Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge
Genre: Action, Fighting, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows & macOS), PS4 and Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Tribute| DotEmu
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US E 10+
Price: US $24.99 | UK £22.49 | EU € 24,99
Release Date: June 16th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to Indigo Pearl.
Saturday Morning Cartoon
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge is a side-scrolling brawler based on the hugely popular eighties TV show. Yes, I too was one of those kids that was utterly mad about this show, a love which would extend to the video games. My first experience was Turtles on the Amstrad. This title bases itself more on the arcade games and console brawlers which were hugely successful back in the day. Being a fan of the series will certainly help with your love for this game. But even if you just want to play a darn good brawler with some friends there is a lot of incentive to pick up Shredders Revenge.
The turtles are once again called to action when the evil Shredder’s famous minions Rocksteady and Bebop attack Channel 6 news in order to steal a device to aid yet another sinister plan. What this really translates to is traversing across 16 levels beating up foot soldiers, robots and many other bad guys before taking on a boss at the end. The plot is simple and to the point, just like the cartoon it’s based on. To be fair fans probably would not have it any other way. But what will spark interest is the huge amounts of nods to the classic TV series as well as prior video games.
As I explored each level I often saw a familiar face, level design or feature I remembered from the show or game that I couldn’t help but crack a few smiles. The graphics are presented in incredibly detailed 3D sprites with a retro feel, whilst also feeling appropriately modernized. On top of that, you have a fantastic arcade soundtrack, the game even features the memorable and addictive TV intro which is now stuck in my head for the foreseeable future. The developers clearly have a lot of love for this series. But the game is not all about tickling those nostalgia funny bones, the gameplay is also fantastic.
Pick up and Brawl
You are able to pick between six characters; the four famous turtles as well as April and Master Splinter. Each character has some specific stats with range, speed and power, giving each of them a specific feel and incentive to replay as them on additional runs. A seventh character can also be unlocked upon finishing the game.
Controls for the game are tight and precise with a decent move set for you to mess around with. You have your basic attack and a special which can be charged up over time. Enemies can be grabbed and even thrown towards the screen by the choice of the player. There are also additional moves with specific button inputs and a nice assortment of dodge and recovery moves to use. The game has a very pick-up and play arcade feel to it.
Most enemies can be dispatched in just a few hits but they will come pretty thick and fast constantly keeping you on your toes. Most levels will be the familiar moving to the right taking out any enemies that get in your way. Now and then you’ll get to ride on little hoverboards, a nod to older games but also a nice way to mix things up. Levels conclude with a large boss fight which will test your skills in patience, waiting for the right moment to strike. Button mashing may work for the most part in this title but using the right moves and sometimes looking for the right moment to dodge or strike leads to an even more deep brawling experience than you may expect.
When you begin the game you are kinda bombarded with the extensive move set before jumping into the action. If you have a crap memory like I do you forget some of the important points here but fortunately you can pull up the controls in the options. Or you can just play about with the buttons and figure things out which is what I mostly settled with.
Locally and Online
While definitely fun alone, the game is absolutely more alive if you can play with friends. You can play with up to 4 players locally and, unusually, 6 players online if you fancy. Locally the game runs smoothly docked or handheld. I was fortunate to playthrough the entire game online with a friend in the US. For the most part, the game ran fine but there were a few niggles.
Sometimes I would encounter the odd graphical glitch like an enemy that just would not disappear after being defeated. The game also hard crashed on me while playing. But luckily my friend was still in the game so I was able to re-join exactly where we left off. Any progress made online is also transferred to both players which is very welcome.
For the main story mode, you are looking at around a three-hour experience. There are three difficulty modes allowing you to tailor the game to a harder or more chilled experience. On the standard-setting, I felt the challenge was pretty fair. Progress is saved between levels if you need to step away and there are a few in-level challenges and items to collect to add a little bit of extra content. You also have the arcade mode which adds some additional challenge to the overall experience, best enjoyed after a run through the story mode.
One might see the package as a little light on content but keep in mind this campaign is longer than the original console brawlers. The main incentive to replay was to try with different characters and honestly the gameplay was so fun I was happy to play through the game again. Which is kinda the right way to design a brawler. My only minor niggle is the game for me wasn’t quite as good as Streets of Rage 4 which this title takes a few cues from, although this is just a personal preference and does not put down the quality on display here.
Conclusion – Turtle Power
The return of the brawler genre to me doesn’t feel like anything new since the resurgence with titles like Castle Crashers back in 2008. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge manages to make itself stand out from the crowd, not just on nostalgia but by taking a look back at previous entities in the series and improving on the formula in practically every way. Sure, being a fan of the series will likely play a part in your incentive to purchase.
Even as a brawler game the developer has really gone above and beyond with this title. If brawlers are not your thing or you have a deep-seated phobia of turtles this game probably won’t be for you. But if you need something to raise the spirits alone, with friends locally or online, you really can’t go wrong with Shredders Revenge. If you are anything like me you’ll be humming that famous theme song for weeks after playing this.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot