TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom
Top Critic Average
TurtlePop: Journey To Freedom is an interesting first exclusive Switch offering from Zengami, but it's sadly lacking focus. While its myriad genres aren't pulled off poorly, their amalgamation might just prove to be slightly too overwhelming for the targeted younger audience. The main reptile protagonists Bebo, Deephi, Slimmie, Smarts, Willis and Sparky sum up the game's overall feeling: jacks-of-all-trades yet masters of none. There are several superior individual options of all the genres represented in this game already out in Switch's library, but if do decide to take a plunge into this adventure, make sure you take someone along for the ride.
There are parts of TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom that can be delightful. The game looks fine, and the idea of mixing some of these genres together sounds good on paper. The execution, however, is flawed, with some of the genre combinations just not working well with one another. It might be fine for older players, but with a look and premise that seems catered to younger players, the final result ends up being more frustrating than fun. It isn't terrible, but players can do better than this for the time being.
A good game exists in the overburdened chaos that is TurtlePop, but as it stands, this is all far too convoluted to be something worth sinking a lot of time into. Charm can only go so far when strangled by numerous and conflicting ideas.
Despite all its exterior polish, TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom is a bit of a mess. It's trying to pull elements from multiple different genres, but it does it in a chaotic way that leaves the player little time to process what's happening on-screen. It's a constant battle with the controls to switch between the various turtles you need to control, and to also manage the genie, all while various on-screen hazards endanger the player's shot at a perfect score. The co-op mode slightly alleviates some of these issues, but it doesn't do enough to fix the fundamental issues with this quirky puzzle-platformer.
TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom is one of those games that grows on you the more you play it.
The developers additionally threw in provisions for co-op and even some 4-player battle modes as well but while these add some value the core experience is what defines the game for good or ill. As a platformer it has over 100 varied and increasingly challenging levels, some with just a simple time limit and some that the screen will stay on the move, forcing you to keep up. If the game had just focused on that it would be a reasonably good, if forgettable, experience. Unfortunately with the extra layer of menus, screens, and complexity to sort through it trips over itself while ultimately offering very little benefit for the investment. While Turtle Pop has some good ideas and novel gameplay, it is also a bit of a mess.
Turtlepop: Journey to Freedom is a fun title that doesn't fail to charm the socks off you. It follows the adventures of Bebo, Deephi, Slimmie, Willis, and Sparky as they attempt to make their way to freedom and throws in a ton of genres along the way.
TurtlePop has some great features going for it, but in the end, it's a glorified mobile game on a console that can do much more than this. I am hoping Zengami moves on to bigger and better things from here.
TurtlePop is one indie Switch exclusive you can expect to invest a lot of hours into.