Review: Turtle Tale

A tale not worth telling.

By Anthony Pershkin. Posted 07/09/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Low price; decent controls; colorful backgrounds.
Poison Mushroom for...
Uninspired and lazy level design; no sense of progression; annoying difficulty-spikes; repetitive gameplay.

Currently, indie games are experiencing probably the best time they’ll ever have. Almost any great idea can be turned into a real game thanks to Kickstarter. You even have indie games being shown off on stage of big gaming shows like E3. Truly, this is the time of opportunities for independent developers. With that being said, the golden age is still tough for small and inexperienced teams, who now have to compete with dozens of other projects. But I still want to believe that no matter how small your development team or how low your budget is, creativity and originality will help you make something interesting, at the very least. This is totally not the case with Turtle Tale.

Turtle Tale begins with a slight promise of decent platforming action. Under the colorful yet bland visuals and forgettable story, there is a game that would feel right at home on NES. The jumping feels decent, shooting stuff is relatively satisfying, and collecting fruits gives some purpose for the player to be better at getting through the levels. You even get a classic backwards-falling that hardened the fans of old Castlevanias back in the day. The problem is the game doesn’t progress or change in any way whatsoever. The enemies are pretty much the same throughout the whole thing, you get no power-ups, and boss fights are completely absent until the very end of the game. In every level you just go from left to right, jumping across platforms, shooting enemies, and collecting 100 pieces of fruit. It’s as basic as my description of it. If you already guessed it, Turtle Tale gets repetitive pretty fast. The core gameplay is solid for a couple of levels, but not strong enough to support a game this mundane and unimaginative.

The difficulty is the only thing that goes through some kind of change throughout the adventure. And even when it does, it doesn’t go the way you’d imagine it. The first levels are painfully easy and do absolutely nothing to prepare you for a sudden difficulty-spike that happens later on. I can’t even say Turtle Tale gets challenging, but rather just plain annoying. The majority of the time you will be fighting against the controls and lazy level design, rather than the game itself. Thankfully, the game gives you mid-level checkpoints and unlimited lives, so it’s not that painful to get through some of the later cheap encounters. If you’re feeling lucky, you can also embark on a quest to collect every fruit in each stage, which in the end will unlock even more levels. Think of it as a “second quest” of sorts.

Despite the aforementioned generic art style, the game looks somewhat nice with its bright, vivid colors and multi-layered backdrops. Every new world looks different, but suffers from the same repetitive level design. So, in the end you kind of stop noticing the changing backgrounds after a while. Just like its gameplay, Turtle Tale‘s visuals suffer from the same mundane nature.

Turtle Tale is uninspired, boring, and repetitive, but deep down it hides a very simple, yet playable action platformer. If you’re itching for a very basic retro-style game to kill some time, you might as well go for it. I would like to say the amount of money the developers are asking for Turtle Tale is relatively fair, but there are much better games on the 3DS eShop for the same budget price.

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