Nutjitsu – As We Play

Version Tested – 1.0

Format – Xbox One

Much like the essence of the game, Nutjitsu stealthily appeared on the Xbox Store recently with nothing more than a simple press release. Sadly, within a minute of booting up the game it’s obvious why.  Released as part of the ID@Xbox program, a lack of AAA polish could be forgiven. But a game devoid of a lack of quality as well has no place on Xbox One.

The game itself is beyond simple. It’s pretty much a Pac-Man clone with some pre-rendered backdrops that occasionally change to represent different levels. You must collect acorns scattered around the map, avoiding enemy squirrels until the objective is met. When you finish one level, you move onto the next with absolutely no sense of progression or flow through the world. I was expecting at least an Angry Birds style level selection screen with a star rating attached to each level. At least that would have been something so that you can actually feel like you’re getting somewhere or making constant progress.

The cute art style in no way makes up for extremely dull gameplay

Some different level objectives attempt to inject some life into the title. As well as your standard “collect as many acorns as you can” mode, sometimes you only have to pick up acorns of a particular colour, sometimes you can only carry a certain number of acorns before dropping them off to collect more, and sometimes you have to pick up scrolls instead of acorns. It’s as riveting to play as it sounds.

Power-ups can also be unlocked and purchased with coins as you progress through the game. These range from speed boosts to fire bombs, all of which make it almost impossible to lose a level as they are far too overpowered. Had the game been free to play, I suspect these power-ups would have served as in-app purchases for real money because they really do not balance out at all. The incentive is far too great for you not to purchase some.

To add further salt to the wound, you may be aware that Nutjitsu is currently available, for free, on Windows 8 mobile platforms. If you were not aware, this Xbox One port makes it painfully obvious with its legacy touchscreen style menus and ear-bleeding sounds and occasional music. Despite being a free mobile game, this console version costs $7 – and for that you’re basically getting achievements and controller support. That’s it. Everything else is identical.

After minimal playtime, all achievements can be unlocked

The only silver lining from Nutjitsu comes for achievement hunters. A very generous 1000 Gamerscore can be unlocked with just a few hours of play. I don’t normally mention Gamerscore in an As We Play, but it is about the only positive that I can come up with.

If I was reviewing Nutjitsu as a mobile game I’d still find it hard to recommend to anyone. But as an Xbox One title, Indie or not, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to call it a disgrace. Frankly I’m amazed that NinjaBee had anything to do with this mess at all.

 Areas for Development

  • More objective variety
  • Better level design
  • Better value for money
  • Better sound effects and music
  • Better graphics
  • Make it feel like more of a console game and less of a mobile port.
  • Make it free like the Windows Phone 8 version

Final Analysis

Don’t waste your money.

 

Technical Competency – 2/10
Graphic/Sound Quality – 1/10
Network Stability – N/A
Overall – 2/10

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