Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle Review
Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle is the sequel to the classic Runaway: A Road Adventure. While I only got to play the hidden puzzle game-styled re-imagining of the original Runaway: A Road Adventure, called Hidden Runaway, I was at least familiar with the story and how Brian and Gina came to be a couple. In The Dream of the Turtle, they go out for some island-hopping fun, only to wind up on another crazy adventure.
Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle is a point-and-click adventure game that was originally for the PC. Now that it's on iOS devices, fans of the previous Runaway games can continue Brian and Gina's story as they've become closer thanks to their run-ins with the mafia and a gang of desert-dwelling cross-dressers in the first game.
While flying over to an island with an elderly pilot named Otto, something goes horribly wrong and results in the pair having to crash land. Right before they do so, Brian straps a parachute onto Gina and sends her flying off into safety, though it's towards parts unknown on the island below.
After the plane crashes, Brian's left to fend for himself on the island while trying to reunite with Gina. It's your job to help him navigate the tropical paradise and use your wits to guide him through the treacherous puzzles that lie in wait.
The Dream of the Turtle has all of the trappings of a classic PC adventure game: you've got your point-and-click controls, a lot of monologue, an inventory with items that can be combined, a hint system and hours of gameplay that straddles the border between brain-teasing elation and mind-numbing frustration.
Unfortunately, The Dream of the Turtle tends to sway towards the latter and can be quite a pain to play, even for some adventure game vets. While you'd think the point-and-click control scheme would lend itself to the iOS platform, the execution in The Dream of the Turtle's port lacks a bit of finesse. You won't know what in the background is clickable unless you press the magnifying glass that highlights all of the hotspots.
Even then, it'll take several taps until the game registers it as a click, which results in Brian sluggishly trudging over to the object or location in question. It feels really cumbersome to play and can detract a lot from the experience, especially since this is an adventure game in which a lot of backtracking is involved.
The puzzles can be difficult to solve if you're not well-versed in the adventure game genre, but luckily The Dream of the Turtle has included a helpful hint system in the form of Josh, one of Brian's friends who can communicate with him outside of time and space for some reason. Unfortunately, Josh also happens to be one of the most offensively-racist representations of an Asian character since Mickey Rooney's Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's. And that's saying something.
But you'll get help, nonetheless, even if the hints can be a little obtuse. Most of the time, the solution lies in combining an item in your inventory with another item, or using it on something in the environment to open up new paths. A few puzzles require you to talk to some of the island's inhabitants, like a funny little mute monk or a busty bartender named Lokelani. Opening up dialogues with characters like these can sometimes unlock new options for you to tackle a certain puzzle and move on in the game.
But the way the game is now and how cringe-inducing a lot of the gameplay is, it's tough to really recommend to anyone other than hardcore adventure game enthusiasts who can deal with the inherently slow nature of The Dream of the Turtle's gameplay. It's even harder to recommend to those who haven't familiarized themselves with Brian and Gina, the main characters.
Sure, the graphics maybe be lovely and the voice acting may be on the better side of decent, but the story is held back by an archaic PC adventure game system that was translated to a platform that has enjoyed more modern adventure game experiences such as The Walking Dead or Fetch. So unless you positively have to find out what happens to Brian and Gina for $4.99, I'd skip over this one and play another run-through of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead.