
Originally released as WiiWare, 2 Fast 4 Gnomz is the latest offering from Qubic Games of My Little Restaurant fame. 2F4G is a fast moving platformer where you run from the left hand side of the screen to the right avoiding obstacles and jumping across ledges.
Work your way through the levels and you acquire four powers which allow your character to transform instantaneously into different gnomes with abilities ranging from being able to float in the air or drop like a rock, to turning back time or putting your peddle to the mettle and lurch into warp speed. The insanely clever level design means that you’re going to need to use your wits and fingers very quickly to call on the right power at the right time if you’re to clear the level.
The game boasts four seasonally-themed worlds with ten levels each and five Nightmare stages unlocked by doing well on the first 40 levels. At the bottom of your screen there is a counter for the number of socks you’ve collected and the number of times you’ve died. Perfect for replay value as, after you’ve completed a level, you’ll be tempted to go back and do it again to get that ever elusive perfect score.
2 Fast 4 Gnomz, however, is not without its drawbacks. The controls can sometimes be a little sluggish making jumping across a ravine or across one ledge to another a tricky affair which calls for just the right timing. The trick is to press the jump button a nano second before you want the character to jump? Don’t know what a nano second is? Hmmm….this could be tricky. There are also some unanswered design questions surrounding the environmental hazards. Some, like bushes, can kill you while others are there just to make the scenery look pretty. The problem you’ll have is being able to tell one from the other. Get it wrong and you’ll die again and again.
In fairness Too Fast 4 Gnomz has one of the most generous checkpoint systems and fastest respawn rates we’ve seen in a game of this type. So, seconds after you die, you jump back into the fray for another try. It can be frustrating but, once you’ve memorised the level, the game becomes much easier to navigate. The 3D by the way is gorgeously rendered and the in-game scenery is both bright, vivid and immersive. A brilliant poster campaign for the 3DS.
Too Fast 4 Gnomz is a great way to show off your 3DS and kill about 50 hours jumping across ledges, avoiding boulders and collecting those precious socks. Is it the best game on the 3DS? Probably not. Would we recommend it? Definitely.
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