Turtle Pop: Journey to Freedom
Developed By : Zengami
Published By : Digipen Game Studios
Category : Arcade, Platformer, Puzzle
Release Date : March 9, 2018
Rookie studio Zengami, out of SIngapore, looks to make a bit splash in the gaming industry with their first release, Turtle Pop for Nintendo Switch. So much so, that they’ve thrown all their eggs in one basket — or shell — and made the game exclusive to the Switch. It releases today in the eShop, but can their first title pop into the market and stand on it’s own?
At a first glance, Turtle Pop appears to be just your every day, average platforming game. Over the course of the games first four or five levels, which serve as a tutorial, it becomes quite clear that this is not the case. The story follows Bebo and his friends, on their quest to rescue all the lost turtles that are scattered across the game’s levels.
You’ll be carefully walked through learning the many mechanics of the game before you’re finally set free to push forward all on your own. The turtles can only be controlled one at a time, but you can switch between them as long as they are visible on the screen. You can run in one direction or the other, jump, and wall jump. There’s a pretty cool feature (which can be equally cruel) called Turtle Link, which will sync up all turtles within a certain radius and make them all perform the same moves that the main turtle (controlled by you) is performing.
Each level has the same objective. Throughout are scattered a number of turtles that all need to be found and led to the goal at the end of the stage. You must overcome obstacles and a spattering of puzzles to do so, while some levels will even be broken up into multiple stages before you can reach the goal. Either way, once you reach the end, it triggers a twenty second bonus round in which yellow turtles can just start appearing out of thin air. These will need to be guided to the goal as well, but the bonus round happens right at the end so it’s not all that difficult. The more you save, the higher your multiplier and score will be for that level.
Getting through the levels is what can be fun and challenging. There are numerous types of puzzles to solve that involve things like destroying bombs, moving blocks around to open up pathways, and performing some match-three’s. All this is aided by The Genie, a flying support turtle who you can call upon any moment you need them. Through them you’ll be able to move the blocks around to either clear paths or perform the matches in order to reach the end goal.
However, their most important aspect comes from the final and probably largest area of the game. By completing levels you can obtain a collection of cards to aid you in your journey. Some of these cards perform specific tasks, farming objects like watermelon and bombs. The watermelon acts as a healing item, reviving any turtles you come across that are dazed and unable to move. Additionally, they act as a boost, allowing your turtle to move a bit faster and jump higher, helping you clear larger gaps and reach higher level platforms. Meanwhile, bombs are…well I’d say pretty self-explanatory. You place them to eliminate blocks on the stage or other bombs.
Other cards provide you with an armory to store these items in, and ones that produce sun and moon coins, the games form of collectibles. These can also be found naturally through the course of the levels, but if you wish to upgrade the cards you earn, these coins are what you’ll need to do so.
While it seems a lot to take in, everything that Turtle Pop brings you isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. Things are broken up and don’t take place concurrently, so the card system won’t need to be a twinkling of a thought in your mind until you’re between levels. I myself was a bit overwhelmed by everything, because it is thrown at you pretty fast. But, it very quickly tapers off and things fall right into place. There is a ton of stuff to do in this game, and it doesn’t stop at the campaign. You can play through it in co-op mode, or battle it out with up to three other people in a plethora of mini-games that are sure to entertain endlessly. Turtle Pop is a beautiful title for a first release. Initially intended to be a mobile game release, Zengami Switched gears and brought this game exclusively to the console, and it couldn’t be a more perfect home for it.
It’s out today in the eShop, so try not to flop on your back as you go get your copy. Grab a friend, grab the family, and save those turtles. Or…you know, fight amongst yourselves and enjoy the adorable animations these turtles will grace your screen with.
Turtle Pop supports all modes of gameplay, and is beautiful and crisp whether you play off the tablet screen, or docked on your home television. The controls feel amazing across all modes as well, and fit perfectly into a single joy-con when you’re splitting them for co-op. Pick your poison with this title, you’ll have just as much fun no matter what.
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