Turnip Boy Robs a Bank Review
Building a rap sheet
There's no shortage of indie developers that use a pixelated art style to create an adventure game that usually involves magic or mystery. But few try to do it with a whacky sense of humor, for example by combining something child-like with adult themes, but still keeping it cheery. But that's exactly what developers Snoozy Kazoo attempted with Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion. Despite some issues and a short runtime, the game's whacky humor helped the title find success, and even prompted a sequel.
Turnip Boy Robs a Bank follows the crimes of the previous game, where the titular hero dodged paying taxes in a small town full of vegetable characters, but eventually went on to defeat a large robot overlord. There is a recap included for those who didn't participate in that heinous act, and those who did will find a number of references and returning characters in this sequel. For the bank job, Turnip is recruited by Pickled Gang to break into the facility and find what lies within. But of course, it's not as simple as that, and you come to learn that the bank is actually a multi-level facility that has lots of different characters that have lots of whacky things to say, and quests for you to complete. Just like the previous game, things go off the rails quickly and the bank robbing becomes a background theme around which much more extraordinary events take place.
The sequel maintains the whacky and slapstick humor, which may or may not work for some players. If you find silly dialogue entertaining, with meta references, the dark web, online fame, and major crimes, and you find it funnier when it's delivered with a colorful font to highlight certain phrases and words, all said by characters that appear like they belong in a children's cartoon about vegetables, then this game might just hit the spot. It does seem a bit better written than its predecessor, still honing in on its particular style of humour.
While committing tax evasion, Turnip Boy ran around a series of maps with a variety of characters, shortcuts, and occasional enemies, in a Zelda-esque adventure. For robbing a bank, the core gameplay has been adjusted to be more like a roguelite. You've still got a top-down 2D map to explore within the bank, with a variety of locked doors and elevators that gradually become accessible. And there are still lots of characters to chat with, for optional dialogue as well as weird quests, like extortion and self-referencing tax collection – for which your reward is some weird item or a new hat for Turnip Boy. Of course, robbing a bank means getting some money, so there are NPCs who you literally shake around for money, as well as the ability to break into safes, destroy statues, and collect other materials that all add up to your cash haul.
Each trip comes with a timer that begins to countdown from 2 minutes, as you arrive at the lobby by crashing through the lobby wall. You can explore the bank and its various rooms in relative peace, aside from a few enemies that spawn in the same locations each time. Speaking to characters also pauses the timer so you can enjoy reading the text boxes. But once that timer expires, you need to quickly backtrack and leave via your getaway car, as enemies begin to spawn and relentlessly attack. As you delve deeper, there are metro stations that become your exit points as well, so it's not annoying always having to run back to the start. Losing all your health means losing half the funds that you've collected on that run. Although it's a new style of gameplay from the previous title, it's a rather forgiving roguelite system, and it encourages you to focus on exploring certain areas or chasing a particular quest with each trip.
In-between the heists, you can relax at the hideout that has a few more characters to chat with, as well as ways to spend your stolen cash. You can purchase some key unlockable items from the dark web, such as lasers to open a vault, C4 to break through barriers, and a lantern to visit the area with no light. If you click on the second tab of the dark web PC, the screen gets filled with questionable pop-up ads and blue-screens the terminal, in another of the game’s many bits of humour. The hideout also has a shelf where you can buy personal upgrades, such as more health, faster shooting, increased damage, and extending the timer of each bank visit.
For the most part, you will be running around the bank without much resistance, and find new random weapons that can be picked up. You can only carry two at a time, and bringing them back at the end of a run to the hideout lets you donate them towards unlocking permanent guns in your arsenal. Most of the weapons are ranged and have different attack patterns (from pistols to SMGs and shotguns), while the melee options (such as a sword) become less viable the further you delve into the bank, especially when it comes to boss battles. During these large fights, the game becomes more like a bullet-hell shooter, as a central boss constantly moves around and peppers you with bullets, while smaller enemies also spawn and add to the chaos. For the most part, these moments are entertaining and certainly a change of pace from the rest of the adventure, but the latter points of the story produce some frustration due to difficulty spikes. To that end, the game has a number of accessibility options, such as god mode, and two difficulty settings that can be toggled at any time.
Some of the frustration comes from getting stuck on the environment. Several floors and areas within the bank are expansive, and feature lots of visual details – but it's not always obvious which items are physical and which are just background debris. So it's a visual improvement on the previous game that had rather basic and empty levels, but it adds a few hiccups to traversal with so much clutter. Another minor annoyance is that some of the animations become repetitive, such as when you find extra goodies that add to your total haul - and while lifting them triumphantly is fun for a while, it does grow annoying.
The presentation overall is a step up from the tax evasion days, with a cleaner and sharper pixel art style, slightly better animations, and unrelenting charm. The game uses a 4:3 display format, so the sides of your screen will be blank or can be filled with a few different visual patterns. It obviously runs very well on almost any PC spec, and there were no bugs or framerate issues encountered. Both keyboard/mouse and controller inputs work fine. The audio design is solid, with fitting sound effects and satisfying gunfire. The soundtrack features a variety of nice tracks that mostly loop.
Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is a solid sequel that continues the unlikely adventures of a cute vegetable committing crimes. Its style of humor is a matter of taste, but the writing seems stronger and more refined compared to the last entry. The change to a roguelite design may not work for returning fans who wanted more of the same, but the new gameplay is fairly forgiving and shouldn't be a huge adjustment. Presentation also remains solid and the improved environmental detail is welcome, though it at times becomes a point of annoyance during fast-paced boss battles. For a mere $15 USD, and offering around 5 to 6 hours of play, this bank robbery is a job worth taking.