Cowabunga! theTurtles are back. TNMT:Shredders Revenge Review

"Turtles in a half shell, TURTLE POWER!" Are you a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? If so, then you might be excited to le...

"Turtles in a half shell, TURTLE POWER!"

Are you a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? If so, then you might be excited to learn that Shredder's Revenge is coming out this week. The game will be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird and published as a black and white comic book published by Mirage Studios in a first run of 3,275 issues. Only 3 years later the first animated series hit the Saturday morning TV to kids across the globe, with some European countries changing the word Ninja to Hero because of the violence implications with the word Ninja (Listen, it was the 80's some of us were still recovering from the Satanic Panic.. okay?).

The series follows Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, four sewer dwelling, turtle brothers who were mutated by a weird alien goo and trained in the art of Ninjutsu under care of wise Master Splinter, an equally andromorphic mutated rat. Together they spend their time training, squabbling eating pizza and fighting crime in New York City. Joined by their friends April O'Neil, Casey Jones and others they face the foot clan and many other colorful enemies such as Baxter Stockman, Krang, and of course their archenemy, the Shredder. And just like that the franchise ballooned, creating a billion dollar toy line, multiple movies, cartoon series, and of course videogames.

There have been over 30 TNMT games or franchise appearances throughout the years ranging the 8-bit era to modern versions with 3D polygons. Some the most popular games in the series are the first Teenage Mutant Teenage Turtles (Arcade- 1989) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (1991). What made those games so special was how much they resembled the animated series of the time and that they were the perfect buddy co-op game where you could have up to 4 people play a turtle and relive the adventures in the Arcade or your living room side scrolling brawler style. This week a new game hopes to bring back the experience of those classic games and the franchise as a whole. That game is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge.

Shredders Revenge is published by Dotemu, known for bringing older franchises back to life in recent year with games such as such as Wonderboy:the dragons trap and Streets of Rage 4. This time they worked together with developer Tribute Games and Nickelodeon to work on honoring the for mentioned classic games. Reuniting Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael and their friends in a brand-new side scrolling beat-em-up invoking the Turtles’ legendary 1987 design while simultaneously adding updated gameplay elements to bring the franchise in line with gaming features we have grown accustomed too. 

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) is back with a new co-op game for 1-6 players"

With Bebop and Rocksteady assaulting Channel 6 and stealing super gnarly devices to support Krang and Shredder’s latest twisted plan, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge sees the Turtles battling across a righteous range of timeless TMNT locations. From Manhattan and Coney Island, to city rooftops and dank sewers, help the fearsome foursome trounce Foot Soldiers, Triceraton Warriors, and Rock Troops all the way to Dimension X!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) is back with a new co-op game for 1-6 players. Play locally or online with your friends and family in this brand new story you play as one of the four ninja turtles, or one of their friends such as splinter and April O'Neil. Along the way you will encounter many different enemies such as Foot Clan Ninjas or Krang Droids and many more delicious bad guys many of whom are throwbacks to the many games and shows gone before. These axis of evil will do everything in their power just to stop you from completing your mission! You will travel on foot, hoverboard and more on your way to stop Shredder and foil his master plan.

The game in a Turtle shell. 

So what is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game without a little beat-em-up? What makes them so special? It is all about the ninjutsu moves and playing with friends. If you have ever played any of the popular TNMT games, then this game will feel familiar. The game comes with a classic story mode and an arcade mode. The story mode will allow you to take your time through the story with plenty of continues and opportunities. The Arcade mode will provide more of a challenge with limited lived, limited continues and no saved progression. For you retro gamers, this is your classic arcade experience ( minus the quarters).

When you start you get presented with the move list right up front which you can revisit anytime to refresh and learn. Some moves will not be available until later but you can already peak at them right from the start to see what is coming. Don't worry you do not have to go through all the moves now, you can just skip ahead if you want to discover the game and always go back later when you are ready. The game will not tell you about these moves while playing so have fun learning and exploring.

Next it is time to select your character and create your party. You can play solo or with up to 5 friends, you start the game. Yes you read that right you can have a 6 player party. More on that later. The story plays out over 16 episodes (levels). Each character has a slight different move set but  the button combo's do not change. There is a balance between range, speed and power. Some might be faster or have a further range while other characters have more power.  Throughout the game you will also level up which will give you more hit points etc.

“We're lean, we're green, and we're mean!”

After a small intro to the episode (level) you jump right into the action. Controls are straight forward, you have your jump button, attack, super attack and dodge. Different combinations of those buttons combined with the directional pad (or stick) and context within the scene will allow you to pull various combo moves and attacks. The game is very responsive, and it is a ton of fun to try out new things or just button mash as fast as you can. As is tradition you can also use hazards in the game to take out enemies, such as hitting a fire hydrant to blast a pesky Footclan off the road. 

You will come across a large variety if enemies as you make it through the different episodes as well as advanced versions. Each of them has different tactics to take you on. Some might try to rush right in when others try to trap you allowing their buddies taking potshots at you. It is therefore important to stay on your toes and try to avoid their attacks. Lucky their moves are telegraphed well with on screen graphics and sound, but as it get's busy it also gets harder to respond in time. 

A big and very welcome change/addition to the game is the way that the super power move works in the game. As you defeat opponents you fill a separate meter with energy, when full you can pull of a super move by pressing the button for it combined with a move. For instance, I can jump and push it and it triggers a jump attack or I can stand still to swing with a wild area attack. as you progress your bar can be filled multiple times, up to 3 times. Once you unlocked the skill you can then execute a radical mode which will temporarily boosts your damage output dramatically. If you find yourself having trouble boosting your power you can take a gamble and execute a taunt which will speed this up, however when you do so you expose yourself for hits and therefore it is a risk vs reward game if you like to take advantage of it.  What I like about this is that it makes the super power move useful without making it too overpowered. 

The power of friendship

As fun as the game is in single player, it truly shines as a coop game. The game supports up to 6 players, both local and online. You can play with friends, family, strangers and the entire population of the planet Earth. Anyone who wants to play will be able to find someone else who wants to play with them, because everyone loves playing Turtle games!

The co-operative mode gives you a chance to work together as a team of mutants in order to defeat Shredder and his goons once again. This time they're trying their bestest hardest not just kick your butt but also destroy everything you hold dear so that when they're done kicking your butt (again) there won't be anything left worth kicking over! The Turtles are back! Now what are YOU going do about it?!

Not only can you drop in/out locally you can also play online or have a combined party with friends on your sofa and those across town. A quick button press allows you take create the party and either invite people from your friends list or allow random players in. as your party grows, so do the forces of Shredder in order to keep the difficulty level consistent.  Currently there is no cross platform play beyond the Gamepass xbox and PC versions. The dev team has expressed interest to go cross platform and it would be nice to see friends from all over the different platforms being able to play together. For now, just make sure you are all on the same system.

Playing together brings another dimension to the game with combo moves you can execute together such as when you flank an enemy or as a reaction to someone else's attack. Additionally, you can execute a quick high five and share some of your health with your buddy which is useful in a pinch. If you do not get to them fast enough and they go down you then have a moment to bring them back onto their feet, with pizza of course, but just as with the taunt it will leave you vulnerable for a brief moment and open for attack, so be careful. If you do not revive someone within 10 seconds, they will lose a life and respawn.

Each level has a number of secrets and challenges build in. I will leave the secrets for you to discover but I will say you want to be sure to try to interact with as much as possible. And by that, I mean break stuff.  The challenges might occur naturally as you play through the level, and you might see them complete as you play the game or fail. For instance, an early challenge is to finish the level without getting hit. Not easy the first time around but you can revisit the level later to try, try and try again. Not every challenge is equal in difficulty, but they add a nice replay value to the game. Combined with tons of achievements to unlock and you will have tons of reasons to keep playing.

As you progress through the story the chapters will unlock on an overworld map that is a lot like the map in Super Mario. You can use this map to go back to previous levels and you might unlock more secrets and bonuses as you unlock more areas. The overworld map will also show you if you are missing any challenges or collectibles for a level, making it easy to track what still is out there.

This time you get to explore a map

"-Tonight, I dine on turtle soup-"

Building a new videogame that leans heavily on the nostalgia of its predecessors, especially retro games is always a gamble. Not only do you have to make sure you nail the gameplay without feeling outdated or too different, but you also have to convey the feeling of the game and not be an exact imitation. As I mentioned before, it seems Dotemu has really found their knack for delivering a retro game in a new presentation that has the same feel but without being a carbon copy of its inspiration.  And with TNMT:Shredders revenge they pulled it off again. From the opening movie that feels ripped straight from the animated series to the in-game graphics which emulate that classic late eighties, early nineties art style while at the same time giving it an updated look. If you were to show me screenshots and tell me, it was a direct sequel I would be inclined to believe you.

Throughout the game there are tons of references and easter eggs that made me go "Oh I remember that" a lot and it made my already big grin even bigger. The care that was taken in each part of the game demonstrate a great love for and understanding what made the originals so popular. There is almost no stone left unturned to make sure the game feels authentic. The roadkill Rodneys, being a pain, falling down the manhole and even tossing a Foot ninja into the screen is all there and more. The selection of characters you start with including splinter and April, and the unlockable additions are great and having Nickelodeon on board and with that the voice actors of current as well as old shows just makes the game feel even more complete.

And as we are mentioning voice acting and sound, the sound effects are crips clear and full throughout the game with hard hitting punches, radical lines from the heroes and the villains that just like graphics they feel part of the world before you, while offering a new upgrade and expanding on the theme. And as icing on the cake the game comes with a fantastic soundtrack that ranges from 80's rock songs to power synths, rap and a bunch of turtle theme remixes including  a brand new track from Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, composed by Tee Lopes. This is a soundtrack I plan to add to my playlist for some time to come. In fact that limited run games vinyl set looks mighty interesting now.

“Woah… pretty heavy philosophical stuff for a cartoon show!”

The game is pretty big and full of content but in line with the style of game, an arcade style brawler, clocks in very low. The total duration for a first playthrough of the story is between  2 - 4 hours to completion of all Episodes depending on how much you try to unlock right away. Before you let that scare you away you have to realize that even at the low end this is double the time of Turtles in Time or and other games of the era and we played those for days. In addition to the base game you can then challenge yourself with the Arade mode, try to upgrade and unlock all characters and secrets and unlock all the achievements. The total package offers some bodacious replayability  with these challenges and the Arcade Mode leaderboard. Dollar for dollar you get great value and it there is a ton of entertainment for just under $25. And if you are subscribed to Microsoft Gamepass it will not cost  you a penny extra as it will be included in the service day one. At these prices you might even double dip and take a copy on the go on your switch.

"It is time to get excited"

Ever since the announcement for TNMT:Shredder Revenge the hype for the game has been growing. But many fans of the franchise and the classic games, could not help but wonder if anyone could recapture the magic in a time where gaming seems to often fall between either artsy indie games or commercial AAA behemoths that are build around making as much money of the consumer and gameplay as an after thought. Especially in the area of 80's nostalgia we can be easily seen as a bit of a cash cow. The more was showed of the game, confidence grew this could turn out to be something special and that the developers at Tribute Games understood the DNA of the older TNMT games. And I can say, without a doubt, is that they pulled  off  a worthy successor ready to take over the torch of Turtles In Time for years to come. 

This is a must have summer game to play with your friends, family or strangers across the globe as connecting with friends is a breeze. The keyword I kept coming back to is FUN. If you're a fan of the turtles, you grew up watching the tv series on Saturday morning,  if you've seen any of their movies, or if you just want to play a good game with your family or friends at home then it is time to get excited.
The gameplay is simple but engaging enough that it can keep players coming back for hours. There are plenty of levels and extra content available so even though some may feel like they are repeating themselves there's no reason why anyone would get bored as there's still plenty left to do!

Time to get some pizza, kick back on the sofa, relax and play together!

Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge
Publisher: DOTEMU
DeveloperTribute Games Inc.
Release Date: June 16th, 2022
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, XBOX
Review Platform: PlayStation
ESRB: E 10+  for Fantasy Violence 
24.99 EUR/USD

About the writer: DadGeek (Rob) is the co-founder of GeeksVsGeeks. He is a product of the eighties and never let go of his geek interest and hobbies no matter how often someone told him to stop. His love for gaming and all things geeks has been part of his parenting style and permeates throughout the whole family. A family of Geeks vs Geeks 


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