The crime spree continues, but does a change in genre pay off?
In 2021, I reviewed Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion based on a quick glance at screenshots and its eccentric title. Three years later, the garden-dwelling ragamuffin returns to perpetrate a bank heist. The life of crime continues in Turnip Boy Robs A Bank, but the action-adventure trappings of the original game have been swapped for more of a roguelite experience. Does this vegetable-filled sequel deliver the goods or get caught red-handed?
The premise is a simple one: Turnip Boy is tasked with assisting a bank robbery, alongside a team of thieves who furnish him with tools to pull off the deed. As it turns out, this heist is one that will only be completed in bits and pieces as you need to spend the money you collect on each run through the bank to purchase items that open up new areas of the bank or improve Turnip Boy's stats, like health and melee damage. Once you become accustomed to the new gameplay loop of the sequel, it's a mostly fun romp through museum-like halls, office spaces, a darkened underground, and more. Early difficulty spikes can be overcome by picking up upgrades back at your hideout or finding better weapons to dispatch the security forces trying to halt your progress.
Turnip Boy moves quite speedily–especially for a member of the mustard family–and he can carry only two different weapons at a time. You'll need to decide which ones to bring with you, but you can return new weapons to a fellow in your hideout to research new permanent weapons for your arsenal; these are available to choose at the start of every run. Quick scores can be a good strategy early on and when you get stuck since it's easy (and advisable) to bring back the cash and treasure you find so that you can spend it before losing it to a failed run. There's also a timer on each trip through the bank, starting at 3 minutes, that can be upgraded to add a few additional minutes. I'm still amazed at how much of a departure Turnip Boy Robs A Bank is over Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, but the change is largely an effective one.
What's less effective is the finale of Robs A Bank, which requires a Herculean amount of skill and effort. There's a stark contrast between the shorter runs and relatively lighter challenge of the first three-quarters of the game with the sequence of tasks needed to successfully complete the heist. Once you’ve maxed out all the upgrades, there’s really no other way to make the finale more palatable either. Repetition, preparation, and luck are needed to overcome the final challenges, and for the most part these end-game moments are more frustrating than fun.
Returning from the first game is a variety of characters with funny dialogue and charming personalities. Many of them offer sidequests to complete and while it’s nice to have more objectives to complete, the reward for these is often just a new hat to adorn Turnip Boy’s leafy scalp. Whereas the world of the first game felt a bit more engaging, the gun-shooting and sword-slashing gameplay of the sequel take center stage, and so it does still feel like there’s something missing. A better amalgamation of the two games might yield a more complete and satisfying overall experience.
Turnip Boy Robs A Bank offers a lighthearted roguelite romp in the pursuit of Stinky’s riches, hidden within the bowels of the Botanical Bank. The gameplay loop is pretty fun, and finding new weapons to dispatch the security flora and fauna standing in the way of your heist manages to entertain, at least up until the final parts of the game. The performance on Switch also leaves something to be desired, with more detailed areas of the bank leading to noticeable frame drops. If you wanted a bit more action from your Turnip Boy escapades, this follow up might be the serving of veggies you’re craving. That said, it doesn’t quite do enough to rise to the upper echelons of roguelites already available on the eShop.