|Platforms||Playstation 4 (reviewed), 5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch, PC|
|Release Date||June 16, 2022|
Cowabunga dudes and dudettes, it’s a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game! Created by Dotemu and Tribute Games, Shredder’s Revenge is a beat-em-up in the same style as the older 2D arcade games and SNES games. After hype built from its announcement over a year ago, we can finally see if this new installment will be gnarly, or bogus.
Violence: The only thing that the ESRB tags this game for is cartoon violence, which persists through the whole game.
When Dotemu approached Nickelodeon on making a Ninja Turtle-based beat-em-up, they discovered another company, Tribute Games, had approached the network for something similar. Rather than compete, the two companies came together to bring about a new game with an old feel.
They took the feel of the ‘87 cartoon series because they believed that most people knew that time of the Turtles best. They also drew inspiration from the arcade games, with multiplayer as the center of their intent. Dotemu’s work on Streets of Rage 4 helped them, but they quickly realized both games would be different.
Shredders Revenge is fast paced and easily accessible. Getting into the game is snappy; the only hard part is choosing who to play as. The arcade mode provides a classic feel of fighting through levels until the lives are gone. The story has a colorful hub world, and each level can be accessed there. Every location, from Manhattan to the X Dimension, has a different look and feel. Even the New York levels were so vast—from the top of skyscrapers, to a mall, the news building, to the underground— thatno level looked the same. There are more than foot clan ninjas to watch out for: obstacles, traps, and hazards keep the ninja reflexes heightened.
But truly astounding was the multiplayer. I loved jumping right into my game or finding other players to join. No matter what level I was in the middle of, someone could join if I was so pleased, and vice versa. The option makes for an instant good time. One time, me and this other guy lost our last life, when at that same time another player joined in. He took what was left of the boss and we all cleared the stage. Turtle Power! Up to seven characters are available for play, including Splinter, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones. Each of them have distinct power, speed, and reach stats, as well as unique animations. The way the brothers stand, attack, and react are completely different from one another, letting their individuality shine in ways beyond just their headbands.
The gameplay is sweet, crisp, easy to learn, and hard to master. It blends what players remember from Turtles in Time and adds some modern flair, such as a double jump, aerial attacks, a special attack, and a dodge maneuver. Players can still dash, toss enemies, or throw obstacles on the stage at enemies, so it feels like this game is picking up right after Turtles IV.
Also returning, besides Shredder, are the cast of villains. You’ve got the well known Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang, but they went and tossed in more: Rat King, Leatherhead, Tempestra, Metalhead, Baxter Stockman, and even Triceratons. The cast is truly impressive.
Further on the list of impressive elements is the soundtrack, handled by the talented Tee Lopes. Stylized synth, drum beats and power shreds capture the era it was born from. Additionally, two artists from Wu Tang Clan, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, made an original song for Shredder’s theme.
To add more toppings on this delicious gaming pizza, the graphics are delivered alongside stellar performance. The many animations all seven heroes bring are accompanied by busy backdrops and a heavily active—but not frame-destroying—foreground. I’ve been in the six-player mode and never once did frames drop. It’s a solid experience all around.
The story mode comes with some collectibles to find. From Vernon’s tapes to Irma’s secret diaries, they give the levels something extra in between the fighting and trap avoidance.
If that wasn’t enough, each level contains optional challenges of varying difficulty. One level will task you with avoiding death by falling, or will to hit five enemies with explosives, or they will ask the dreaded ‘don’t get hurt once’ challenge (shudder).
I’m not even sure I have complaints for this review. Well, maybe. It didn’t revolutionize the beat-em-up genre. There’s no groundbreaking work accomplished, but I don’t feel like the developers set out to do that. It is, however, exactly what I wanted: a Ninja Turtles game. I guess I’ll leave a, “I wish there was more” remark and leave it at that. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge should be on everyone’s gaming console. And at $29.99, I can see that happening.
The Bottom Line
It's everything to love about the ninja turtles, and beat-em-up games.