Developer: Snoozy Kazoo
Release Date: April 22, 2021
I don’t play too many things outside my comfort zone anymore, but getting games I just might like to take out for a spin is still one of my favorite parts of buying bundles. I picked up the November 2021 Humble Choice almost exclusively for House Flipper, but Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion looked close enough to something I might get an hour or so of fun out of that I activated that one as well. As it turns out, this game is Not Really For Me, but in the time I spent with it, I can see why it was a hit for so many people.
I started off trying to play on keyboard, and it didn’t take me long to realize that this title is closer to “controller required” than “controller friendly” (although I probably could have rebound the keys to something less awkward, the default “controller to keyboard” setup is one I always struggle with). I was getting Dark Soulsed by trash mobs. Coming back in with a controller was better overall, and this game would probably be very well suited to a handheld console like the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch, where it is also available.
That said, there’s a few deliberate design choices that most players will either love or hate. First is how self-referential and “meme-ified” the game is. Although (just barely) less than a year old, there’s already some things in Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion that already feel dated – internet culture just moves too damn fast to ever really feel safe in a video game. Secondly, I’d say easily half the games very short play time is going to be spent talking to absolutely everyone, and then backtracking. It’s not a game that really needs a quest log, but I absolutely would have made use of it if one was present. The size of the game world is small enough that you can just go talk to everyone if you can’t remember who wanted that thing you just found, but it’s kind of annoying to need to.
If you’re meticulous about talking to everyone, and you have a decent affinity for these types of puzzles, the entire game could probably be beaten in just slightly more time than it would take to watch your average movie. It’s meant to be short, and somehow, it still felt a bit bloated to me, probably due to being only a few areas requiring multiple trips back and forth. The average bad guy combat is perhaps too simple, and bosses aren’t much harder if you make use of the very obvious gimmick in the boss room. It’s a rare game that I like the combat part better than the quests and puzzles, but combat is quick and straightforward, while the rest of the game feels drawn out and a bit convoluted.
Achievement hunters may be delighted how fast and furious new nerd points seem to pop up, and there are hats and documents for the folks who are into collectibles. While I can acknowledge that there’s some good stuff here, it just wasn’t to my personal taste. For a light fun time, Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion might just hit the spot, or it could just leave you hungry for something more substantial.
The upside of having a funny, meme-tastic game is that it just might go viral. SteamDB estimates that Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion has sold between 108,300 and 292,900 copies on Steam. Almost 95% of reviews are positive, and that’s out of a pretty significant number of reviews. It is ranked 136 out of 10,967 games released in 2021, a great showing for a short game about a vegetable tearing up every piece of paper he comes across.