Publisher: Graffiti Games
Developer: Snoozy Kazoo
Release Date: 04/22/2021 – 11/12/2021 (Physical)
Rating: Everyone 10+
MSRP: $19.99 ($24.99 Physical)
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The title is very intriguing and unlike most game titles. Another game title based on a crime, Grand Theft Auto, is the single biggest video game franchise in history, so how does a white-collar crime-based game compare? Well, there are no data sheets or graphing in this game, but this is a 2D isometric Zelda clone where you are trying to stop a corrupt onion mayor from pushing his greed onto the vegetable people.
The game starts out with a short opening of you, Turnip Boy, who hasn’t paid the property tax of his greenhouse and owes a lot of money to the money. He is wanted for tax evasion and must work off the debt by helping the mayor collect four items for an unknown reason. These four items make up the entirety of the game as well as four small dungeons. There is a small world to explore with collectible hats that can be obtained by helping veggies around the area. Each dungeon contains a final boss and an item the mayor needs.
Wandering around the village is easy enough and memorable thanks to landmarks and great level design. There are signposts that guide you to the general areas and the mayor will tell you what area you need to be in. There are plenty of NPCs to talk to that provide fairly funny dialog. Nothing that will make you cry, but some funny tidbits and real-world references from the last 5 years. You start the game out with nothing and eventually acquire a sword and a watering can. The can is used more than the sword, but mostly for puzzle solving. You can make green lilies grow and this activates bombs, melons, and various other items. You also get a portal pot that plants portals (a call back to Portal with the orange and blue colors) and an upgraded shovel sword (maybe a nod to Shovel Knight?) There are a few passive things you acquire like a hazmat suit, boots to kick blocks, and a few others. These are all recovered relatively quickly. Each dungeon takes maybe 30 minutes to complete and that includes getting to the dungeon itself. Boss fights are the hardest thing in the game and that’s not saying much. The combat is really easy and similar to older Zelda games, but there aren’t as many enemy types and their movements don’t vary much. There’s very little challenge in this game.
Bosses usually require you to use the last acquired item to beat it, just like in Zelda games, and then you get a heart and move on. Once you give the mayor his item he sends you onto your next quest. Inside these dungeons, you can help other NPCs and acquire hats or smaller passive items like keys to get further inside. I never really got lost anywhere and I thought exploring the game was rather fun. Sadly, due to the combat being so easy and the game so short, about 2-3 hours run time even if you do side quests, it’s no more than a short afternoon gaming affair. There’s nothing quite memorable about this game either other than the title itself and the art style which is beautiful and well done. It’s a mix of 16-bit visuals and modern cartoon art. The music is fantastic as well, but there’s just not enough of all of this. Turnip Boy’s dungeons are fun and well laid out, but they’re very short and I feel there’s so much more potential here, but it’s all cut short right when you feel the game is getting deeper.
There is a free DLC update that adds a rogue-lite train dungeon with a final boss, but if you aren’t fond of the combat you won’t care here. Unless you really want to spend several hours swinging your sword at stiff baddies then the final game will be enough. There are a few more objectives to complete and more hats to collect, but the main game isn’t long enough to make you love this game enough to want to spend more time in its world. What’s here is a ton of fun and it’s a visual and comical treat, but it feels more like a sample of what a longer game could be. The puzzles are solid, the gameplay mechanics are great, the combat is simple, but works, and there’s tons of humor here. It’s a fun time and worth a purchase, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking.