[Disclaimer: indie games that I review are reviewed differently than larger development team games; “AAA” games. This doesn’t mean I don’t hold them to high standards, but rather, I take into considerations different variables, such as the size of the actual development team, or the type of finances that were available]
Turtle Tale originally made its debut on Nintendo’s handheld system, the 3DS. With colorful art and pure platforming elements, I was interested in how Saturnine Games would port the title over to the Wii U. So, how did it transfer over to the home console?
Visuals – 7.75/10
Turtle Tale is colorful, which is a great thing. It really works in its favor, as far as visuals go. The usage of colors in the title helps to combat visual fatigue; each landscape feels different, even if the gameplay mechanics and level designs are incredibly similar.
The game also runs very smoothly: I didn’t find any frame rate drops, nor any hiccups in the animations. And while I’m on animations, there were plenty to be found. Seagulls fly back and forth, dropping every now and then to get in the player’s way, monkey pirates jump up and down or running back and forth, Tiki monsters creep on platforms and throw magic stars at the player. There are plenty of animations to go around, and it helps bring the art style to life.
I also enjoyed the little touches added, such as Shelldon’s face when he squirts the water gun at enemies, or the way his legs (or should I say flippers?) flop end over end, barely lifting off the ground. There is a lot of character in this title through its visual presentation, but I do have one complaint: there isn’t enough variety in the actual characters.
There are plenty of animations to go around, but where the visuals lack in Turtle Tale are in the variety of enemies. There are a handful of enemies, which include a crab, a monkey, a seagull, a toucan, a Tiki monster, some bees, a bunny pirate, a caveman, and a parrot. The levels have their own unique visual differences, the character animations are much the same, but the actual variety in characters is a little lacking.
Other than that, Turtle Tale runs smoothly, while providing a good sense of art direction.
Audio – 5/10
The music is decent enough for a title like Turtle Tale, but because the visuals were so colorful, I expected the audio to be up to par. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as thrilled about the music in the title, though the audio cues fit the style just fine.
Audio cues, such as the “pop” noise when enemies are defeated with the water gun, or the sound the water gun makes, fit the art style very well. Cartoon-like and playful, they serve their purpose well, adding to the character of the game overall. However, the musical compositions in Turtle Tale are a little lacking. What I mean is this: each world has its own unique visual style, so the music needs to accompany that style and add to it, but the music in the game seems to have just been added on to the final product of each world.
There were two compositions that fit out of the various worlds the player traverses through: the first world (“Beach”) and the last world (“Sky”). In fact, I greatly enjoyed the “Sky” composition and thought it fit the types of levels and visuals of the entirety of the world. Outside of those two, however, the music was decent enough, but just didn’t seem to fit very well.
Gameplay – 7/10
Turtle Tale is very simple, but that doesn’t diminish the fact it is fun. I mean, it is old school NES fun; it feels like it could’ve easily been an older title, in a good way. The player is in control of Shelldon, the main turtle protagonist, and uses a squirt gun to take out enemies and progress through each level – this game is pure platforming. In addition to reaching the end, the player can collect 100 different pieces of fruit throughout each level. For the most part, the fruit is easy to collect, but there were some cases where it was a little difficult to pick up a couple pieces of fruit due to the landscape or the enemies nearby.
The game is divided into various worlds, each world containing three levels. The only variation in this comes with the final boss battle, which is it’s own world/level. What really helped to prolong the gameplay in Turtle Tale was that there was an entire “Second Quest” to play; the player goes through the game again, but it is much harder than the first time through.
Simple and entertaining best describes Turtle Tale, but again, I have one complaint: there did need to be some more variation. Much like the visual style, the gameplay had great parts, but lacked variety in actual gameplay mechanics. What I just described as the gameplay is all there is to it. The lack of different gameplay mechanics, or new things to do over the course of a play-through hindered this being a great title to own, keeping it as a good title to own.
Entertainment Factor – 8/10
As I said before, Turtle Tale entertained me for a decent amount of time, especially for its price tag of $2.99 on the eShop. Though not as much variation in gameplay as I had hoped, I had fun with it, and is a very nice little addition to any Wii U owner’s game library. The “First Quest” took me roughly an hour to complete, collecting every piece of fruit along the way. The “Second Quest,” however, added difficulty and took me longer to fully complete; my total play time with the game ran a little over four and a half hours.
Though I had fun with the game, I have to point out that there was little online usage – essentially boiled down to Miiverse – and the GamePad was only used for off-TV play. I had hoped there might have been a little more usage out of the GamePad.
All in all, Saturnine Games did a great job porting the title over to the Wii U from the 3DS. Turtle Tale is a nice little title for any Wii U owner to have, especially for such a cheap price. Normally, games at this price range are much more simple than what Turtle Tale manages to do, so the title succeeded greatly in this aspect. I recommend Turtle Tale to those looking for a simplistic platforming game with solid controls and excellent usage of colors.
Overall – 7/10