German Developer Plinga Makes Turtle Soup Out of Worms for Facebook Users

Since we’ve been on the subject of classic games getting remade as social ones, there’s one “inspired” genre that has kept popping up periodically over the past months. These are social team battling games reminiscent of the Worms franchise. The first noticeable appearance was with Playfish’s Crazy Planets, and another was Playdom’s Wild Ones. However, now, the latest Worms-like game goes to a quirky turtle-slaying game from German developer Plinga called Turtle Squad.

The company’s name may have been inspired by Zynga, but Turtle Soup is nearly a clone of Worms — if you played Worms 2, then you’ve played the core of Turtle Squad. However, for those unfamiliar with the old PC title, players control a squad of five turtles, with the objective of wiping out the enemy team. Each turtle has a set number of hit points, and using a set of bizarre weaponry (i.e. a shark missile), attempt to bring all enemies down to zero.

The player and computer-controlled opponent take turns, with each choosing which turtle to move. Using basic controls (move left, right, and jump, though eventually you get tools such as a helicopter or teleporter), they can position their character (under a time limit) on uniquely designed maps, searching for the best vantage point from which to attack. From here, the player selects a weapon and fires it, but what is interesting, however, is that power (determined by holding down the fire button), direction, and angle all play a part in attack accuracy.

You see, Turtle Squad actually has fairly decent physics, as well as directional wind. Between these two factors, it is possible to curve bazooka shells, bank shot grenades, and so on. After each match the game grants you bonuses to your income based on how accurate your shooting is, as well as your average time per shot and damage per shot (determined by accuracy and weapon choice).

This money, dubbed Turtle Coins, comes in a bit useful when purchasing new weapons and tools that are unlocked in the game’s single player campaign mode. Thankfully, the task of unlocking items isn’t too frustrating as the mode is actually fairly fun, with players advancing through a number of creative levels that have increasingly difficult enemies in terms of health, numbers, and overall AI.

Regardless, once you have unlocked a weapon, you have to actually pay to research it. This actually plays into an interesting social feature where the more friends you have playing, the less time it takes to research. Unfortunately, you can only work on one development at a time, – making said expedience prudent – but likely, that is to entice further friend invites. Luckily, you can always speed things up even more by buying the weapon immediately with the virtual currency, Plinga Stars. Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to actually buy it. At least not in an intuitive or visible place.

As for other social features, there are the standard feed publications, but curiously, these are coupled with preset “Brags” that openly taunt people to challenge your turtle squad. In fact, that challenge mode is the next social feature, which allows you to battle the squad put together by your friends. Sadly, it looks to just be computer controlled, but does have some potential for synchronous multiplayer.

Of course, if you don’t wish to pick fights with your friends, you can always have them join your squad. All this really does is put their name and Facebook profile picture above the turtles on the battlefield, but if they play too, the character will be granted an added health bonus.

Aesthetically, Turtle Squad looks and sounds great. The visuals and animations, coupled with the high pitched turtle voices, make it a very amusing game to play (though it’s soothing to mute it from time to time). It’s especially entertaining to watch a defeated turtle turn into a can of soup. Unfortunately, this praise also brings up our biggest complaint.

The social elements and researching of weapons aside, the core game play is virtually identical to Worms 2. Beyond that, Worms was also known for it’s cartoon visual style and high pitched English voices. Granted, these turtles aren’t from the UK, but if someone playing were to walk to the bathroom, you could probably switch out the game for Worms and they wouldn’t notice.

In the end, Turtle Squad is a fun game, but hardly very original. Its social elements are really what saves the title from being a complete rip-off of the Worms franchise, but even they still have untapped potential. This isn’t to say that social developers should stop basing their titles on classic games, it’s just saying that perhaps they should truly be more inspirational rather than mere blueprints.