Platforms: Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Wii U
Developer: Monkey Bar Games Publisher: D3 Publisher
Genre: Skating Platform Played: PlayStation 3
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is based off of the recently released family movie Turbo, which revolves around a society of snails that have an obsession with racing. Turbo is the film’s main character who has a dream of becoming the fastest snail in the world, so naturally, one would safely assume that Super Stunt Squad would feature the ability to race. You would be mistaken however, as Super Stunt Squad is nothing but a sub-par Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater clone, lacking the depth, content and precision to provide an entertaining experience.
As soon as you begin Super Stunt Squad fans of the Tony Hawk series will see the similarities, such as the opening sequences to each stage showcasing the objectives players must complete, these challenges mirroring those in Tony Hawk games. Remember collecting the letters to form S.K.A.T.E? Well these are here, except they form the word T.U.R.B.O. There is also a complete lack of story, which isn’t the end of the world, seeing as previous classic skating games have also lacked any form of narrative. However, what these titles lacked in narrative, they made up for with tight, precise, and in-depth controls. Yet this is where Turbo lacks the polish to capture the players’ attention.
Your typical skating manoeuvres are present, such as flips, spins, manuals, sliding – aka grinding – and lip tricks. However, pulling off flips and spins becomes an issue, due to a jump button that needs an absurd amount of perfect timing to utilize, and confusion created from the character models. When going to land a trick, it becomes quite a task to actually figure out which end of the character is which, meaning there will be plenty of times where you simply stack your character. Amassing high scores this way becomes challenging in the worst way possible, leaving spamming manual tricks as one of the only ways to obtain massive scores. It worked flawlessly, and meant there was no reason to focus on perfecting these problematic design flaws.
Tony Hawk offered players mobility, though it was restricted, allowing the option to slowly reverse or stop the board completely and align yourself for your next trick. Turbo controls like a dump truck, offering an excruciating turning circle and no reverse options. This means that if you get stuck in tight areas, you may as well call it in this round, as you will be there for a while, constantly bumping into walls as you try to extract yourself. Like Tony Hawk, each round is presented as a Timed Run, as players try to accumulate high scores and complete the objectives on offer. There is also a Free Run mode, allowing an unlimited amount of time to gather collectible sets of racing flags and tomatoes scattered throughout the stage.
In total, there are only six stages to unlock, and although these stages offer a great range of diversity – from a nail salon, model toy store and a mechanic workshop – they become repetitive really fast. All six stages can be unlocked in less than two hours, leaving little reason to continue playing unless you are a collectible fiend. Then, Turbo offers a few more hours of gameplay. Each stage has many objectives that can be completed by the five playable characters, ranging from simple collection sets, to completing tricks on certain objects.
Players can also collect items that upgrade your playable characters, improving various attributes such as speed and special tricks. These upgrades barely alter how each character handles; even though it states these attributes have been improved, it was hard to tell. Each of the five playable characters also control in a similar way, with the main variation concerning their speed. Aside from that factor, they barely seem too establish themselves as unique characters, except for sprouting different catchphrases as they continue to skate.
For those that genuinely enjoy the gameplay on offer, the challenges present can add an abundance of time to the original two hours to unlock all six stages. However, the bland control scheme on offer makes completing these objectives more difficult than it needs to be. There are no wall riding abilities, and no way to perform tricks during lip or manual positions, leaving the gameplay features on offer feeling unfinished in comparison to every other skating title I have played.
Visually, Turbo looks like a decent attempt at mirroring the animated movie. The environments are vibrant with colour and actually resemble what these areas would look like in real life quite well, with added details in each stage.
Turbo also suffers from a bevy of environmental problems. While skating, I found I would l hit various invisible walls in the middle of areas that would throw my combos out the window. There were also times when my character would get stuck inside pieces of the environment after trying to incorporate them into my tricks; this would then require me to restart my timed runs. This was a bigger irritation, since Turbo suffers from extremely long load times; each attempt at a timed run may see the game load for 30 seconds or more. These long load times are also present when getting back to the main menu. It left me questioning what exactly Turbo was loading during these long intervals.
Turbo also offers split-screen multiplayer, allowing two players to compete in the same stages going after the same objectives. This is a great way to get parents and children to play together, but prepare to experience some serious frame rate issues, as both screens slowed down to a crawl during the multiple run-throughs of split-screen I played. It got to the point where the second player involved was too frustrated to continue after only 4 rounds. This was a great addition, but it feels like it was a feature that was definitely underdeveloped.
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is just another example of a mediocre movie tie-in: it feels rushed and unpolished. Turbo is a budget title, sitting at $50 in Australia, but this title seems more in-line with a digital download or mobile game. There is just not enough content here to justify when compared to other titles at the same price. Usually, price isn’t a huge factor into my reviews, but with such a lack of content, it is definitely a strong negative.
Even those who enjoyed the Turbo movie may find the switch from racing to skating fairly odd. Even though your favourite characters are here, don’t expect many of the voice talents from the film to be present in the game version as well.
+ Many collectibles and objectives to complete
+ Diverse environments
- Split-screen multiplayer is almost unplayable
- Extremely short experience
- Only six stages
- Movie tie-ins strike again