2D puzzle platformers are a dime a dozen yet here's one that actually brings some clever concepts to the table.
Wait, why the heck am I reviewing a game that came out a few months ago? Basically, TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom seemed interesting to me since it released yet I didn't have the time to play it when it debuted. Then, a freshly updated version arrived and I thought that now would be a good time to play through and review it. I'm happy to say: I'm glad I did.
So, what's TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom all about? You essentially control a variety of turtles in order to lead them to each stage's exit. However, there are plenty of dangers lurking around so you have to constantly judge each scenario in order to make sure no turtle is harmed. Each type of turtle controls differently and has their own abilities so as you progress; the gameplay becomes much more varied. The basic controls involve running and jumping but you can also control a genie who can throw power-ups at the turtles as well as bombs and tiles that are used to alter the stages so your turtles can advance. Being able to achieve a perfect run will require a lot of planning and quick thinking. There's nothing quite like simultaneously controlling a horde of turtles so they make it safely home.
TurtlePop's visuals are colourful and vibrant which helps establish its cheerful tone. Speaking of which, the whimsical music is sure to put a smile on your face as you guide your turtles to victory. Plus, the sound effects add a layer of satisfaction to each onscreen moment, especially the victory screens. My only complaint in the presentational department is that when things start getting chaotic, the graphics tend to become ambiguous and hard to follow. This can lead to a stray turtle biting the dust which can be very annoying.
Turtle Pop: Journey to Freedom features extremely well-integrated multiplayer in that you can play through the campaign's stages cooperatively with a friend and there are even battle mini-games for up to four players. When playing co-op, one player controls the turtles and the other commands the genie which substantially helps to streamline the gameplay. The party games include Crown Thief where you try and claim a crown for yourself, Lick 'Em Up where you lick turtles to convert them to your colour, and Turtle Clash where you compete to see who can get the highest score while sabotaging your opponents. The developers really went above and beyond to ensure that you can thoroughly enjoy TurtlePop with friends and these mini-games are impressively fun to boot.
In the main story campaign of TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom, there's a complicated system that involves 2 kinds of currencies (Sun Coins and Moon Pearls), levelling up, collectible cards, achievements, and even a shop. All of these aspects work together to help give you certain boosts when you play through the stages but man, is it ever hard to wrap your head around. Can't I just play the game without having to claim prizes, level cards up, assign items to the genie, and all that jazz? I understand that these mechanics could be rewarding RPG elements yet it's all so overly complex that I ended up interacting with the menus as little as possible.
My only other complaint with Turtle Pop is that if you're the kind of gamer who likes to rush through your games, you'll probably have a frustrating time here. This is because you have to really plan ahead and keep an eye on each individual turtle so no harm comes to them. If that sounds like too much responsibility then unfortunately, this is clearly not a game for you.
TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom is one of those games that grows on you the more you play it. If you're willing to put in the necessary time and effort then you're sure to love going on an adventure with these hard-shelled heroes.
- + Unique puzzle platform gameplay that rewards strategic thinking
- + Delightful graphics and sound
- + Well-implemented multiplayer
- - Impatient gamers will find the need to plan ahead quite frustrating
- - Visuals can get a bit too chaotic
- - Card system is pretty cumbersome