Crime is a slippery slope. One minute you’re evading taxes and the next you’re joining a gang and pulling off the biggest heist of your little veggie life. That’s where we’re at now in Turnip Boy Robs a Bank, a sequel that delivers a heist both sprawling and suitably snack-sized.
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion launched in 2021 as a cute and snappy Zelda-style adventure, clocking in at a breezy couple hours at best. It came off as both sendup and parody, frequently breaking the fourth wall in an almost “I’m a little nervous to be a video game” manner. Flash forward a few years and we’re clearly working with a more confident team at developer Snoozy Kazoo. Turnip Boy Robs a Bank doesn’t exactly turn the concept of the first game on its head, but it goes about its structure in a more novel and cleverly disguised way.
The heat is on
Gone are the halcyon days of traipsing through the Weapon Woods, passing sundry items from veggies to fruits and back again, and brazenly ripping federal documents in twain. If Tax Evasion is a bite-sized riff on The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is Phantom Hourglass and the Botanical Bank is the Temple of the Ocean King.
After linking up with the Pickled Gang, Turnip Boy quickly starts the loop of crashing their van into the bank, snatching as much primo loot as possible, and escaping before the timer runs out and the peach fuzz drops in full force. Prepare to get very familiar with this place, because outside of the single-room hideout it’s the only location in the game.
When I busted into the bank for my first few runs, I got the impression that this was going the procedurally-generated route. Turnip Boy does tout its roguelite elements, after all. That’s not the case, though, and the bank is carefully designed and laid out such that you’ll soon know every loot-filled corner like the back of your hand. The act of going deeper and deeper into what is, in actuality, a very simple and straightforward map is key to Turnip Boy‘s appeal. After the first dozen or so times you ram through those walls, the sense of familiarity becomes refreshing and the desire to find something new is invigorating. It doesn’t hurt that it all goes down to the tune of a thumping soundtrack that’s a far-cry from the quaint earworms of the first game.
Outside of this core loop, the progression system is actually pretty similar to Tax Evasion, with various food-based critters asking Turnip Boy for increasingly absurd favors. Some of them can be handled fetch-quest style, but the bulk of the problems can be solved by absconding with enough dough to buy new items from the dark web. Costs increase as you open up more of the bank, but so do the spoils as you reach the depths of what this mighty money bin has to offer.
Getting the goods goes beyond a little smash ‘n grab action. You’ll blow up vaults with C4, chisel statues to unveil the hidden gems within, and approach hostages to literally shake the coins and bills out of their shallow little pockets. You’ll end bank runs with a few thousand dollars early on, but by the end you’ll be pulling in hauls in the hundreds of millions. There’s plenty of opposition, from snails and bunnies to baton-wielding bacon and gun-toting donuts. There are even more ways to dispose of them, starting with a standard sword-and-gun combo and moving on to everything from fish to music-blasting conch shells, lasers, and a rocket launcher that would fit right in with the climax of a Resident Evil game.
Turnip Boy Robs a Bank puts the lite in roguelite with some very surface level, but still effective, genre trappings. Most weapons are found in the wild, and you can spend some cash to up the odds of finding the good stuff. It’s all random, so some bank runs will yield more effective results than others. Taking new discoveries back to the hideout will give you a chance to offer them to one of the Twins for weapon research. The more you raise your research level, the more weapons you’ll find permanently added to your loadout options.
There are maybe a couple moments I would describe as moderately annoying at most over the course of the 4-5 hour campaign, but the combat is never grating. Even if the mighty grenade launcher has you dying repeatedly to yet another culinary cop, there are a handful of combat difficulty options available from the very beginning. There are also plenty of accessibility options in terms of how you approach the meat of the action. If you just want to chew on the expanded Turnip Boy lore and revel in the late-game twists, you can toggle God Mode on and off at any time. You can also change the outlines of enemies and interactive items, raise or lower the damage you deal, and turn on auto aim and an aim laser for more precise shooting.
Four main bosses await in the bank to test those shooting skills prior to the final showdown, none of which require much in the way of thinking to topple. At the very least, they provide an opportunity to serve up more of the Turnip Boy-brand humor established in the first game. This is one of the key areas in which the team is clearly more confident. Even when the jokes don’t land, there’s no collar-tugging reliance on references to tired video game tropes. Instead, Snoozy Kazoo doubles down on the absurdity with a small group of central characters, with the gruff and determined Dillitini guiding Turnip Boy through the labyrinth that lies ahead.
Turnip the volume
Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is a fast-paced steal ’em up that wears its purposefully repetitive hook on its sleeve. There’s a genuine sense of discovery in these steel-reinforced walls, and it’s nice to see Snoozy Kazoo improving upon the art of the first game to create a more unified pixel aesthetic that extends from the gameplay to the character art during dialogue exchanges. It’s also dumb as hell, which appeals to me in the most primitive way possible.
I’m not quite sure how often I’ll pay it a repeat visit, as the focus on earning money to purchase key items makes for a more predictable and rote means of making it from one area to the next. I’m very happy to have played it thoroughly at least once, though, and this vault is worth busting into regardless of whether or not you enjoyed the first round of food-based federal crimes.