Sunny spring weather got us pecan outside, tempted to break quarantine. But no! Stay inside with some mates, play some video games instead. Maybe you’ve played Mario Kart to death, and are looking for something new to play with your roommates. Save Your Nuts launched today, could it be the party game to Save us All from going Nuts?
Nuturally, there’s a brief story about some uppity squirrels setting up the Olympics, but that’s just a framework to get to the three game modes, all of which can be played with up to 8 players locally or online.
Capture the Nuts mode features an acorn being dropped on the field and teams fight to score it. This looks a lot like soccer or basketball, depending on the playing field. Apart from the Capture the Nuts mode, Save Your Nuts includes Thieves, a war to steal multiple enemy’s nuts while protecting your own team’s, and Battle, a punching fight to determine who will be the last animal to keep their nuts intact. All three modes are playable in 10 different arenas, from castles to traffic, which present their own obstacles and moving hazards.
No party game is complete without power-ups, and Save Your Nuts has quite a few. Food items scattered around the arenas give players boosts like speed, strength, shield, and can be quickly picked up on the go. Other stronger power-ups can be found by digging at a red X on the playfield. While these special power-ups were fun, especially poop drop with sound effects or jetpack making players careen all over the field, these simply take to long to dig up while the nut grabbing action is all around.
Every player gets to pick an animal and dress them up with hats and give them different fur colors. Your choice in animal gives bonuses to speed or other attributes, while the color customization hopefully makes your character stand out on the field more. Sadly, the low resolution textures on the characters always led to confusion in my experience, and the character design really looked basically the same on the field. When four animals converged on a nut, it was just a jumble of snouts and tails. The textures on the arenas were not much better sadly. Instead of crisp clean lines and bright cartoony colors, I experienced a lot of smudgy, smeary textures. Keep in mind I was playing the Switch version, the Xbox and Steam Version may look better.
It was a challenge during the current situation to get four players together to play, but we did. We tried all three modes and the group had the most fun playing Thieves because of the strategy of stealing acorns from the opposing base. This was also the mode where the most power-ups came into play because there was time to collect them. After the initial novelty of chasing each other around grabbing each others nuts, players became frustrated, not being able to keep track of their character on screen. The greatest factor that kept us from playing longer is that no matter the mode, gameplay degenerated to a nut cluster of combat around the acorn, with passing and power-ups not coming into play.
You might be thinking that with muddy graphics and unbalanced mob battle gameplay that I am completely panning this game. Walnut so fast! There is fun to be had in Save Your Nuts! We laughed at the fart sounds for poop drops, and scoring a goal caused the whole living room to cheer. Sadly, the tangled confusion of hard to distinguish characters all clustered wherever the acorn was got old fast. I’m not sure I can recommend the MSRP of $14.99 for as much time as my group wanted to play it. I highly recommend you check out the demo, which includes one stage to try for free before you put all your nuts in one basket.
A copy of Save Your Nuts for Nintendo Switch was provided by the publisher Triple Scale Games for the purpose of this review.