The Latest Xbox Game Pass Roguelike Has A Love-It-Or-Hate-It Sense of Humor
It’s an acquired taste.
Video games let you get up to all kind of unpleasant behavior, but only one is brave enough to let you commit tax evasion. And it’s definitely the only one that lets you do it as a turnip. Now, the developers of Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion are back with a sequel on Xbox Game Pass that ups the stakes to bank robbery.
Released in 2021, Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is a top-down action adventure in the style of early The Legend of Zelda games. It was filled with puzzles as well as combat, all with a bizarre sense of humor that you’ll probably either love or will immediately turn you off of the game. Also, it has a hell of a name, which I’m convinced contributed a lot to its success.
This week, developer Snoozy Kazoo released a follow-up in Turnip Boy Robs a Bank, which changes the gameplay of its predecessor pretty radically while doubling down on its sense of humor, for better or worse.
The biggest change for Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is that, unlike the original, it’s a roguelike action game. As the name implies, the game follows Turnip Boy on his quest to rob a bank, now that he’s joined up with the Mafia pastiche known as the Pickled Gang. Each run through the game starts with Turnip Boy and his getaway driver smashing their car right into the bank’s lobby, and Turnip Boy proceeding to strip the place clean of valuables until the fuzz shows up.
Every time you enter the bank, a timer starts counting down to when the bank is flooded with well-armed cops. It doesn’t mean your run has to end right away, but it becomes extremely dangerous to stick around any longer. If you’re defeated before you can escape back to your getaway car, you’ll lose half of the money you collected, which can be used for upgrades back at your hideout if you make it back.
As far as roguelikes go, Turnip Boy Robs a Bank isn’t particularly complex. You can collect an arsenal of weapons from guards in the bank and trade them in for more firepower back at the base, but there’s not much variety to your attacks. Despite its simplicity, trashing a bank and stuffing jewels into a bag is just an inherently fun activity (only in games, of course), so it could satisfy your cravings for a less punishing roguelike.
On top of upgrades like a bigger bag to carry more cash or a signal jammer that gives you more time before the alarm trips, you also need to buy equipment that lets you overcome the bank’s security systems. A laser pointer cuts through safe doors, C4 blows up vaults, and so on, but these mostly serve as ways to gate your progress rather than new tools to play with.
While its gameplay isn’t anything revolutionary, what gives Turnip Boy Robs a Bank its identity is the game’s quirky tone and sense of humor. It picks up from the events of Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (a screen on startup even advises you to play that before this one), and it’s full of references to that game that will go right over your head if you haven’t played it. It also turns its predecessor’s humor up a notch, which will likely make or break Turnip Boy Robs a Bank for you.
To put it simply, I can’t stand Turnip Boy Robs a Bank’s humor. Its jokes feel somewhere between internet-poisoned Reddit comments and a bottom-of-the-barrel Twitch streamer desperately trying to keep their audience from leaving through sheer wackiness. It seems to subscribe to the idea that randomly capitalizing words is funny in itself, and relies on players thinking that a red pepper who’s also a gamer is inherently hilarious. Har-de-har har. Maybe I’m just a killjoy, but I learned to click through every line of dialogue as fast as possible to keep my eyes from permanently rolling to the back of my head.
I’m willing to accept that maybe I’m the problem here. Judging from the game’s reviews, it won over most people more than it did me. And even if, like me, you find the jokes on popsicle sticks more clever than the ones in Turnip Boy Robs a Bank, it might be worth a spin for its bank-robbing gameplay. Just try not to hurt your thumb racing to skip its dialogue.