It’s party time in the animal kingdom. Everyone in the jungle gathers at a watering hole for a party. But, as always, the turtle is late. Therefore, to speed things up, he slides down the river into the pool. Time to have fun!
This is the theme of Turtle Splash! A family game published by Gigamic and Lucky Duck Games. Does the topic make sense? Probably not. Is it fun for you and your kids? That’s the million dollar question. Let’s find out!
Turtle Splash is a game of dexterity and memory for 2-4 players. Each player receives a mat with three rows of four different animals. The goal of each player is to move their three markers through each row to the end. The first one to do it wins. But how to accomplish this feat? Good question!
They start a player’s turn by throwing a turtle disk down a ramp. If it lands in the center of the “pool,” the player may turn over three tiles looking for a match on their sheet. If it only lands in the pool, but not in the recessed area in the center, then they flip over two tiles. Any other result (including a full rollover) allows them to reveal one tile.
The rest is a standard memory matching game. There are 12 animals in the grid, and if the tile you flip matches one of the three animals to the right of one of the beach ball markers, you can move the marker onto it. If you don’t find a match, you get a lifeline token that gives you a bonus flip on a future turn.
My kids love both memory games and dexterity games, so I was pretty sure that Turtle Splash would be a hit. And of course it was. The colorful art, the 3D slide, the moving motion, the fun theme… all of it just blew them away. Even though they are only 4.5 years old and the box says 5 to 9 years old, they had no problem playing this game. I changed the rules a bit, just left the lifeline tokens to make things a little easier, but that’s about it. After a few games, my daughter was even able to explain how to play to other people.
I also have to give Gigamic props for having the 3D slide pre-assembled in the box. Whereas my kids love such games Dragon Tower, it hurts to build a tower before every game. With Turtle Splash, they can go from opening the box to playing quickly (and can set up and play without me, which is a win in itself).
Probably my least favorite part of Turtle Splash is the memory aspect. I’ve played a LOT of games with my kids now that they’re a little older, and I feel like this is one mechanic that gets used to death. I know there are so many things that can be used with children this age, but a parent can only take so much that is appropriate. At least the agility element was well implemented. I liked that even if you cross the landing area, you still get a tile, so there were no dead ends.
My barometer for children’s games is usually that they ask me to play again immediately or without prompting later. They’ve done both, so I guess they’re fans of it. While it’s definitely not one of those crossover games that you’ll play as a side game with your gaming group, it still offers enough fun to play with the kids and keep them entertained. It’s also affordable 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 mix of dexterity, this one is worth a try.