It’s party time in the animal kingdom. Everyone in the jungle is meeting at the watering hole for a splash party. But, as usual, the turtle is late. So to speed things up, he slides down the river into the pool. Party time!
That’s the theme of Turtle Splash! A family-weight game published by Gigamic and Lucky Duck Games. Does the theme make sense? Probably not. Is it fun for you and your little ones? That’s the million-dollar question. Let’s find out!
Turtle Splash is a dexterity and memory game for 2-4 players. Each player gets a mat featuring three rows of four different animals. The goal for each player is to move their three markers across each row to the end. The first to do that, wins. But how do you accomplish said feat? Good question!
On a player’s turn, they start by flicking the turtle disc down the ramp. If it lands in the center of the “pool,” the player can flip over three tiles looking for a match on their sheet. If it just hits the pool, but not the indented area in the center, then they flip over two tiles. Any other result (including a complete overshoot) lets them reveal one tile.
The rest is standard memory matching play. There are 12 animals in a grid and if the tile you flip matches one of the three animals directly to the right of one of your beach ball markers, you can move the marker on top of it. If you don’t get a match, you get to take a life preserver token, which gives you a bonus flip on a future turn.
My kids love both memory games and dexterity games, so I was pretty sure Turtle Splash would be a hit. And of course, it was. The colorful art, 3D slide, flicking action, fun theme… it all just hit home with them. Even though they are only 4.5 years old, and the box says for ages 5-9, they had no issues playing this one. I did modify the rules a tad, just leaving out the life-preserver tokens to make things a little easier, but that’s it. After a few games, my daughter was even able to explain how to play to other people.
I also have to give props to Gigamic for having the 3D slide come preassembled in the box. While my kids love games like Dragon Tower, it’s a pain to have to build the tower before each game. With Turtle Splash, they can go from opening the box to playing in almost no time (and can setup and play without me, which is a win in and of itself).
Probably my least favorite part of Turtle Splash was the memory aspect. I’ve been playing LOTS of games with my kids now that they are a tad older, and I feel like this is one mechanic that’s being used to death. I know there are only so many things you can use with kids in this age range, but a father can only take so much matching. At least the dexterity element was well-implemented. I liked that even if you overshoot the landing area, you still got a tile, so there were no dead turns.
My barometer for kids games is usually if they ask me to play it again right away, or unprompted at a later date. They did both of those, so I think they are a fan of this one. While this is definitely not one of those crossover titles that you’ll be playing as a filler game with your gaming group, it still offers enough entertainment to play with your little ones and not be bored out of your mind. It’s also accessible enough that they can play without you and give you 15 minutes of peace and quiet. With a cute theme, good components, and a fun dexterity mashup, this one is worth trying out.