Posted by DesignAWay

A look at turtle power in web games

toss the turtle

Today we take a look at a game that has been around for a few years now and was created by a devy at Newgrounds. We love the game so much that we thought we'd share it with folks interested in Students of Web Game Design and development. If your wanting to truly monetize your talents as a creative game designer then you could do a lot worse than following of Toss the Turtle. So let's find out why this simple launch game is so well liked around the web...

Toss the Turtle: Morbidly Cute, Seriously Addicting

There are some great launch games out there. So many in fact, that it is no small feat to stand out among the crowd. Every now and then, a few titles to do manage to catch our attention –like this one. You get to load up a cannon and shoot out a turtle –which despite breaking plenty of physics laws, is actually plenty of fun. For people who do not mind seeing 2D reptile guts splattering all over their screen, Toss the Turtle is sure to be a guilty pleasure that we would recommend.

From the get-go, it is easy to see that Toss the Turtle is not one to take itself seriously. The instructions are easy to follow, illustrated using a deliriously happy turtle about to be launched from a live cannon. Use your mouse to determine the shooting angle, hold and release the left mouse button to shoot upon hitting max power and control your little daredevil in the air by using the W, A, S and D keys. If you have purchased some, simply click to use the nukes and rockets arrayed on your screen's lower left corner. Simple, yes? The developers were even nice enough to remind players to take a break every once in a while.

The Gameplay

Now on to the meaty part; the feel of the game itself is consistent with the instructions. Upon launching the turtle, anything can happen, really. You can collect bags of cash, flatten a Goomba or two, get impaled by jagged rocks or come across a chainsaw-toting masked freak. As with any launch game, the main objective is simply to reach as far as possible, earning points for collecting items on the fly and interacting with the crazy landscape. Even ending a stage as gory as possible will net you extra cash with the "Bloody End" bonus.

It is not terribly hard to learn how the game works. You never just plop down a mere centimeter from launch point. Even if you have not yet gotten any upgrades, initial tries are satisfying enough to keep your interest. The game has a natural flow. As long as you’re smart with your upgrades, it will never feel like a struggle to break your personal best. As previously mentioned, achievements are aplenty, and even these play a certain role in improving your game play in the form of granted bonuses.

Without any upgrades to prolong your flight, your first attempts will be anything but impressive. It takes a few tries to scrounge up enough cash to buy some nifty boosters. In between each launch, you are given the option to visit the item and gun shops. Aside from your starter kits, some upgrades are vital, some are not. But if you get really addicted to Toss the Turtle (which is not hard to do), you will eventually end up getting every available thingamabob anyway. As a bonus, you get to help feed the poor shop keep and his family of baby shop keeps.

There are different kinds of rockets available for purchase, bombs for you to toss your turtle around like a ragdoll with as well as more powerful launcher cannons. In terms of usefulness, getting a Rock Pack as early as possible will double the distance you reach very easily. From there on, rocket upgrades will start costing an arm and a limb. The Jet Pack will set you back a solid $25,000, but it will be essential in the later stages of the game.

New cannons are also pretty vital to reach further distances. Still pretty steep, the Big Cannon is the first upgrade at $10,000. The most expensive is an intimidating Tank and in between is the Super Cannon as well as the ostentatious Gold Cannon.

In this game, you can actually save your turtle from a morbid end with the use of your slingshot. The way it works is that as soon as you see your kamikaze reptile dropping towards spiky objects, shoot a hole in him to move a space. You can also do this at will just to prolong your distance a bit. Like the in-game tip says, it is more effectively used when your reptile is descending. Just think "Shoot the Can" –except that this time, instead of bouncing a can, you need to bounce your turtle.

Better weapons mean better accuracy and more firepower, so upgrade your guns –or as the game refers to it, GUNZ. You get to start with pelting your turtle with rocks, but as you upgrade to better weaponry, you can eventually blast him with a Bazooka. If you can manage to save up $400,000, you can then afford the epic Golden Gun. This weapon boasts an unbelievable 5000 power, 10 bullet reserves and a high accuracy, making it the ultimate turtle blaster.

More Than Upgrades

So, once you have finally broken the bank and finally bought the Tank, Missile and the over-the-top Golden Gun, what wil you do next? Well, if you have not done so yet, you will want to pay attention to the numerous interactive objects and batty creatures strewn all over Toss the Turtle's landscape.

It is great to see that the developers managed to spur intrigue in terms of Toss the Turtle's random encounters. Unlike other launch games, it is not all that meets the eye. For example, an unexpected chainsaw sporting, pink-colored masked man may instinctively make you want to evade. Instead, use him as a landing pad and he will act like a spring, giving you a second launch.

For Mario fans, the Goomba also gives you a bouncy boost as you flatten the living daylights out of it. An army jeep randomly passes by to ram your turtle and pitch him forward. No need to avoid that Fire Guy either, because he just gives you a protective fiery aura. Judging from the sheer amount of interactive objects, it is easy to see that this game is all about fun. Unlike other launch games, the developers did not skimp out on zany characters and random encounters in Toss the Turtle.

In terms of problematic objects, you'll be better off steering clear of spiky objects both on the ground and in the air. Yep, you read right, a gory end can come from above as well. Spikes can be in the form of jagged rocks, a barricade of steel pikes or even a Morningstar-like torture device tied to a balloon.

Fun for Completionists

Achievement junkies, unite. There are quite a number of Medals to be collected in Toss the Turtle. These are gained by slamming into or on top of the creatures, meeting distance or height requirements, playing for a number of hours straight or even ending the game in style. Getting these is not only rewarding but, are a testament to just how over-the-top silly Toss the Turtle is. Just so you know, to get the Sun Card, you really have to hit a sun.

If you are not the type to go out of your way to complete all achievements, you may still want to take a look at the bonuses some of these have to offer. For instance, boosts to bomb and cannon power may come in handy if you want to break your maximum distance record. Just do not forget to keep your finger on that D button when you are not wiggling towards something. Trust us, you will get some extra feet that way.


The artwork is a mix of morbid and cute. Utilizing pastel colors and emulating crayon scribbles, Gonzo's art is easy on the eyes. Do not make the mistake of letting a kid play it though, blood spilling and gory ends are a staple for Toss the Turtle. Somehow, our half-crazed reptile does not really die, but sometimes he does end up impaled on a spike with his broken body twitching in agony.


No game is perfect. Though Toss the Turtle does get best marks on game play and art direction, there are still a few minor quirks to consider. The first quirk concerns the game's music. It is kind of catchy for the first few stages, but with only a single music choice, it has the tendency to get quite repetitive. Thankfully a music toggle is present at the bottom right of the screen at all times.

Also, while there are enough sound effects in-game, there is an obvious lack of sound effects when it comes to navigating menus. Of course, keeping in mind that this launch game is available at a whopping cost of zero, music and sound effect choices hardly affect the game's appeal.

The last, and only truly annoying gripe about Toss the Turtle is that it does have the tendency to lag at times when using a standard net book. This makes accurate shooting a pain and, at times, hurts your chances at seeing problematic obstacles. At least it does little to affect the turtle's actual movements, so it is still playable if you're alright with the slight handicap.

To Cap Thing's Off

Again, this game is not for kids. It isn't for the faint of heart or animal activists either. But for adult players who can appreciate its ape crazy world, Toss the Turtle is surely a launch game gem. The game play is nicely balanced and addicting. So much so that grinding for cash seems to go by in a heartbeat. If you are not easily disturbed by 2D gore and are on the lookout for something to spend a whole afternoon, or heck, even a whole day playing, fire up that cannon and try giving Toss the Turtle a shot.  We definately rate this game a 9/10 and hope game designers take a leaf out of the book of Foreverkul.

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