Save The Turtles!!!

Turtle Termination by Holgersson1988 (Jonas Holgersson – Holgersson Entertainment) is the winner of the GMC Jam #8, 2012′s fall/autumn Jam.  And a very worthy winner, at that!

Turtle_Termination_Screenshot.pngThis installment of The Jam carried the theme of ‘Disasters’ and the handicap of ‘You Cannot Use Text.’  For those who might be reading this that are out of the know, this means the game, made within 72 hours, had to be centered around the theme of some kind of a disaster and you weren’t allowed to use any text in your game.  The only places you could use text were in the game title and in describing key bindings for playing the game.  The handicap proved difficult to implement by most of the contestants, and some didn’t even bother trying to meet the handicap and used text anyway.  As I found out while rushing my entry into the competition, it’s pretty hard to teach a player how to play your game without using text.  Turtle Termination met both challenges pretty darn well.

When I first played the game, I was reviewing all the games at the time.  It was the 15th game (out of 60) that i reviewed.  I knew right away when I saw the initials H.E. fill up with water that this was going to be good.  Just for clarification, again for those who are unaware, all the entrants into The Jam competition are encouraged to play and review the other entries.  Then, it’s up to all of the entrants (and the rest of the GMC forum members are invited as well) to vote for the game they liked the best.  The game with the most votes wins.

As I played into the first level, I was slightly disoriented with what I was supposed to do, but the wordless, textless tutorial guided me along the right path.  I quickly realized this to be a physics based game, and it instantly scored points with me.  In Turtle Termination, the graphics are pleasant, the music and sound is fitting, the controls are easy, and the game is fun and challenging.  It was the only game out of the sixty games I reviewed that got a perfect review score from me.

One of the most important game elements to me is graphics.  I have to like the graphics if I’m going to like the game.  In many instances, the game’s gameplay can make up for crappy graphics, but it’s gotta be really solid mechanics and really good gameplay, but even so, the graphics still can’t be too, horribly crappy.  Even though some of the other reviewers said the graphics in Turtle Termination are less than great and inconsistent, I thought the graphics went beyond the norm for the competition, especially concerning the perceived scope of this game.  I didn’t notice at the time of my review, but now I agree that the graphics could use a more consistent style.  More time granted to art and graphics will make this game a sure hit for casual phone/tablet app gamers out there.  Turtle Termination’s graphics, in retrospect, are indeed slightly sub par, but not so much to make me dislike the game.  The turtles have amusing animations.  The crates, boxes, and metal-beam spans used to protect the turtles are well defined through graphical representation and easily identified.  The effects of the lava, fire, water, meteors, rocks, earthquakes, what-have-you, were all well done and add much to the experience of this game.

The gameplay is simply fantastic.  The physics engine is used perfectly, making it very fun to save the turtles from all these terrible disasters.  Using the crates and such, you are tasked with building bunkers, or otherwise barricades, to hold back the destructive forces that threaten our protagonist turtle’s lives.  If you can build it good enough, they survive, and you get to save the turtles in the next level.  The simplicity is brilliant, and the surprises of the types of disasters that are forthcoming bring a very nice variety to the levels.  It’s not just lava from erupting volcanoes on each level.  Holgersson was clever enough to change things up just at the right time. It really makes the player want to see what’s coming up next.

Download the game here – Turtle Termination (8.75MB) – and try it out.  If you liked Angry Birds or any of the Build-a-Bridge type of physics games, you’re sure to like this one.

Also, check out some of the other games made by Holgersson Entertainment.  Here is an indie developer starting out that looks like they’re on their way up.


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