Ryan Reynolds has single-handedly ruined three - otherwise potentially good - comic book movie adaptations. Back in 2004, his irritating take on Hannibal King in Blade Trinity was slightly excusable because the entire movie was rubbish. But his appalling rendition of Wade Wilson (Deadpool) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was cringe-worthy and this was shortly followed by an unconvincing Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. Which was total pants.
But finally, here’s a role that Ryan Reynolds was born to play. A garden snail. Man, he absolutely kills this role.
Turbo is an animated film by DreamWorks for the little ones about a snail (voiced by Senor Reynolds) who dares to dream big. Despite his slug-like anatomical deficiencies, he fantasises about the day he can compete in the Indianapolis 500 and be the fastest living creature on the planet. As luck would have it, a freak accident involving a nitrous-powered car finally gives him that chance. Instead of turning him into slimy goo on the side of the road, his snail DNA becomes infused with supercharged turbo juice and he becomes part car/part snail... or something.
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is the video game of this upcoming movie. But despite what you might be expecting, this isn’t a racing game. Instead it feels more like a reincarnation of the old Tony Hawk Skating games, complete with bizarre half-pipes, rails, and ramps. Players will even have to spell out T-U-R-B-O by collecting letters (reminiscent of the old S-K-A-T-E objective in Tony Hawk).
As well as the lead character Turbo, players can select a number of other slimy snail racers to compete with, each one featuring unique abilities - like handling, boost, and tricks. They all have groovy names too, like WhipLash, SkidMark, and I think one was called the Burninator? The objective is to rack up as many points as possible in a set amount of time by stringing together combo stunt moves, launching off ramps, pulling off tricks - and landing them perfectly. Scattered throughout the course you’ll also find tokens and bonus items to collect, some of which are located in hard to reach places that require some serious air to obtain.
The similarities to the Tony Hawk games even cascade into the controls, with similar button configurations and the use of the left analogue stick for executing tricks in mid-air, grinding on rails (we’re not sure how snails can grind anything) and pulling off wheelies or manuals (again, don’t ask). It’s a bit of mindless fun and kids who get a kick out of the movie will most likely enjoy whizzing around, pulling off mad tricks as their favourite mollusc.
For other players though, there are some glaringly obvious problems with Turbo: Super Stunt Squad. For starters, the physics in the game are completely mental and often you’ll end up crash-landing onto your shell due to unforgiving gravity and poorly designed jumps. There are times where you’ll land between obstacles and get stuck, forcing you to restart. And to make matters worse, a lot of the snail characters don’t have discernible body parts, which makes telling which end is their head (and therefore which way to land) frustratingly difficult. In the end, pulling off tricks was more a matter of launching myself into the air, waggling the left stick like mad and hoping for the best.
There are other issues in the game as well, such as the soundtrack. While I haven’t seen the movie, I do find it hard to believe that it features poorly produced, repetitive techno beats for two hours straight. Which is exactly what you’ll encounter in this game. Also the dialogue and cheesy one-liners uttered by your slug racers quickly becomes tedious and annoying.
Even the multiplayer features are slim - which is a shame considering that this game should be enjoyed in small groups. There is a two-player mode thankfully, and the option to customise challenges and create your own scenarios makes for a nice addition. But considering the low level of detail and limited graphics, it is a wasted opportunity that the game doesn’t feature a four-player split-screen mode for family fun.
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad will have a limited shelf-life that can be perfectly mapped to the cinema release of the movie and possibly the follow-up DVD sales window. It will entertain fans of the movie over a wet weekend or two, but ultimately the sub-par graphics, limited gameplay, and clunky controls make this game about as flawed as Ryan Reynolds' acting.