Life as a vegetable can be hard, especially when filled with bureaucratic nonsense and unjust taxation. We can't blame a cute little turnip boy for committing financial crime, especially with roots like theirs. Introducing Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, an adorable zelda-like adventure game with an immoral protagonist.
In Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, the player controls Turnip Boy. His home, a local greenhouse has been repossessed by Mayor Onion after an outstandingly large property tax debt. To get your home back, you have to perform a series of quests for Mayor Onion. You'll fight dangerous herbivores, solve puzzles, and collect a variety of tools to help you. But by doing so, you unearth a much greater secret that has been buried in time.
Turnip Boy isn't a noble hero by any means. He may be helping the local citizens with their side quests, but he's still a rude little root veggie at his core. This is mostly seen in the form of tearing up documents, whether their 1099 forms, property deeds, or even love letters between berries. He doesn't care, to shreds with them all.
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is a beautiful game, in both art and concept. The game sports a colorful and cute art style, where everyone has dotted eyes and little smiles. Shifting between crisp, solid cartoon designs for items and characters, and the pixelated retro style of the game world worked wonderfully, as well. Despite the differences between the two styles, the overall shapes and colors kept a symbiotic match, keeping everything fun on the eyes.
It doesn't stop there, either. The music was almost too good for the context of the game. Being a top-down adventure game with cute graphics, I was ready and willing to get the music a pass in favor for something fitting but generic. Instead, many zones were real bops (especially the farmhouse, why is it so fresh??). While my expectations were low, it did manage to exceed them remarkably.
From the art to the music, everything got along very well with each other. The developers had a very clear creative image for the game and it was executed perfectly.
And all of this is without even mentioning the real gold behind Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion: the writing. Wrapped up in a cute, friendly facade, the games story and dialogue take an unexpected contrast, drawing inspiration from real life concepts to fuel humor in the opposition.
For example: In order to gain access to one area, you have to gift a tier three sub to a popular female live streamer. Fortunately, the local sandwich shop gives such a sub (yes, a sub sandwich) to Turnip Boy for free, on the condition that they ask her to eat it on stream.
The game is saturated with similar situations, with construction workers going on union breaks to youth veggies dropping their cell phone down a cliff while recording a video for a tik-tok-centric social media platform. There's even a noodle that recited a food version of the infamous Navy SEAL copy pasta meme. The developers were very aware of current internet culture, and they managed to integrate that culture into the game in a comedic way that doesn't become overbearing or cringy.
Presenting this modern, self-aware form of comedy inside the cute and colorful art direction only amplifies the enjoyment. This is where Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is the strongest.
As fun as the game is, there was still something left lacking. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is less of an apple pie, and more of a fruit bar. Its delicious and full of flavor, but it doesn't last long. By the time I was done, I was hungry for more.
The core of the issue lies in the actual gameplay. Featuring zelda-like gameplay, the player using their gradually growing collection of tools to explore dungeon-like areas and solve environmental puzzles. There was variety between the different areas, which was nice.
But they were terribly short, too. With four dungeons and one final area sequence, I was able to achieve 100% completion (all hats and side quests) in only 90 minutes. While this may be a good time for a narrative focused game, this was an adventure game. I wanted to play more, or to have the areas I played be longer and more full.
Maybe that's a good thing, though, considering the other flaw of game. There isn't actually much diversity to the gameplay in Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion. Almost all of the actions you take are done with either a sword or a watering can. Nearly all monsters can be defeated with a couple sword swings. The exception being some (but not all) of the boss fights, which require the occasional dodge. Even then, there isn't much pow to combat strategies.
When not fighting, the only other thing to do is perform side quests. While narratively fun and interesting, literally all of them are simple fetch quests. Go here, get that, bring it to me, rip up whatever reward you're given. The map wasn't too large, so running back and forth wasn't too bad. But there was definitely a lackluster sense of fun to running back and forth for the sake of funny dialogue.
Our Final Score
All in all, I want more. I want a reason to come back and do other things. I want to spend more time in this world, soaking in the ironic meme-ery. I love the style, the writing, and the overall idea. I just wish it could flesh all of that our more in a proper adventure game-like length. It's a great game that only dips into its potential. And as far as problems go, the player liking it too much is a pretty nice problem to have. As such, we rate it as follows.
4.5 / 5
Priced at $14.99 on the Nintendo Switch and PC, we absolutely recommend this game. It's a great price for the content you're getting. The low price tag also helps offset the lack of gameplay depth/content. If you can appreciate a good internet meme and don't mind a more low-key adventure experience, you'll like this game.
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion was developed by Snoozy Kazoo and published by Graffiti Games. It is available now on Steam for PC and on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $14.99. A copy of this game (on PC) was provided for the purpose of this review.
If you're playing on PC, we recommend using a controller.