Backlog Review: “Hurdle Turtle – Celebrations!” (Xbox 360/Xbox Live Indie Games, Jolly Jinglings Special)

Welcome back to The Splintering’s Jolly Jinglings holiday event! Today we’re going to take a look at another lesser-known title from the Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) catalogue, Hurdle Turtle: Celebrations!

Developed by Adam “Holmfry” Holmes in 2013, Hurdle Turtle: Celebrations! is a sequel of sorts to 2010’s Hurtle Turtle. It’s an arcade-style endless runner game where players control their turtle who runs along a randomly generated track. There does not appear to be any sort of goal aside from beating your own best personal distance. You have four extra lives before receiving a “game over,” and there is a brief invincibility period after each collision.

Choose the form of your destructor!

Hurtle Turtle is easy to pick up and play, and Celebrations! is no different. The formula is still the same, but Celebrations has three new environments to choose from, Birthday Blast! (Normal difficulty), Merry Mayhem! (Hard), and Spooky Sprint! (Insane!). So, Celebrations! is not purely a Christmas game, but the birthday stage is filled with presents, so I say that it is more a Christmas game than a Halloween one.

Each stage gives you a hurdle to jump over and an obstacle to dodge. In the Merry Mayhem stage, the hurdles look like candy canes, and you have to avoid the endless reindeer who are scattered along the track. Why do they all look like Rudolph, though? The background features a wintery environment filled with trees and snowmen. The Birthday Blast stage features rainbow hurdles with presents as obstacles, and the Halloween-themed Spooky Sprint stage has bone-shaped hurdles and the obstacles are oversized treat bags.

Pro-Tip! All of the obstacles take up either the top two or bottom two “lanes,” so stick to the center two lanes so you don’t have to move nearly as far to dodge them.

That cold-blooded turtle has to be feeling nippy at the North Pole

The graphics are unabashedly retro-inspired, featuring blocky pixel art and very simple animations, but the game is quite responsive and controls well. 8-bit music composer Ocatpus returns to provide the soundtrack to Hurdle Turtle: Celebrations!, and the tunes are truly one of the high points of the game if you enjoy the throwback style. It’s not Christmas-y, or festive in any way, really, but the music is fast-paced, catchy, and I played multiple rounds just to hear the soundtrack again.

The final product is an fun experience, though it’s admittedly intended to play in small doses. There’s also a simultaneous two-player mode, so that’s a nice feature if you want to compete with a friend for best distance. If you happen to have another one of the Hurdle Turtle games, there’s not much else to see in Celebrations! There’s new environments with a new soundtrack, and I found Celebrations! to be slightly more difficult than the original, but it’s essentially the same game.

That’s the biggest Jack-o-lantern in Texas, I tell ya’ what!

Just like all of the other XBLIG titles, Hurdle Turtle: Celebrations! is no longer available for Xbox 360 via Xbox Live, so there’s currently no way to pick it up. If you do happen to have a way to play it, Hurdle Turtle: Celebrations! is a simple-but fun endless runner for those looking for some festive time to kill. If you missed out on the game, you can still check out Octapus’ music on their SoundCloud page here, so that’s not a bad consolation.

Thanks for reading! To check out more of The Splintering’s Jolly Jinglings content, go here!


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