So before I get my Impressions of the game underway, I have to put something out there, something that I do think gave me a slightly different perspective, though.
I know almost nothing about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I know they are named after artists, they wear different colors, a rat is their teacher, and they hang out with a journalist in yellow. That is it. I am a millennial, so I should know, but I am a younger millennial. I won’t say how old I was when the show came out, only that I would be in no position to actually watch it. I even offended – not really but irked possibly – my husband when I asked, “do they even have distinct personalities” while we were playing this game. Folks, they apparently do, so just keep that in mind, lol. I say all this to make it clear that as I was playing, I got enough, but not as much as fans would. However, it speaks highly of the game that I found myself regretting missing out on the show, and I sent my husband on a mad hunt to find the original animated series boxset so I could finally see it. Yes, we did order it. Yes, I will be watching. With all that…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a side-scrolling beat ’em up that is meant to feel modern but old school at the same time. Much like recently talked about, Streets of Rage 4. This is no accident, as they have the same publisher, Dotemu. As with Streets of Rage 4, my lack of experience with the genre did show. I had a bit of difficulty with some of the combos and a few other things. However, the game is extremely approachable for people like me. I may not be as good or get quite as much out of it as more long-term fans, but I still had a damn fun time.
Gameplay is quick, which I liked. Only Splinter was a little slow, but that makes sense given the character (I assume). You can play as each of the four Turtles, Splinter, April, and unlock Casey Jones. Each one has their own fighting style, and it helps to kind of keep the flow going and point out personality differences in a way that doesn’t really happen with the plot. I loved playing April, found Splinter to be badass, if a little hard to dodge as, and am slowly working my way through with the other characters.
You have a story mode, which has 16 chapters. They are all relatively short. On the easiest difficulty, I think 10 minutes was the longest I put into any of them. You also level the characters as you play through story mode unlocking new combos, more health, and more special attack build-up. I really liked this as I felt it gave me some progress that I enjoy from genres I play more often that aren’t normally in beat ’em ups.
The game also looks great. It has a perfect animation style that somehow looks new while still feeling old school to take you back to the 80s when the series came out. The color palette is solid and seems to fit in with screenshots of the animated series that I have seen. There are also really fun pops of animation throughout, such as if you get hit by a car or the way certain things are in the background. These fun little touches keep the game looking interesting throughout.
The soundtrack I was a little iffier about. It’s not bad, but it has a bit of a cheesy 80s vibe that I couldn’t get with. I remember loving the synth music from Streets of Rage 4. TMNT has more of a hip-hop vibe, but hip-hop for kids. My best guess is that it fits with the series perfectly, so my issues with it will not be as pronounced in actual long-time fans. I also want to clarify I am not saying it is bad, just not for me, really. I didn’t hate it, but I am not excited about it either.
The story is… not much. It’s not a priority in most beat ’em ups and feels pretty lacking here. That’s not bad, you get some great art between chapters, and there is enough there that something is driving you forward. Just don’t expect a grand story. It does make it easier, however, to keep playing through with each character if you want to try to max out their level to have the ease of bouncing around chapter to chapter and not feel like you have to watch things unfold each time. There are also characters to rescue and things to find for them, as well as challenges in each chapter. There will be a grind if you want to do everything, but there are some extras throughout to keep it from being too repetitive. Also, the shortness of the chapters helps balance the repetitive nature of it.
I will just be fully honest, I am missing something with this game. Fans of the series and TMNT in general will for sure get more out of this experience than those like me with little to no nostalgia for it. But again, I had enough fun with it that I do want to watch some of the series – if not all overtime – just to see what I missed out on.
So bottom line. It is on Game Pass, so if you have that, I would recommend it to a lot of people. For a genre that I am still lacking experience with, I found the game to be fun, easily manageable even with my low experience level, and just a lot of fun. If you don’t have Game Pass, the price is good, so if you like side-scrolling beat ’em ups and/or TMNT, I would still recommend it. Looks great, sounds okay (possibly great for fans), and is solid gameplay. I am really glad I decided to check it out!