Have you ever played a game, got to the end, had the credits roll, and thought to yourself, ‘Well, there’s nowhere the writers could go from there’? I ask because that’s the exact feeling that I had when I called time on Turnip Boy Commit’s Tax Evasion, the first in this rather peculiar series. From humble beginnings, learning to swing a sword, and doing little fetch quests, the game did the RPG staple of having you find god at the end of the game, leaving the world in devastation as a result.
But despite the fact that the writers of the original turned the wacky dial up to eleven, the team at Snoozy Kazoo has managed to think of a new angle for a sequel, and this time, you aren’t just doing some white-collar crime and avoiding tax bills. No, that would be too tame for a sequel. Instead, you’ll adorn your fanciest hat, grab the nearest firearm, and you’ll rob a bank.
Despite my skepticism that this game could capture the same lightning in a bottle as the first game, the title essentially picks up where it left off, offering its typical brand of nonsensical silliness, irreverent humor, and vegetable-themed action. It feels familiar, yet has enough changes packed in there to make this a genuine sequel, even if it is just more of the same in a lot of ways.
But is this game worth picking up for Turnip Boy Fans? Well, join me and find out. Here is Indie Game Culture’s Turnip Boy Robs A Bank Review, conducted on Steam Deck.
Strong Farcical Foundations
The only place to begin with this one is the story content, because it’s the aspect of the original game that carried the rest on its shoulders, and without an equally appealing adventure this time around, I could see a sequel failing to deliver.
As mentioned, I worried that the game wouldn’t be able to stabilize the narrative after the ending of the original game, but it actually works to the game’s credit. The original game started from humble and unassuming beginnings before ramping up the insanity, but this game benefits from the absurdity, as it doesn’t need to build to it. Instead, the game picks up where it left off, dropping absurd gags, re-introducing characters, and generally just providing slapstick humor wherever it can.
The sequel’s story is a direct follow-on from the last game, inexplicably picking up two days after the fight with Major Onion with the world in a semi-apocalyptic state where anarchy reigns supreme. This is to your benefit, as you’ll be stepping into your father’s shoes and becoming a lynchpin in the Mafia’s plans. Which basically equates to robbing a Bank and making a bucketload of cash.
From that rather straightforward plot point, the game uses a series of fetch quests, boss battles, and encounters to introduce a new antagonist in Stinky, offer more lore on your father’s past, and through plenty of callbacks, returning cast members get their moment in the spotlight.
From a narrative standpoint, it’s more of the same, and while I wasn’t as riveted by the narrative twists and turns this time. Nor was I giggling quite as much at the humor woven into the game’s tale; it’s a story that will appeal to returning players for sure.
Plus, the game does offer a catch-up option at the beginning of the game for newcomers, which is a welcome addition. Whether they can get their head around the surreal nature of the story is still up for debate, but at least the option is there.
No Thrills, Just Vibes
The story is more of the same, which is probably what you want from a Turnip Boy game, as the writing is the primary selling point for an irreverent game such as this. However, I was a little underwhelmed by the lack of effort to step things up in terms of overall presentation.
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion earned a lot of goodwill through its concept, tone, writing, and simplistic gameplay, which made it pretty easy to overlook the rather basic graphics on offer. But, now that the series has garnered enough popularity for a sequel, I feel that what we got this time around was a little safe.
That being said, the time not spent refining the game’s artwork has instead been spent creating a wealth of new assets, and perhaps that’s a compromise that we just have to accept with a game such as this. It’s a game that doesn’t shoot for artistic excellence and instead goes for cute and colorful vibes, which it undoubtedly achieves once again here.
I don’t want to come off as a fuddy-duddy here, as there have been some attempts to up the production value, with assets that will move across the room when whacked rather than all items being inanimate, and the new soundtrack has some bops in there too.
But I just feel there could have been a few more additions that upped the wow factor within the confines of what the Turnip Boy series is realistically capable of.
Twin Stick Turnip
The general message here is that Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is just a reskinned Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, but there is one aspect of this game that aims to combat that feeling and offer something different, and that is the Roguelike system within this sequel.
I remember playing the original game and getting to the end-game add-on, the Limitless Line. It was the only part of the original game that really asked the player to take the combat mechanics seriously, and at that moment, I thought, ‘They actually have something pretty cool here.’ So it wasn’t a surprise that the developers decided to rework combat to offer more variety, but what is surprising is how well it fits into a Roguelite format.
Your Roguelite run essentially exists in this game as a timed infiltration of the Bank, where you will need to shake down clerks, kill guards, steal loot, and then get to the getaway van before the reinforcements take you down. It sounds simple, and it is, but I can’t tell you how much joy it gave me to shake vegetable bank clerks overhead and steal their loose change. It was a blast.
Plus, the combat is no longer a top-down Zelda melee-only affair. The game now essentially plays like a twin-stick shooter, with plenty of unique weapon variants to find and tough enemies that you might even consider a threat, unlike the fodder enemies of the previous title. The game doesn’t offer unique power-ups, relics, boons, or anything of that nature, but considering how low my expectations were, the combat managed to leap over that low bar.
Alongside this, you have a system that allows you to look on the Dark Web to purchase key items for progression. You can visit a shop within the base to purchase buffs and perks. Plus, you can store, upgrade, and research weapons to gradually improve your starting loadouts from pistols and swords to Rocket Launchers and Lazer Pistols. It’s a very basic roguelite, but a damn addictive one, and that’s why it’s such a shame that the game all but abandons it about halfway into the game.
Emphasis on the Lite
When you have something that is genuinely fun and addictive, you want to make that the driving force of your game, and in Turnip Boy Robs a Bank, finding as much cash as you can to upgrade your gear is the primary focus for the first half of the game.
The game manages to nail the ‘One more run’ vibe that all games of this nature strive for, and you always feel like you are being rewarded for managing your time in the bank carefully, optimizing your run to get as many big ticket items as you can for your swag bag, and if you can fit a side quest in as you go, all the better.
Sadly, though, the game commits Roguelite suicide by giving the player more of the resources they have fought tooth and nail for than they could ever need. You’ll find yourself purchasing all the upgrades in bulk, which cheapens the whole experience, and you’ll have more cash than you could ever need despite the game continuing for quite some time.
The developer clearly decided to revert to type and make the closing stages more in line with the top-down RPG original, but I don’t see why that meant stripping away the joy of the roguelite system to achieve that goal.
Every run in those early stages to get an extra $100 felt meaningless as I sit there on my hefty withdrawal of oddities, treasures, and banknotes. I guess this is how those people who win the lottery feel, huh?
My point is, that this would have been a way to keep players engaged with the game after the credits rolled, offering an infinite sandbox feel that Hades or The Binding of Issac has. I get that this isn’t a deep enough roguelite to maybe warrant that, but what was the harm in leaving it there in tact for those that enjoyed the grind?
If you’re looking for a game that offers the same silly humor that Turnip Boy has or just a game that has the same kind of mechanics and ideas present, then you might want to check out these games listed below:
- Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion
- The Binding Of Issac
- Rogue Legacy
- Enter The Gungeon
The Verdict – 6/10
In the end, I can happily report that Turnip Boy Robs A Bank provides return fans with a worthy sequel that isn’t just an obligatory cash grab. The developer makes a real effort to provide gameplay that feels exceedingly different from the first game, while still keeping things simple and lighthearted. which is something that they absolutely nail here.
The game offers very engaging twin-stick shooter combat, a wide range of fun weapons to play around with, and a pretty addictive roguelike format, allowing you to shake down bank clerks and steal swag to boost your abilities. Plus, the game actually benefits from the original in the series having a story so mental that this one feels more grounded by comparison, which, by the way, it definitely isn’t.
However, the core issue I have with this one, and the factor that stops it from being an undisputed success, is the fact that the game doesn’t do an awful lot to step things up, and the things they do well, aren’t focused on or treated with the respect they deserve.
The roguelike gameplay loop becomes redundant about halfway into the game when you have every upgrade in the game, and the game is throwing more money at you than you could ever need, seeing the game revert back to its top-down RPG roots, and that was the moment I felt that my time and investment wasn’t being respected.
Criticism aside, though, it’s a game that’s aware of what worked about its predecessor, was aware of what needed to change, and while it may not be a massive step up from the original, it’s an equally good outing for Turnip Boy. So if you are a sucker for his vacant smile and his beady little eyes, then it’s time to get reacquainted with the little guy. Get in the truck; we’re robbing a bank!
- The irrelevant humor and over-the-top narrative are back with a bang
- The twin-stick shooting combat is a fun and welcome addition
- The Roguelike structure is initially very engaging
- So many cute hats!
- Not a huge step up in terms of presentation
- The Roguelike format becomes irrelevant about halfway through
- A lot of the callbacks will be lost on new players
Callum played this game from start to end in roughly 5 hours, completing most of the side content along with the main storyline. he doesn’t have any immediate plans to return to this one, but it fills him with hope that Turnip Boy may be a trilogy waiting to happen.
Question: Is Turnip Boy Robs A Bank Hard?
Answer: It depends if you select the Casual or tougher difficulty option. The casual option is very manageable; even the boss battles offer little in the way of challenge. However, the tougher difficulty will have you engage with the combat and roguelite structure in a more tangible way.
Question: Do You Need To Play The First Turnip Boy?
Answer: Honestly, even with the decent recap option at the beginning of the game, I would still recommend you play the original first, as the game picks up from there, makes lots of references and callbacks to the original, and, most importantly, the original is a lot of fun.
Question: Is Turnip Boy Like Zelda?
Answer: The original game in the series very much is. However, due to the change in tone and style with the sequel, this one feels more in line with games like The Binding of Issac and Hades due to the permadeath, Roguelike structure.
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