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Turnip Boy Robs a Bank (XS)

Turnip Boy Robs a Bank (XS) - Review

by Evan Norris , posted on 31 January 2024 / 1,268 Views

Reviewer's Note: Turnip Boy Robs a Bank was reviewed on an Xbox Series S.

Four years ago, it would have been weird to imagine a video game starring a felonious anthropomorphic root vegetable named Turnip Boy. Yet here we are, with two games under Turnip Boy's belt, and, perhaps, the start of a burgeoning franchise. The latest title is Turnip Boy Robs a Bank, a top-down action game with roguelite elements. While it retains the sharp sense of humor and creepy mythology of the original game, it diverges from it significantly in terms of mechanics.

Set only a couple of days after the cataclysmic events at the end of Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, this sequel follows Turnip Boy as he teams up with criminals from the first game as they attempt to rob a bank owned by Stinky, a menacing sentient head of garlic. The bank itself is massive — an entire game world in itself, really — and filled with familiar faces from the series. 

The story in Turnip Boy Robs a Bank manages to appeal both to first-time players who have never heard of Turnip Boy or Mayor Onion, and those familiar with its predecessor. It absolutely stands on its own, delivering lots of goofy scenarios, preposterous characters, and funny bits, but it also has plenty of call-backs, cameos, and revelations that reward folks who put the time in to hit 100 percent in Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion and saw the true ending.

Anyone who completed the first title and is now looking for another top-down Zelda-ish game will be surprised to find something that's more akin to a twin-stick shooter with rogueish tendencies. As Turnip Boy, you'll start your day in the safehouse, where you can equip up to two weapons, buy items off the dark web, and purchase upgrades to health, firepower, etc. From there, you'll storm the bank, shaking down tellers, defeating guards, and collecting as much money as possible. Careful, though: you only have three minutes. After the timer goes off, police and SWAT teams will swarm the bank. You have to return to your getaway car before it all goes sideways. Then, back at the safehouse, you can use your ill-gotten gains to level up your abilities and invest in new dark web merchandise to help you delve deeper into the bank. 

This lather-rinse-repeat cycle works well. There's an addictive "just one more" quality to the proceedings that will drive you forward as you play. It helps that the in-game timer insists that everything is bite-sized, and that there's almost always something new to see and uncover. While some rooms remain static, others are placed at random during each run, leading to an exciting feeling of unpredictability.

There's also a powerful sensation of progress, as you unlock new items from the web, including a pickaxe, a lantern, and blocks of C4. One of the best elements in the game is the option to bring makeshift weapons from the bank back to the safehouse and "research" them to unlock more powerful guns. You'll start with a pistol and, before long, have access to a rocket launcher and a crossbow, among others.

Unfortunately, you'll hit your weapon "research" cap rather quickly. This points to a major issue in Turnip Boy Robs a Bank: it's over too quickly. Depending on how much side content you wish to tackle, you can expect to beat the game in four to six hours. This is a big improvement over the first game (two to three hours) but it's disappointingly short on its own. Developer Snoozy Kazoo missed an opportunity to lean more heavily into the roguelite sub-genre, and provide players with additional weapons, maps, characters, and modes to unlock, to encourage repeat visits after the credits roll. Right now, there's no post-game to speak of. 

Still, for the majority of those four to six hours, there is plenty of diverting fun to be had. There are a bunch of wacky NPCs, dozens of sidequests and unlockable cosmetics, and lots of entertaining shoot-outs. Indeed, apart from some loose controls carried over from Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, the movement and shooting mechanics are reliable and punchy. Moreover, the diversity of enemies keeps things interesting. There are gun-toting police officers, giant rock monsters that break into smaller pieces as you shoot them, ghosts, rats, worms, snails, ghosts, and many others.

While encounters with these rank-and-file enemies are routinely enjoyable, run-ins with the bank's four bosses are decidedly less so. The biggest problem is that all four arrive with a group of respawning minions to distract you. Because of this, they don't stand on their own.

Regrettably, these bosses also factor in to a baffling, frustrating difficulty spike at the very end of the game. Before you can finish your quest, you must journey to the four corners of the bank, beat each boss one more time, and then survive one final trial. Not only is this trial exponentially harder than anything that came before, but if you die while attempting it you're thrown back to the beginning and need to complete the boss rush again. Luckily, Snoozy Kazoo released a patch yesterday that adds checkpoints to this process. It should remove some of the tedium, even if it doesn't erase the difficulty spike.

In terms of graphics, Turnip Boy Robs a Bank retains the SNES/GBA visual styling from the previous game. While it's not the most refined aesthetic, it's packed with personality. Each biome inside the bank is unique and atmospheric, and filled with some very colorful characters. As for the music, it goes pretty hard for a game about a walking turnip. Standout songs include the upbeat "Super Cut Vegetable Adventure" and the thumping "Turnip Energy". Also, don't sleep on the boss theme "Stomp", which wouldn't sound out of place in a Metroid game.

The fact that we now have two video games starring an amoral, self-aware turnip means we're living in a blessed timeline. What's more, the games appear to be on an upward trajectory. Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is noticeably better than its predecessor, thanks to an addictive roguelite gameplay loop and a rewarding sense of progression. Unfortunately, its short running time, mediocre boss battles, and late-game difficulty spike keep it from hitting that next level. Hopefully the next Turnip Boy sequel (if there is to be one) will unlock the series' true potential.


VGChartz Verdict


6
Decent

This review is based on a digital copy of Turnip Boy Robs a Bank for the XS

Read more about our Review Methodology here

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2 Comments
Machina (on 31 January 2024)

I love the dichotomy inherent in an adorable anthropomorphic turnip that commits various crimes. Great naming system for the series so far too. But I can't say I've been tempted to play them yet.

  • +3
hellobion2 (on 31 January 2024)

Loved the turnip boy evades taxes. So definetly getting this game.

  • +1