Turtle Tale

Published by Saturnine, Developed by Saturnine

Genres: Platformer (1 players)

US release date: May 22nd, 2014 | EU release date: May 22nd, 2014

Prices: $2.49 (US) | £2.49 (UK) | €2.77 (EUR)

Turtle Tale review

Classic-style platformer that will make a player think

Zach Meeks wrote this game review.

Review written by
Zach Meeks

June 22nd, 2014

Turtle Tale is an excellent NES-style platformer game, which captures the essence of the 1980s. The graphics have been updated away from their NES roots, but the gameplay remains mainly the same. The two button B/Y controls gives the player two actions: jump or shoot the water gun. These controls, combined with the inability to kill enemies on contact, causes Turtle Tale to play like Super Mario Bros. with no stomping and the Fire Flower always on. And, I loved it.

The story starts out in a very predictable fashion for games of this style. Turtle Island has been overrun by invading pirates, led by Captain O'Haire, and it is now Shelldon's job, equipped with only a squirt gun, to rescue the island by running through its very treacherous and extremely diverse landscapes. He will encounter crabs, monkeys, trolls, bats, tikis, seagulls, parrots, and god-forsaken toucans on his way to his final showdown with Captain O'Haire.

Turtle Tale screenshotThe gameplay is stripped down to the bare bones for a platformer. The game is all about moving from platform to platform in a slow and methodical fashion. It rewards players for stopping and waiting for the best moment to move. Trying to speedrun through this game will definitely lead to failure quickly. There are no power-ups, puzzles, or boss battles, until the Final Battle, but that does not really detract from the overall value of the game.

This bare-bones approach leads to an insanely high difficulty curve once you begin to encounter flying opponents that are impossible to reach with your water gun until they are attacking you. It definitely makes for a frustrating time through some of the levels, but it makes finishing the level even sweeter.

One of the most frustrating and fulfilling parts of the game is the very basic controls. You only have the ability to move side to side, jump, and shoot. While the lack of ability to aim can be frustrating at times, it makes the player make the most of what they have and brings an element of strategy into the game that would not be there if it were just "spray and pray" (pun intended).

Turtle Tale screenshotThe aspect of the game that impressed me the most was the realistic physics of the water gun. When Shelldon fires his water gun, the squirt begins to arc after it has been in the air and the beam becomes several droplets, which do less damage individually than the beam. This accurate use of physics is particularly impressive in a genre known for shots that fly off straight forever.

The graphics are definitely an upgrade from the platformer games of old, but they are nothing incredible. Turning the 3D effects on improves the visuals, but only on a superficial level. The audio is very repetitive, with the same song playing for every level in the same world, but it rapidly fades into the background as you concentrate more on the gameplay and becomes a nice backdrop.

The only real replay value in the game is the collecting of 100 fruit in each level. These fruits are not particularly hidden or hard to reach, but in the madness of trying to jump, shoot, and move onto the next platform, one can easily miss a couple. The reward for collecting all of the fruit is a second quest.

Overall, Turtle Tale is an NES-style platforming game which stays true to its roots. The use of an extremely basic control scheme makes the game frustrating at times, but also causes the player to use patience and strategy to wait for the perfect moment to move. With its low price tag, Turtle Tale is definitely worth picking up and playing. Just don't be surprised if you come out with a hatred for toucans.


Gameplay: Gameplay score: 8

Graphics: Graphics score: 7

Sound: Sound score: 5

Lifespan: Lifespan score: 7

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