Movie tie-in games. They’re the bane of the video game world, often resulting in nothing more than a mish-mash of half baked ideas and disappointment. Unfortunately, Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is not an exception to this rule..
Now, clearly I’m not the target audience for this game. Instead it’s targeting the young kids who will go along and see the Dreamworks 3D animated film which inspired this game, Turbo, who’ll then beg their parents to buy it for them.
If I had a child just sitting around my apartment, I would had put this game into my PlayStation 3, the controller into their hands, and watched what happened. But I don’t, so the task ultimately fell to me.
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad, surprisingly enough, presents itself as a throwback to the arcade-fun of the long-forgotten Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise (history lesson; this series was one of the most popular gaming franchises of the late 1990’s). The resulting gameplay sees you take control of your favourite talking snail — all of whom appear to forget their snails and have a fondness for skating for some reason — and set loose in increasingly varied stages in the interest of completing objectives.
These objectives range from collecting letters that spell out ‘Turbo’, performing specific tricks at even more specific locations, and so on. It’s fairly standard stuff, and if it weren’t for the somewhat iffy controls, they’d be a measure of fun to be had in trying to complete each objective – no matter your age.
See, I wanted to enjoy Turbo: Super Stunt Squad, but I couldn’t get past its insistence to restrict the camera, or make my basic movements so rigid I could barely get from point A to B without a great deal of effort and frustration. If the controls aren’t instantly fun and engaging within the first few minutes, then all hope is lost.
What only adds to the frustration is you’re given only a certain amount of time to finish all the objectives in any of the game’s six (and only six, five of which are unlocked by completing a certain number of objectives) stages. Of course, you could take the more easier route and enter ‘free play’, where whatever time constraints are removed, but it’s too late. Those fickle controls stand in the way of any enjoyment you could potentially squeeze from the experience.
You can, however, apply upgrades to your snail characters to alter their performance/handling, though much like the rest of this game, these too fails to deliver. Of course, this limited customisation probably won’t matter all too much to kids, who are more likely than not just excited to play as their favourite character.
Another throwback to Tony Hawk is the song track, which can be changed by hitting either left or right on the D-pad. Perhaps unsurprisingly though no licensed music appears, not even kid-friendly, instead random tunes are used (which will probably bug parents before too long).
As for the visuals, I’m not so much as a graphics snob that I’d dismiss them altogether. Turbo isn’t a bad looking game, with solid character models and varied environments to be explored, even if it’s not going to win any awards for being visually breathtaking.
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is nothing but a movie-tie in game that ultimately serves its purpose; entertain the very kids its film counterparts wishes to court. This reason alone is probably why you should buy this game for your kid instead of, say, Grand Theft Auto V.
In fact, you’re probably better off putting a copy of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 into their hands.
Anything else but, it fails to accomplish anything substantial with controls that feel broken, and absolutely no potential which to speak of.