Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Save The Turtles (DSiWare) Review

Review for Save The Turtles on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The download service for the Nintendo DSi has become a haven for developers' ideas that may have otherwise never made it to the retail scene due to lack of publisher support. The majority of the releases on the DSiWare Channel are in the puzzle genre, so now it has become a challenge for companies to create new twists in the genre. Development outfit Sabarasa appears to have done just that with Save the Turtles.

It must be tough being a turtle, especially one that lives on a beach, with the sun blazing down, threatening to almost cook you in the very shell that normally provides you with such safety. If only there were some way that turtles like this could be saved... Welcome to Save the Turtles, the first DSiWare release from Sabarasa, the folk that brought the world Mazes of Fate DS! The first port of call is to actually release the baby turtles from their eggs. To help a turtle hatch, all the players needs to do is rub over a hole with the stylus to uncover an egg, then tap on it to crack it open. Once this has been done for every buried egg around the beach location, all the turtles are visible and ready to head back to the sea. This is where summoning a wave will come in handy, washing them away when three or more of the same species of turtles are aligned horizontally or vertically. To move a turtle around, it is simply a case of using the stylus to draw a path to the desired new location. Once three or more of the same species are aligned (there are seven different types in total), the wave automatically comes in and clears the beach.

The more rare the species, the higher the score you achieve. Aligning different types at the same time will result in a multiplier, giving an extra boost to your overall score. The score is located on the top screen, along with the 'Goal' that shows how many turtles must be saved in that particular stage. However, even when that figure has been reached, for a short time more can be rescued to rack up more points for a special bonus in order to achieve the elusive Gold Medal ranking. Should you not complete the task in the time allotted, the sun will kill the remaining un-saved turtles. During a stage, the sun will start to cause the turtles to overheat, so players should also try to remember to use water to cool them down by touching the sea at the edge of the screen and dragging across to a particular turtle. This can prove to be rather awkward, though, since the stretch of water is very thin, and attempting to drag water across in the heat of the moment as numerous turtles are being scorched, is sometimes impossible.

Screenshot for Save The Turtles on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Not only is heat an issue, but pesky crabs that eat your turtles can play havoc on proceedings if you accidentally draw a path for a turtle that passes over a crab's hiding spot. Seagulls will appear from time-to-time as well, swooping up one of your precious babies if they are not moved to safety quick enough. If you are meticulous with the placing of turtles, a row of five can be cleared in one go, not just several smaller lines at once around the beach. Should five indeed be cleared, a rainbow-coloured turtle will appear that acts as a wildcard, allowing it to be used as any particular colour you want. Simply place it next to two or more of the same coloured turtles and it automatically becomes that same shade.

During play, various items will be washed on shore when a wave sweeps in, with some types of seaweed appearing that will give extra points, whilst other bits of flotsam and jetsam can lead to turtles becoming paralysed, little rain clouds will cool everything down briefly and coral can change the colour of a turtle. The various levels are not graphical wonders by any means, but the visual approach taken is certainly not unpleasant at all, considering there is only so much you can do with a beach and body of water! At least the developer has tried to add spice to Save the Turtles by making each location based on a real life place, as well as giving players the chance to work through four modes: Save the World, Quick Play, Tidal Wave and Turtles Forever. The main mode is Save the World, where players are treated to thirty-two levels of challenging fun. There is some very oriental style music throughout, with a hip beat in the background, mixed with some funky lounge tunes to add to the experience. For 500 Points, Save the Turtles is certainly one of the better puzzle efforts on DSiWare, and will keep gamers busy ahead of Sabarasa's other upcoming Nintendo releases, three on DSiWare (Primrose, Alt-Play: Jason Rohrer Anthology, and Art of Ink) and two on WiiWare (the Balance-Board enabled Horizon and Protocol, a local and online team-based FPS).

Screenshot for Save The Turtles on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Extremely well implemented touch-screen controls that help to make this puzzle title great fun to play through, and easy enough for anyone to pick up.


A nice, simple visual style that complements the action sufficiently.


Pleasant background tunes, mixing different styles of tunes together to enhance the experience.


With four different modes and thirty-two engaging levels, you can feel confident about parting with your 500 Points here.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Sabarasa's debut DSiWare release is another worthy addition to the bulging library of puzzle games on Nintendo's portable download service, offering simple-yet-engaging fun throughout and appealing to a wide demographic with its user-friendly control system. Definitely consider putting Save the Turtles on your DSi shopping list.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

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I got this at launch in the Americas and it has been a very fun experience. Only problem for me is that the strip of water on the right is too narrow and sometimes it doesn't register me taking some of it to alleviate the turtles sunburn.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Yeah, as I mention in the review, that was pretty much the only issue for me. Thankfully if you try to remember that, taking your time touching the water gently and then the turtle worked fine. Rushing did indeed result in it failing to register sometimes.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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