With a name like Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, I was hoping to learn a thing or two about taxes, government regulation, and the ways in which the system fundamentally screws people out of money and property. While I can’t say I learned anything about tax evasion playing this adorable 2D action game — don’t do it, I guess? — what I did walk away with was the satisfaction of giving the middle finger to the federal, uh, legumeverment. It feels pretty damn good.
Developed by Snoozy Kazoo and originally released in April, Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is a dungeon-crawling RPG-lite in which you play as a rutabaga ready to do crimes with a smile. Turnip Boy hasn’t paid property taxes on his house and, as a result, the government repossesses it. Turnip Boy also becomes Mayor Onion’s errand veggie. If the government owns your labour and property, it’s almost like they own your soul. This is not only the narrative setup for Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, but also the game’s entire premise: helping our little hero get his shit back.
But in order to reclaim Turnip Boy’s property and freedom, you must perform some nonsensical tasks for Mayor Onion, like finding radioactive goop, and a fork. Though mostly an action game in which you battle animals such as bunnies and pigs, Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion also features some light lock-and-key puzzling, that has you finding this thing to unlock that thing to do this other thing — and repeating this process for a couple of hours. The game’s not that long, and it ends with a clash of god-like proportions (literally) with a government official. In the end, Turnip Boy gets his shit back and tells the government to fuck all the way off.
Things don’t end there, though, as on August 26 Snoozy Kazoo and publisher Graffiti Games dropped a massive (and totally free) update for the game called The Sunset Station. This endless dungeon, a series of train cars replete with souped-up versions of many of the base game’s enemies, ever so slightly alters Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion’s gameplay loop to include modest roguelike elements.
To access the Limitless Line dungeon you’ve got to finish the base game first. This includes beating Mayor Onion at least two different times, but once he’s out of the picture, a new bad vegetable named Conductor Onion takes his place. But besting the conductor is not as easy.
On the Limitless Line, you can only heal through occasional hearts left by vanquished foes. You also only get one life; you start over from the train’s beginning if you die, regardless of how far you’ve made it. As you make your way through the endless dungeon, you’ll run into the game’s three main bosses. It can feel monotonous, especially since their battle tactics don’t change much from what you’ve learned from the base game. However, the expansion’s enhancements do add a brief whiff of difficulty.
The Limitless Line’s real challenge comes in its ultimate battle with Conductor Onion. This dude, with his sharp katana and sharper shuriken, is a total menace. He follows you around the crowded car, slashing with purpose and quickness. But even if you manage to defeat him, a few cars later Conductor Onion just comes back stronger, like some stereotypical anime supervillain. I don’t know how many times Conductor Onion is supposed to come back before the Limitless Line reaches its end (if it has one) and it’s not like he’s going to let that happen anyway. So give it up.
The repeated boss clashes can get pretty old pretty fast, what with the tedium of running through car after car just to battle enemies you’ve fought in the base game. Some variety comes in the form of trinkets you unlock to add to the random item pool, and if you find the right trinket, a run can play somewhat differently. I really liked having a healing item, and one that inflicted massive fire DoTs on all nearby, unfortunate foes.
I wouldn’t call Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion’s base game the freshest vegetable in the bunch, but it’s absolutely the funniest one around. The Sunset Station expansion, however, is really just more of the same flavoring. Maybe that’s enough for some, but it feels inconsequential here when much of the loop remains barely altered. Then again, it’s free!
I’ve fought Conductor Onion more than a dozen times and every time, he gives me a good beating and sends me back to the beginning of the train. It’s a drudging experience. But at least I was able to tear up every single document I found on the way, and told that greedy, overreaching government to fuck right off.
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