Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip Review: Grandkid Theft Auto

And who said you can't drive a car to space?

Open world games are back, baby! Mainstays like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row have struggled to go bigger, demanding more money, more resources, and more graphical realism. But Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip goes full blast with the opposite approach: smaller, and more abstract.

The game has a singular voice, not a collection of scattershot jokes and references. Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip gets the juice from its namesake—Terry, a hyper-focused, socially awkward kid with one of gaming’s best deadpans.

Related: Athenian Rhapsody review: A Smile-Tastic Adventure

Launch Pad

Tiny Terry's Turbo Trip, Terry wears a traffic cone on their head while eating some beach fries.
Screenshot via snekflat.

Terry starts at the job application center, but all they want is a free car to drive into space. One gleefully belligerent interview later, and Terry zooms around the city of Sprankelwater in their own set of wheels. Your taxi is not the smoothest handler, but then again, Terry is not the most experienced driver. And their lack of experience won’t stop them from obtaining their one goal: going to space.

To go where no Terry has gone before, you’ll need upgrade your car’s turbo by driving up the side of the tallest building in town. Attach more turbo by gathering junk for the garage. And collect junk by doing almost anything marked on the map.

Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip really does cut you loose after its brief intro. When in doubt, inspect the question marks dotted on the Sprankelwater map to find new landmarks and tasks. Or call Grony, the shy man you met at the job center. (He also might be your uncle? It’s complicated.) Anyway, Grony has good advice if you feel truly aimless.

Otherwise, puttering around is kind of the point. If the in-game text doesn’t make that clear, the goofy, ambling soundtrack will. What if Super Mario Sunshine was a bit sleepy? And had a brass section?

Tools of the Trade

Tiny Terry's Turbo Trip: Terry wears sunglasses while they destroy a blue car with a monkey wrench.
Screenshot via snekflat.

This is not the game for people who need an innate sense of urgency, an absolute plus in my book. I completed Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip at 63% total progress and around 6 hours of playtime. Completionists will have a field day tracking down every collectible, but others can be rest assured that main tasks are short and sweet.

You get four tools total, counting the car. Your blunt object of choice, a shovel, and a net are all accessible through directional buttons. Other abilities are purchasable through the store, but not strictly necessary. I appreciated the hang glider, but I usually found an easier way to access high places.

Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip makes the absolute most of these constraints. No mental checklist necessary for most of Terry’s problems—just grab one of your tools and start experimenting.

Goof Troop

Tiny Terry's Turbo Trip, Ricky pursues Terry as he flees, yelling "Where are you going TERRY?"
Screenshot via snekflat.

Let’s not mince words: the tone of Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip is A Lot (emphasis mine). The mechanical satire of Terry’s controls meshes with the freewheeling goofiness of the city, but not in a way that will please everyone.

Terry moves like they have not fully grown into their body. Residents shade in background details of Terry’s life in obtuse ways. Yet there’s real bite and tenderness there for those who dig deeper. You will either love it or hate it. And I obviously loved it.

The people of Sprankelwater are a singular bunch. Everyone speaks in honks, somewhere between an Animal Crossing character and a pitch-shifted air horn. Blobby pastel heads and lopsided eyes are welded to gangly bodies. NPC routing is just silly enough to have residents occasionally walk off a bridge unscathed, ragdolling as they hit the ground.

Weird World

Named characters have their own goofy quirks and aims. A principled criminal hides by some dumpsters, searching for the perfect moral transgression. Another person lounges on the beach, oblivious to the fact that they’ve caught fire.

Still, none but the job center receptionist can quite match Terry. Terry takes everything in stride, responding to bizarre monologues with a slow blink and “OK.” It’s a true treat to meet Sprankelwater’s chaos where it lives.

The game’s task descriptions and text boxes frequently caught me off-guard—an offhanded mention that Sprankelwater is number one in car accidents here, a cryptic nudge about the government debt there.

The town may be on the smaller side compared to Vice City. But it has beaches, hat stores, and a fully featured graveyard for former mascots. This world is tinted through a ten-year-old’s bizarrely shaped glasses. And Terry’s slightly warped perspective adds so much flavor to an open-world genre prone to dissolving into checklists.

The Verdict: Pedal to the metal

Tiny Terry's Turbo Trip, Terry stands on top of a stationary car and smiles at the camera while they hold up traffic.
Screenshot via Taylor Hicklen.

Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip succeeds because of its manageable scale. Sprankelwater feels gloriously off-center, with a limited toolset that hits the perfect balance of freedom and constraint.

The game’s open-ended nature and surreal worldbuilding won’t be for everyone, but the humor lands with oddballs like me. Alternately deadpan, tender, and zany, Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip should be held in the same high regard as A Short Hike and Lil Gator Game. Sometimes it’s worth it to push past pure “cozy.”

Press SPACE to Jump Review score 9
Image by Press SPACE to Jump

Amazing

ProsCons
An awkward, deeply funny main character.Goofy tone won’t suit all players.
A bizarre town that indulges your chaotic impulses.Disarmingly open-ended at times.
Short runtime, perfect for a lazy weekend. 
Affectionate satire that hits way above its pay grade. 

Read the Press SPACE to Jump Review Scale for more information on what our scores mean. For more indie coverage, stay tuned to the site!

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Taylor Hicklen
Taylor Hicklen

Taylor is Press SPACE to Jump's community lead. He likes midrange JRPGs, fighting games, and Dicey Dungeons. Bonus points if there are good fonts. To contact him about your game or other professional inquiries, you can email him at pstjtaylor@proton.me.

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