Turtle Tale Review (3DS) - A tale of blandness
Turtle Tale is an action platformer developed and published by Saturnine Games. The game release on May 22nd, 2014, and is exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS. Turtle Tale is overall a bland experience in every way but provides just enough to make it playable. It lacks any character or personality of its own which makes the world and characters feel wooden and unreal.
A rude awakening
The story to Turtle Tale is about as basic as it gets. It revolves around the turtle Shelldon. While having a nap in his hammock at the beach one day, a bunch of monkey pirates led by a rabbit captain arrive to invade the island. Upon doing so, they disturb Shelldon's sleep.
He grabs his water gun and hunts down the pirate captain to put a stop to the invasion in efforts to peacefully sleep once again. That is it; that is the story behind the game.
There is no explanation as to why the Pirates are invading the island.Are they looking for something? Treasure perhaps? Why is a band of monkey pirates being led by a rabbit? Your guess is as good as mine. Of what little story there is to be had in the game, there is nothing there to interest the player nor give them a reason to care about the protagonist.
Simple is not always good
Turtle Tale is a very simple game, not just in story but also in gameplay. Throughout the game, the player has to reach the end of each level while avoiding obstacles such as pits and lava. The levels themselves are nice to look at but are simple in design and lack any life to them.
It genuinely feels like you are watching a painting for a background as oppose to it feeling like a living world. Players also have to use Shelldon's water gun to defeat enemies. Most enemies take only about two to three shots from the gun to beat, but some stronger enemies later in the game take a few more.
The enemies, like everything else in the game, are very simple. Their design and animations are basic which makes them look like cardboard cut outs more than living creatures. This also including the protagonist, Shelldon. It adds to the sense of unrealism that the level design already gives.
Along the way, there is a hundred fruit to be found and collected throughout each level.The reason for collecting the fruit has no explanation until the player finishes the game. This is a bad design choice. While playing the game, you think there is no reason to collect the fruit. Without a reason, why would you bother?
It turns out that the fruit unlocks a second quest. The name is quite misleading. A second quest would give the idea that there is a second separate journey to embark on with new levels, enemies and so on.
The second quest is in fact, nothing more than a hardcore version of the original game. It is the same levels designed differently to make them a lot harder. There is nothing more that this "second quest" has to offer.
Everything about Turtle Tale's gameplay and design is simple and bare minimum. It leads to nothing more than collecting fruit while jumping from platform to platform and defeating enemies with a water gun. It lacks that finesse and polish that is required to make it stand out from so many others. It is a true example that sometimes simple is not always a good thing.
A good, nice and atmospheric soundtrack
If there is anything that stands out with the game, it would be the soundtrack. It fits in with the design of each set of levels, creating an atmosphere that suits it significantly. As an example, the beach levels have a more relaxed form of music to it while the cave has a heavier and more urgent feel to it. It adds to the levels and provides the only sense of real atmosphere to the game.
If I was to complain about anything regarding the soundtrack for the game it would be the lack of normalization of the overall audio. The sound levels between the soundtrack and sound effects are not on the same level. It causes the sound effects to drown out a lot of the soundtrack while playing. With no options screen, it isn't possible to balance out the volume of sound and music. It is a shame as the soundtrack is genuinely good and fits in with the game's theme.
A tale of blandness
Turtle Tale is not necessarily a bad game, nor is it a good game. It is just one of the blandest experiences I have ever had. It doesn't excite, yet it isn't so bad that it is unplayable. The story is almost non-existent and what is there is full of plot holes causing it to make no sense.
The gameplay is as basic as it comes, the animations of enemies feel wooden, and the background and levels look like nothing more than a painting. The whole idea of collecting the fruit to unlock the second quest, which isn't as the name suggests, adds so little to the game it is pointless.
The video game market is so saturated with action platformers these days that games need to have their uniqueness and personality to stand out from the crowd. Turtle Tale fails to do this on practically every level which makes it boring in comparison to other games of the genre.
It is a game that I cannot recommend, not while there are so many other platformers that provide a much more thrilling and interesting experience. Despite its relatively low price of $2.99, I can't say it was money well spent. I would recommend saving it for another title that can at least excite.
Turtle Tale is available to buy on the Nintendo e-shop for $2.99 through your 3DS.
Image Source: Saturnine Games