You needn’t be familiar with the previous Turtix game or other platform-like puzzlers like Lemmings or Vikings to enjoy playing through Turtix – Rescue Adventures. Don’t be fooled by its cutesy graphics: this game will provide hours of head-scratching fun for those who like a challenge. Oddly, though, it’s missing some features we liked in the original game – but we’ll get to that in due time.

Turtix the bug-eyed turtle is back, and this time you’re asked to travel to three huge worlds – the Magic Forest, Underground Caves and Barren Desert – to rescue fellow students accidentally trapped in magical bubbles. But these hapless creatures will simply walk blindly to the exit of the multi-tiered level, so it’s up to you to preemptively protect them from harm before you set them free.

Therefore, you must shutdown traps and bypass prickly enemies before the student turtles can hurt themselves. You’ll accomplish this by activating switches, pushing crates onto dangerous spikes or taking out baddies by jumping on them. If you get hurt falling onto spikes or dropping off a ledge you’ll lose a valuable health point but if you find chests hidden on the levels you can gain some of that back (or be rewarded with other bonuses, such as an extra life or more time added to your clock for higher points). You’ll also collect stars and find secret areas to collect gems.

The player must also figure out how to reach hard-to-reach places, such as ledges that require a crate to jump on, buttons that open doors, underwater caverns, teleportation portals and a gorge you can only bypass by climbing on vines. The trick is to figure out which order is required or else you might have to restart the level and try a different path.

Speaking of which, some of the tasks you had to complete in a certain order didn’t make much sense. Specifically, early on in the game I had to push two crates over a spiky area before my little turtle buddies walked towards it. But if you choose to push the, say, left box onto the spikes instead of the right one first, the second box won’t fit for some reason, even though they’re identical. Instead you need to push the left box on first, followed by the right. If you do it in the wrong order the puzzle cannot be completed. This was frustrating.

Another minor beef: Gamers navigate around the various levels using a mouse, keyboard or mouse, but the it’s too bad the player can’t remap the keyboard commands; I found it awkward to press the Up arrow key to jump when I would’ve preferred the spacebar as required in the first game.

Speaking of which, unlike Hollywood movies, casual game sequels are usually better than their predecessors because game designers add new features and fix issues. Oddly, Turtix: Rescue Adventures isn’t quite as good as the first game because of only one game mode (instead of two in the original), two levels of difficulty (opposed to three) and I preferred the closer “camera” in the first game to see all the great graphics with more detail.

That said, Turtix: Rescue Adventures is still a very fun and challenging puzzle game with 60 levels, dozens of secret areas, bonus levels and tougher “boss” creatures you must defeat by studying its pattern and attacking at the right moments. The game is also a refreshingly unique option for casual players bored with Match-3, hidden object and time management games.