A Topsy Turvy Life: The Turvys Strike Back Review
Posted by Corbie Dillard
The Turvys strike out
Have you ever played a shoot 'em up title and wished that you could finally have a chance to be the bad guys, attacking with a constant barrage of swarming fighters and cannon fire onto the ship below? If so, Tecmo has just the unique shooter twist to scratch your itch. Now you can flip that DSi system upside down and command an entire arsenal of enemy fighters with the one task of taking out the good guys who are attempting to defend their planet Earth. Of course that's if your wrists can hold up to the now top-heavy DSi system you'll be holding in your hands for long periods of time.
The Turvys Strike Back basically takes a fairly standard set of shooter mechanics and reverses the roles. Instead of controlling your ship at the bottom of the screen and taking on the onslaught of enemy ships from above, this time you get to control the swarming enemy ships and how they perform their various attacks and defensive manoeuvres. The only catch is that you're going to have to hold your DSi system upside down, something that you'll soon learn was never intended when the system was designed.
As the Earth Defense Force blasts away at your Imperial Armada Fighters, you'll have to move them around and drop cannon fire on the ship below. This is easy enough, considering most of the controls are handled via the touchscreen. You can fire your swarming ships in any downward direction and at varying speeds depending on how quickly you slide the stylus across the ships. Of course once you've sent your last wave of fighters out, your own ships will appear and you'll then have to try to move them around in order to avoid the Earth Defense Force's cannon fire. Once all of your smaller fighters are taken out, your boss ship will appear and must be defended at all costs. If you allow your boss ship to be destroyed it's game over, but of course as with any boss ship you will have some hefty firepower at your disposal to help you out.
If you can round up an additional player, you can both share the same DSi system for a little VS Mode action. One player will take control of the Earth Defense Force on the ground using the D-Pad and buttons while the other commands the Imperial Armada Forces using the touchscreen. The game is played very similarly to the Solo Mode, only with the two players facing off against one another. In all honesty, you'll likely find this VS Mode quite a bit more challenging and playable than the Solo Mode and probably the overall best part of the game itself.
The controls are quite smooth and responsive, but the actual gameplay mechanics are what tend to let the game down. Sure it's fun to take control of the bad guys for a change, but other than just trying to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the ships below you, there's not a lot of strategy involved and there's very little variety between the various stages other than some cosmetic visual differences here and there. The VS Mode helps mix things up a bit and the ability to record high scores is a nice touch, but ultimately you'll experience everything the game has to offer within about the first five minutes of playing the game and then be left wanting more.
Visually there's a nice amount of detail in the old-school 8-bit visual presentation, but it's not anything you haven't likely already seen many times before. The same can be said of the musical production, which tends to be almost as repetitive as the gameplay itself, with even the unique sound effects doing very little to liven things up. The developers obviously looked to capture the nostalgia factor of the classic arcade shooters of yesteryear, but given the game's extremely basic gameplay design, a little added audio/visual flash might have paid off.
It's difficult to be too harsh on The Turvys Strike Back given the game's extremely affordable 200 Point price tag, but at the same time, you can't help but notice the game's glaring repetitive nature, even after only a short time playing. Having the ability to be the bad guys is certainly an interesting spin on the usual shooter premise, but you'll quickly find that it's not nearly as playable, especially if you're playing the game as solo experience. If you're a huge shooter fan who just can't seem to get enough of what the genre has to offer, you certainly might enjoy the game, but for everyone else, you'll likely be better off saving those Nintendo Points until something a little more enjoyable comes along.