If you are struggling with getting your five a day in post lockdown then ‘Turbo Tomato’ by Bitmap Soft might be a step in the right direction for you. The aptly named title hints at the pure hectic joy of chaos that Turbo Tomato is.
The game plays like a hybrid between classic bomberman without the rails and a top-down shooter. The protagonist, the Turbo Tomato is tasked with saving the land from evil mutagenic vegetables following an evil plot from an unknown darkness. The hero must make their way through multiple worlds from the cabbage patch to towering ‘Toxodyne HQ’ by eliminating such mutagenic foes as ‘Strawbdaddy’, ‘Coolcumber’ and my personal favourite ‘Willi the Chilli’, who by the way, is an absolute fiend.
Bombs spawn sporadically on each map grid with 19 seconds on the clock before explosion, your task as a player is to launch them toward your enemy to clear the grid in an ‘allotmented’ time (forgive the pun). Carrying bombs significantly reduces movement speed, making you an easy target for the foes who also can throw explosives your way. Killing enemies results in point-based fruits to collects as well as abilities, perks and health. Skill and precision are required to release the bombs at just the right time, using rebounds from walls and obstacles within the grid.
The opening levels of Turbo Tomato are straight forward and lull you into a false sense of security as the game difficulty quickly ramps up. Each world is laid out in multiple levels with a boss fight at the end. The player has 3 lives to start with and unlimited continues. However, completing the game without using any represents a significant challenge.
In terms of gameplay, controlling the Turbo Tomato is a really nice experience, the directional movement is sensitive and super responsive which is perfect for dodging oncoming bombs and getting around the grid. It really endears itself to using joystick-based input devices rather than gamepads which gives a real arcade like vibe to the experience. Two modes are available, ‘Turbo’ and the more challenging ‘Nitra’. Users have the option of selecting various trainers at the main menu to alter the difficulty of the experience as well as a code input system for loading save games as commonplace with many 16-bit games of the 90’s era.
The graphics are sharp, the animation is well executed, and the colours really pop especially using RGB capable displays. The soundtrack and sound effects are apt but a little repetitive at times. The real star of the show here is the gameplay, particularly in multiplayer mode which is a frantic but extremely enjoyable experience with a friend or partner (mine loved it). A playthrough lasts around 90 minutes from start to finish, replayability and longevity comes from the more difficult ‘Nitra’ mode, playing with friends and trying desperately to beat your previous high score, which, by the way, resets itself with the use of a continue. Another nice touch is that high scores can be uploaded online to compare, gloat or be totally embarrassed by, particularly if you finish the game having just used a continue!
Turbo Tomato is an excellent, original and frantic experience that is best enjoyed with a friend. Grab your joystick, enjoy the mayhem and be careful of those bombs and miscreant legumes!
Reviewed on a stock Amiga 600 using an original Quickshot II Turbo Joystick
A frantic, fun, bomberman/shooter hybrid that begs to replayed with a friend and a cold one!