We finally got to try the full version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge in a big two-dimensional brawl with our four favourite turtles.
We knew that the turtles were about to return to us in videogame form. After all, we talked about them only about a month ago in this preview dedicated to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. The release was scheduled for summer 2022, but what was announced during last week’s Summer Game Fest surprised us, as the game will be available June 16 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
If we want to be picky, the game comes even earlier than expected since summer officially begins on June 21st, but those who are melting for the heat like myself agree in saying that summer itself this’ year has come too early.
So what better way to inaugurate it than with a nostalgic return to the past and the four turtles born to defend the Earth?
To bring us this new scrolling fighting game is Tribute Games. This Canadian team is committed to developing the game in collaboration with Dotemu, who will take care of the publication instead. Two teams have voted their careers to bring back many classic titles of the past, but with intelligence.
Titles like Street of Rage 4 (which you can find on Amazon), Mercenary Kings or Windjammers 2 have a graphic style and lots of content dedicated to old fans. Still, the gameplay is renewed and made in step with the times to entertain and attract even the public with no historical memory of these past masterpieces.
After intense days of fighting around New York with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raffaello, we are here to tell you if the team has hit the mark this time.
The Return of Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
After an introduction that looks like something out of the cartoon that kept everyone born in the 80s and beyond glued to the television, we find ourselves in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge mode selection menu.
The title features two main modes: Story and Arcade. The Story mode is a slightly more elaborate version of the arcade since the levels to be tackled will be the same. We don’t want to reveal the number of whole levels so as not to spoil some surprises, especially at the end, but they far exceed ten and completing the game for the first time will take about four hours, maybe three if you go straight without ever stopping.
It is a duration that is superior to many modern scrolling fighting games, including Street of Rage 4. On the other hand, beat-them-ups have always been a genre for arcades, where a title cannot exceed two. Hours to be finished and the short duration has always been a characteristic of this genre.
Fortunately, the replayability is much higher than other types of games, especially in company.
The Story Mode differs from the simple Arcade in a more elaborate version of the progression. We will have a stylised map of New York in which to move and where to select the levels that will be unlocked as we complete the previous ones.
In addition, each level will have collectables to find and challenges to overcome to get extra points. For heaven’s sake, nothing too elaborate; we found all the collectables in our game simply by breaking every interactive part of the levels, while the challenges vary from some very simple ones in which you need to defeat a certain number of enemies with a particular move, up to the more complex ones so you must never take damage for the entire level.
In the end, the collectables represent a cute Easter egg, bringing some iconic characters from the late 80s cartoon onto the scene, including the team of mutant frogs from Florida (do you remember them?).
In the story, however, we will also have a progression of the characters. By defeating enemies and finding some collectable sets for the secondary protagonists, we will get points that will increase the character level we are playing with.
There are ten power-ups per character, which will increase their overall health or the number of lives to start a li with fleece, but above all, they will allow you to get up to three levels of the super move bar and new variations of the latter.
With three bars available, it will be possible to use the Radical Mode, a special state allowing characters to move faster and inflict more damage for a short period. However, this enhancement is absent from Arcade mode, in which, at most, you will be able to have a bar of special moves available instead of three.
The Arcade wants to give the player the classic arcade experience: in this regard, there will be no character progression and the points earned here will only serve to obtain always use extra lives.
The levels will follow one after the other without interruption except for the static images that tell the story at the end of each level, among other things, the same as those of the Story mode. Furthermore, the Arcade experience must be over in one go, given that you will have to start over if you quit the game before the end or end your lives. And – as with any self-respecting Arcade – there will also be a world leaderboard on which to record the best results.
As per tradition for the genre, the story is reduced to a minimum. We will follow the group of four Ninja Turtles in pursuit of Shredder and Krang, who threaten to bring chaos to New York, while the masked villain is eager to take revenge on his bitter enemies.
The whole game is, however, a love letter not only to the old beat them ups of the past but to the animated series of the 80s itself, as it features many characters from the latter, including some of which we had honestly removed the memory. The whole is studded with the humour typical of the series, which got us several laughs.
In short, die-hard fans of the Ninja Turtles will find countless references and easter eggs dedicated to the series of their childhood, including the dubbing entrusted to the voice actors of the original American series.
Moving on to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge gameplay, this remains simple and intuitive, but not without some technicalities. We will have only one button for normal attacks and one for special ones, which can only be performed with a loaded bar.
Then there will be several variations, such as charged attacks, sliding, jumping, etc. One of the most interesting additions is the dodge button, which will offer some invincibility frames and, if followed by the attack button, will also allow you to use a tracking shot useful for shortening distances and continuing combos.
The system does not present, at the level of technicalities, the depth seen in Street of Rage 4 (if interested, you can buy it on Amazon, including DLC), but these are not lacking; above all, its greatest value is due to the fluidity of the attacks and the naturalness with which they can be chained, managing to create even quite elaborate combos.
From this point of view, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge system is very well done and can give a lot of satisfaction.
Even if the commands are the same for all the characters, each has its strengths and weaknesses, mainly due to the three statistics outlined in the selection screen: Power, Speed and Range.
The difference is felt, in fact, between a Michelangelo, more based on speed, a Raphael, who has a greater power from him, or a Leonardo, who has a much greater range of blows.
Another big difference is given by the three special moves, which vary from character to character, sometimes slightly and sometimes noticeably. There are seven characters in total, but the last one, Casy Jones, will be unlocked by finishing Story mode first.
As for the levels, these are made in the style of classic scrolling fighting games. In each one, we will have to face hordes of enemies, sometimes avoiding obstacles and using the environment and the objects found – up to the usual boss present at the end of each level.
The objects we can collect are the pizzas, which will help us recover our life and give us temporary power-ups. In reality, these are only two: a continuous spin attack that will tear apart all enemies in the area and an infinite super move bar for a few seconds.
There are also some levels inspired by those of the beat them ups dedicated to turtles in the past, in which, onboard a hoverboard, we will have to avoid obstacles while we continue to fight enemies. These levels (a few in total) do not completely break the rhythm since they do not differ too much from the style of the others. The only difference is represented by the automatic advancement in the stage and the movement on the hoverboard, but in the end, the setting will be the same as that of the levels classics.
We might have liked extra mini-games or more radical changes in these certain levels.
As for the enemies, there is a really good variety, and this is not limited to just the different colour variations of the Foot Clan soldiers. Going forward, you will find different opponents, with some requiring slightly more tactics. Elaborate on the simple “hitting until it explodes”.
Boss battles are very varied, but they have their ups and downs. First, they are generally too simple, although this depends on the selected difficulty level. There are three total, and if you are an expert in the genre and want a challenge worthy of the name, we advise you to start with the highest one. Some bosses also have rather simple and easily readable attack patterns, while others are a bit more elaborate and satisfying to deal with.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in multiplayer
The feature that further elevates the quality of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is the multiplayer mode. This is handled very well and allows players to team up and tackle the Story Mode and the Arcade together.
You can create any-time groups with your friends or public groups open to all, to which at any time, even at an initiated level, you can join other players. In this way, the game encourages and facilitates the possibility of having fun in a group online, even if there is a local cooperative.
The title allows six players to play together at the same time. Unfortunately, given the absence of players these days preceding the title’s official release, we have never had the opportunity to reach this figure, stopping at an honest group of four.
The multiplayer experience is extremely chaotic and fun. The more players increase, the more chaos will take over, but not that confusing chaos worsens the quality of the experience. On the contrary, it is the chaos that makes everything more fun and where the action is even more furious and varied.
Depending on the players present, the game automatically adjusts both the number of enemies on screen and the life bar of the bosses to never make things too easy.
Some mechanics inserted specifically for multiplayer are very intelligent, such as some combined attacks that are activated automatically depending on the positioning of your character and that of your companion, or the possibility of donating two points of your life bar to a partner in difficulty; in this way, for example, it will be possible to divide the life obtained from a collected pizza.
If someone is knocked out, the teammates will have ten seconds to save the victim and make him return to battle with some health, avoiding the loss of one of the precious lives.
Surely Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a title that gives its best when played in multiplayer, and in this case, the more you play, the better.
As for the purely artistic and aesthetic side, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a real feast for the eyes.
The pixel art graphics are not only a tribute to the old Ninja Turtles beat them up, but, thanks to detailed character models, fluid and precise animations and a vibrant colour palette, it perfectly blends the past and the present titles dedicated to the four turtles.
Praise also goes to the excellent soundtrack, which features classic pieces and re-arranged versions of the theme songs of the cartoon and of the music of the past, combined with some modern pieces between rap and rock – including a song sung by some members of the Wu-Tang Clan, who dedicated the text to our protagonists with shells.
Version reviewed: PS4