Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle
“Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle” is without a doubt one of the dumbest titles an adventure received the last couple of years, but let’s not take that into consideration. The first Runaway from Spanish devs Pendulo Studios surprised friends and foes some years ago and because of that I was quite looking forward to this successor.
Those that know the golden age of adventures with LucasArts and Sierra will immediately recognise what the makers tried to achieve with this game. Nothing more than producing a modern version of the classics. However, the devs’ weapons aren’t strong enough to fade away the vivid memories to those timeless stories and ingenious creativity.
The first thing I noticed after finishing the intro and the first of six chapters was the atmosphere. While this was one of the things that sucked me right into the first game, I couldn’t get used to the overproduced and fake feeling of this sequel. The tunes are too sweet, the characters a tidbit too déjà vu and cliché to surprise, the main main character – as well as the devs – tries too hard to be ultracool, and although the jokes are doable they’re often too predictable or old.
The storyline is plagued by the same problem: the game tries too hard to make those hilaric adventures relive and loses therefore its identity which should be the power of what the main characters Brian and Gina experience. The writers were obviously less talented and the translation towards English clearly also left its marks. That the voice actors add to that by saying their lines quite uninterested only makes this even more visible. Especially the first part where a monkey plays the main role shows where the makers got their inspiration. The situation where you get the animal drunk is something you saw coming miles away, exactly like the way you’re supposed to do this.
The latter is often the case with the puzzles. I quickly found out that you need to fill some sort of toy with whisky but unfortunately I had to test it with water first before Brian would try it with the spirit. Clumsy and strange because at other times these typical time consuming tricks aren’t used. Brian himself will go looking for a brench if you need to pull something out of mud and when you’ve made a catapult he’ll quickly pick a stone from the ground himself.
Luckily, most of the puzzles are very logical and hunting pixels will be limited to what we don’t mind in this genre. The rest of the time you’ll be collecting objects, combining them in your inventory, try out crazy stuff and now and then scratch your head to start over again. This part is certainly good, especially since the more frustrating pieces are enlightened by the handy and intuitive interface.
Graphically things are also very much ok. The cartoony surroundings and characters were created with lots of color, sharpness and love and also variation is plenty present. This all helps to keep playing, you’ll want to know what’s coming. From the cold Alaska to the sun and tropical plants-filled Hawaii and from a pirate ship to a US military base, you’ll constantly be able to enjoy beautiful environments and images. The animations are also very well done, eventhough we would have like to have the possibility to skip them when we enter a room for the seventh time.
Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle has become a game that does certain things very good but other things a lot less. We hope for a third episode where the makers let go of their obsession with the old classics and concentrate on their own talent, storylines and characters. Also they can let go of their “everything is cool as that’s what kids love”-atmosphere and go back to the more mature line of the first game. Combined with good puzzles and beautiful graphics this should result in a game that offers and innovates more than this sequel.