Review Date: September 28, 2010
Publisher: Adult Swim
As the name implies, Turbo Turbo Turbo is all about going fast. Well, going fast and smashing into other cars. And getting into the occasional bar fight. And maybe even getting your thumbs broken along the way. As with all of Adult Swim's games, TTT is absolutely crazy, but it's also fun, addictive, and holds an incredible amount of nostalgic charm.
The game puts you in the driver's seat as an unnamed racer in some sort of Fight Club style street racing circuit. You go through a series of increasingly difficult tracks, with the goal of coming in first each time. You're guided through the experience by a mentor type figure who, in the grand tradition of classic arcade games, speaks in amusingly broken English that sounds as if it was a translation gone terribly awry.
Controlling the game is incredibly simple, as you only need to use the arrow keys and the X key. The arrows, naturally, control your steering, while the X takes care of your turbo boost, which is a huge part of the game's strategy. The boost meter refills over time, as well as when you smash other cars off of the road. As with the boosting, ramming other cars is also a key to success, as it not only lets you move past the other cars, but also sends them flying off of the screen and out of the race entirely. The steering in the game feels great, and very unique as your car always has a slight lean to one side or the other, forcing you to always keep a close eye on where you are.
Come For The Racing, Stay For The Brawls
The game starts out pretty simple, but the difficulty quickly ramps up in several different ways. First, the number of other racers dramatically increases in each successive race. And since you always start at the back of the pack, this means that getting to the front takes progressively longer each time. But the different tracks also offer up their own unique set of obstacles, such as flying volcanic rocks or barriers that can only be passed by turboing past them. If you get trapped by these obstacles, or happen to steer off of the track, you'll crash and it's race over.
But TTT gives you two different ways of getting back on track. There's a bizarre bar fight mini-game, where you go into a bar and have to eliminate all of the other racers in a short period of time. Difficulty arises from the fact that a) all of the racers look exactly the same and b) the screen starts to shake in a disorienting fashion as the clock ticks down. If you don't want to participiate in the a barroom brawl, you can also opt to have your mentor simply break one of your thumbs instead. This can only be done once, however, because you can't drive without both your thumbs.
The Bottom Line
As contradictory as it sounds, TTT feels like a modern retro game. It has everything that made classic arcade racers fun -- right down to the simple yet beautiful pixel graphics -- but adds some modern twists as well as some of Adult Swim's trademark goofy sense of humor. It also does what every great web game does: it's playable in short bursts, but also addictive enough to keep you playing for much longer if you have the time. If you can get past the occasionally disorienting visual effects, this is a game that's sure to lower your productivity by a few percentage points.