Turbo Kid channels nostalgia and love for a cult film into a Metroidvania – with a BMX

This article has been created as part of a paid partnership with the developer behind Turbo Kid – Outerminds. 

Back in 2015, a film called Turbo Kid was released and promptly became a cult favourite. It takes place in 1997 on an alternate post-apocalyptic Earth and follows a comic book fan-turned-superhero who embarks on an adventure filled with over-the-top gore to stop some evil force. Sounds like a video game, right?

Well, now it’s going to become one, thanks to the folks at Outerminds, who you might know as the developers of Legend of the Brofist and PewDiePie’s Tube Simulator – Yes, the popular Swedish YouTuber is a theme here. But now they’re stepping away from the influencer realm and into the world of movie tie-ins.

A labour of love

But don’t let that flippant statement – or memories of slapdash movie-based games – put you off. Turbo Kid (the game) is very much a passion project for Outerminds, steeped in nostalgia, both in terms of the visual style and genre. “It’s not a game that we made and stamped Turbo Kid on it,” says Guiz de Pessemier, Co-Founder and Business Development Director at Outerminds.

That statement is further supported when you learn that everything is hand-drawn. “We could have made a game with tiles, but everything is hand-drawn. All the backgrounds are unique. It’s crazy how much time we spent to make this a good game,” says Guiz.

And it’s a passion obviously shared by the soon-to-be players as well. Turbo Kid started life as a Kickstarter campaign, and it didn’t take long for its development to become a reality, hitting the goal within ten hours. That’s what the creators of a cult movie and a video game company teaming up can do for you, it seems.

And the pair’s previous successes made the partnership seem like a no-brainer. “You did a movie. You had success. We made our video game company. We had success. Let’s make something together,” says Guiz.

For all the lore loyalists out there, Turbo Kid is canon. It’ll bridge the gap between the first film and the upcoming sequel with the story penned alongside the filmmakers. So not only have the developers poured a lot of love into this game, but it’s also canonically significant.

Original music from the team that made the film’s soundtrack

The love for the source material extends to the soundtrack too, with the music coming from the folks who worked on the film. Turbo Kid boasts 60 minutes of original music that’s tailor-made to fit the game.

“They did a full read of the script and asked a lot of questions to make sure the key moments in the game had their own special tunes,” says Vincent Laforest, Game Designer at Outerminds.

Metroidvania mania

When coming up with ideas for the game, the team opted for a Metroidvania, being fans of the genre themselves and thinking it tied in nicely with the film.“The movie is in a post-apocalyptic futuristic world of 1997. So that genre [Metroidvania] was pretty popular at the time, and the kid is a mix between Mega Man and Samus,” say Guiz.

And after choosing the genre, the team were happy to lean into the nostalgic vibes it would bring. “What if the game was made in the early 90s based on that movie?” asks Bruno Corbin, Brand Manager at Outerminds. He adds, “We wanted to keep that feeling of an older SNES game.”

And you can definitely see that influence by taking a peek at any trailer or screenshot. As with any Metroidvania worth its salt, Turbo Kid gives you an array of weapons to use, including a machete, Electric Shocks, circular saws, and the Kid’s Turbo Gloves. As you probably inferred from that list of offensive weaponry. Yes, the over-the-top gore from the film is here by the bucketload. 

Of course, you can also tackle the different levels in whatever order you choose. Doing so might make some stages trickier than others, but that’s all part of the fun in this genre. But I know what you’re thinking, ‘There are plenty of great Metroidvania’s out there. I can’t move for them. Why would I play this particular one?’

On yer bike

The bike. According to the developer, Turbo Kid’s unique selling point is the main character’s trusty BMX. “[It’s] the idea of having this bike mechanic in a Metroidvania where you can choose to use it, not use it. You’re not bound to use it throughout, but you’ll need to master it in order to make your way through the game successfully.”

Using it, you can zip around the map more quickly and access areas you’d otherwise have to stare sadly towards. It also gives you bonuses if you perform spectacular stunts mid-ride. Alternatively, you could view it as more than transportation and fling it at enemies, giving them a taste of aluminum. 

Targeting speedrunners

Speedrunning is a popular pastime for fans of Metroidvanias. Outerminds are aware of this and want to embrace that community with Turbo Kid, being excited to see how players will try and plot out the most efficient route through the game. 

“Speedrunning is about high risk, low reward. For example, with the bike, if you do tricks in the air, you get a small boost, but if you fall, you lose a lot of seconds,” says Guiz.

It’s not just the bike, either. Entire elements of the game were made with speedrunning in mind, catering to the often masochistic nature of the folks who partake in the hobby.

“There were little design things that were added in there to maximise your time but also there’s a risk factor to it. So we made it speed runner-friendly but you’re going to have to master it like crazy to beat someone’s else time,” says Bruno. 

Hopes and dreams

But despite the appreciation of speedrunning, Outerminds are hoping that all kinds of people will find something to enjoy in Turbo Kid. “We want people to speed run it. That would be great. We want people to play it because it’s a good game,” says Guiz.

And that’s a sentiment shared across the team, it seems. Bruno says, “We hope that people see in this game what we see in it.”

If that sounds up your alley, you can Wishlist Turbo Kid now over on Steam ahead of its launch on April 10th. 

Thank you for reading this article. For more interesting coverage of all things indie games, be sure to check out the links below.

This Article was written by: Stephen Gregson-Wood