If you’re tired of birds – even the cool ones – and are seeking a physics-based rescue game starring a different kind of critter, then Turtle’s Tale: Runaway may have a place in your game library. Turtle’s Tale: Runaway is a physics puzzle game in a similar thread as Cut the Rope, where players use limited line drawing abilities to guide a rolling turtle through various obstacle courses to level exits. The game stars Sandy, an endangered little sea turtle who has been kidnapped and the premise is to help him escape by reaching the exit. The problem of course is that the exit isn’t easy to reach because of the various obstacles standing in the way. Players engage in designing an escape route by solving the puzzle of how to get Sandy to roll from start to finish.
Turtle’s Tale: Runaway features four chapters with 12 levels each that become available in typical progressive fashion; by completing previous levels and earning the required number of starfish. The better the level completion time, the more starfish earned up to a maximum of three per level. The level designs are mostly unique to the game and many of them are excessively challenging, requiring as much trial and error effort as planned solving strategy. There are also bonus items, like sandals and toothbrushes that Sandy can collect if his path is well chosen.
Though Turtle’s Tale: Runaway does present a good puzzle-style game with plenty of challenge, the overall design is clearly intended to appeal strongest to those who enjoy this genre. The graphics and animation are cute enough, but it lacks the flair and livelihood of some of the genre’s more popular predecessors, which may serve to limit a broader audience appreciation. Fortunately, many of the levels afford a bit of creativity to solving, which increases its appeal for true puzzle fans. There are even a few visual options, such as changing the style of lines available for drawing. A limited number of hints are also available to employ on the more challenging levels, but those who become frustrated by a challenge may give up on Sandy all together, which is why a “skip level” option might have been a welcomed addition.
Turtle’s Tale: Runaway is a decent representation of how the physics-based puzzle game genre can be recreated with interesting elements. The combination of static and interactive obstacles throws an element of luck into solving some levels and definitely helps keep the game interesting from level to level. There is no penalty for starting, stopping and restarting a level and switching between draw and erase mode is easy, allowing for adjustments as necessary. To achieve the highest possible number of starfish, you can simply hit the “replay” button and solve the level once you’ve rendered a solution. There is even a way to save your solution to a level for later viewing.
While Turtle’s Tale: Runaway reveals nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering, it is a well-designed game with regards to its genre and the interactions and reactions are realistic enough to provide fun and challenging entertainment. As a casual puzzle game, Turtle’s Tale: Runaway may not be revolutionary, but it is unique in its own right and falls well within the lines of a respectably pleasant game.