Review Date: April 16, 2010
Developer: Pixeljam Games
Publisher: Adult Swim
There's something great about the simplicity of classic videogames. The easy to pick up nature of these games is something that's been lost as the medium has become more and more complex. Turbo Granny attempts to revisit what made those games so special, with arcade style gameplay and low-fi retro visuals. And while it's mostly successful at capturing the elusive retro charm, it's a little bit too simple to have any lasting appeal.
Old People Can't Drive
The premise of Turbo Granny is as simple as the title implies. You play as an old woman who needs to get from point A to point B (and sometimes C or D) and back again. And that's about it. You'll spend the entire game driving around to various errands -- like picking up mothballs and hair curlers or stopping into church for a quick prayer -- and then going back home. Each trip has a time limit, so you'll be constantly racing against the clock.
It gets a little more complicated than that, though. There are numerous obstacles along the way, ranging from pot holes and oil slicks to other vehicles and pedestrians. You'll also encounter large puddles that cause detrimental side effects if you drive through them. Sometimes your steering will become sluggish or delayed, while other times you're steering will become reversed. These help keep things interesting and ensure that you'll be weaving around traffic like crazy.
In addition to successfully getting Granny to her various errands on time, you'll also be able to rack up points along the way, with the goal of earning a high score. You can do this not only by running errands as fast as possible, but also by picking up various special items along the way. You're also given bonus points for causing mayhem. Running over flowers, smashing into cars, and destroying picket fences will all earn you extra points as well as give you an additional speed boost. Just watch out for stray pets or skateboarding kids, as running them over will lose you points.
You Can't Get By On Charm Alone
The problem is that this quickly becomes very repetitive. While the various obstacles thrown in your way keep things interesting for a bit, as does the ever elusive high score, it's simply not enough to mask the fact that you're constantly doing the same thing over and over again.
Repetition aside though, Turbo Granny is not without its charm. The game sports Adult Swim's trademark quirky, and slightly offensive, sense of humor. Granny will get excited when she picks up some plastic fruit or a new cane, and when she runs over a pedestrian show worries whether or not they prayed enough. Of course, a lot of this charm also comes from the game's intentionally retro presentation. The game looks as though it was actually developed in the heyday of 8-bit consoles, with blocky, pixelated graphics and an upbeat, chiptune soundtrack.
The Bottom Line
Despite its irreverent sense of humor and classic style, Turbo Granny ultimately isn't a game you'll be spending a whole lot of time with. It's fun initially, but that quickly wears off. You can experience everything the game has to offer in no time at all and the actual gameplay eventually becomes very monotonous. For fans of retro games it's worth a try, just don't expect it to keep you engaged for long.