Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, a brand new TMNT beat-’em-up experience inspired by the classic Turtle titles (like TMNT: Turtles in Time and TMNT: The Manhattan Project) was first announced in March of 2021. The game was supposed to launch some time last year, but was finally released yesterday, June 16, 2022. It was only a week ago that we received a confirmed release date during Summer Game Fest, along with the reveal of Casey Jones.
Over the past few months, I’ve been training for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge with my girlfriend. We’ve gone through a good amount of the most hyped beat-’em-ups released (and re-released) in recent years. As a kid, I remember spending countless hours playing beat-’em-ups, but what made those hours extra special was playing with friends (in the same room). Anyone can play a modern or old school beat-’em-up alone, but it’s so much better with at least one partner. This is why I enlisted my girlfriend.
We sort of went through a “History of beat-’em-ups” lesson, all building up to this week’s release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. Our history lesson included Streets of Rage 4, River City Girls, Mother Russia Bleeds, Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game and a few others. I’m not going too deep into each game right now, because I’m planning a deep dive into beat-’em-ups later on.
After playing TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge for a couple of nights this past week, I believe that the teams at Dotemu and Tribute Games have perfectly captured that old school feeling, while giving us some fresh new gameplay. The visuals even look like those classic games, but more vibrant and colorful. There are so many games that we remember as amazing experiences growing up. However, if you were to return to some of them today they would be nothing like what they are in your head.
There have been many times where I think I just want to go back and play some classic game, but what I’m craving instead is an updated, facelift of that classic gameplay. In recent years, a game like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the perfect example of tricking my brain into thinking I’m playing the same exact game I used to play, when it’s actually a reimagining of that classic gameplay for today’s platforms.
When I first booted up TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge I got to see a reimagining of the classic 1987 TMNT opening title. The animation style is even a bit grainy — like watching on an old tube television. I grew up on the classic TMNT cartoons, so watching this alone got me super excited to get into the action. I’m now also craving some old school episodes of TMNT.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge features two main game modes: Story and Arcade. Both modes consist of the same levels. Story mode features a map of the world with side quests, collectibles and saved progression. Arcade mode is basically like playing on an arcade cabinet. It’s more of a challenge since you have limited lives and once you’re out it’s game over, start over.
Both modes can be played with up to six players online (or four players, locally). In order to play online you need to find friends playing on the same platform — or strangers (Xbox and PC currently have cross play enabled). Dotemu is looking into adding cross play in the future for all platforms. The game is playable solo, and the intensity even scales down depending on the total number of players. I definitely recommend playing with others, but the game is still enjoyable on your own.
Last night, I finally figured out how to play TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge with strangers online, and for one level I even played with the full roster of six players. That was absolute chaos, but also so much fun. You’d think it would get confusing when there are four characters that look exactly alike (minus their colored bandana and weapon) on screen, but the game’s UI (User Interface) does a great job of keeping track of your character with a [P#] tracker above your character.
The difficulty options are great for all kinds of players, from the casual to the intense. You can play on Chill (for those who just want to experience the story), Okay (for more of a challenge), or Gnarly mode (for a punishing experience). Levels even feature different challenges and side quests to give players a reason to replay them for added bonuses and rewards. Most levels take an average of six to seven minutes to complete.
I would have liked to see the team try to add some extra modes, and maybe they will later on (although no DLC is planned at the moment). Since this is a lower cost title ($25), it’s understandable that they just have the two main game modes. The gameplay is extremely replayable. I have already played through the first few levels many times, and plan to continue replaying them with new friends.
I began my journey as Raphael and when he finally spoke I thought, “I know that voice.” It was Rob Paulsen, the original voice of Raph from the original 1987 cartoon. This led me to do some research and figure out that the original cast of Turtles (Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman and Barry Gordon) and even Master Splinter (Peter Renaday) had all returned for the game. The game also features some new heavy hitters, like Kevin Michael Richardson as Shredder and Veronica Taylor as April.
Something that never gets old is grabbing and throwing a member of the foot clan directly at the screen. You can also body slam them, but throwing was my favorite thing back then and still is today. This was even a useful tactic during a specific boss fight.
I came across many members of the foot clan. There are also all of the classic bosses and mini bosses you would expect to see (Rocksteady and Bebop, the Rat King, Krang and so many more). What really surprised me was seeing certain strange bad guys (like dino robots) that I remembered from the older games and even old cartoon episodes.
When it comes to the character’s move sets, the button layout is the same across the board. It’s the moves and combos that look and hit a bit differently. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses (speed, power and range). The tutorial on “how to play” is a simple, scroll through menu featuring twenty skills to learn — but the more I played the more I learned.
So far, I have experienced a few unconventional levels, where it’s still a side-scrolling beat-’em-up but with some new mechanic introduced to make the experience feel a bit different. One of my favorites were the skateboarding levels, like Episode 3 – Mutants over Broadway.
I love these Turtles! They were always my favorite thing growing up. I had the toys, I watched the cartoons, I played any game that came out, I have watched every movie, and I still give every new reboot a chance — I even started watching Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles recently. It’s different from what I’m used to, but I’m a fan of the new voice actors (Ben Schwartz, Omar Benson Miller, Brandon Mychal Smith, and Josh Brener) and the art direction.
This past week, I started playing the story mode of TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge with my girlfriend, to be able to review the game in co-op gameplay. We made our way through a large chunk of the story. On the nights we played, she even ended up staying awake way past her normal bedtime, which tells me that this game is addicting and fun for everyone.
I later played with my two nephews (ages 6 and 10) to see how it feels with three players in arcade mode. We played through the first couple of levels and they also loved this game.
Quotes from my two nephews:
“Wow, this is my favorite game ever!”-Javi (6)
*he says this about most games I play with him, but this time I felt he truly meant it.
“Why is there a dog? I thought this was a turtle game?”Victor (10)
*talking about Master Splinter.
I’m excited to get a group of friend’s together to play TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge online, and in-person in the future. Although I received a PlayStation review code, I can totally see myself purchasing the Nintendo Switch version for two reasons: (1) the Switch is much easier to transport to a friend’s house for a TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge co-op game night, and (2) I would think most of my friends would purchase this game on the Nintendo Switch. Another reason is having this game in handheld mode, but that’s a reason to get most games on the Switch.
I totally see myself beating these levels over and over again. And, thanks to figuring out how to play online with anyone, I can jump in with a group whenever I want. If you are a fan of classic beat-’em-ups or are searching for a great couch co-op experience for gamers of all ages, then you most definitely need to add Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge to your collection.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Also, on next-gen consoles (PS5, Xbox Series S|X) via backwards compatibility (aka PS4 and Xbox One versions).
*myVGBC.com was provided a review code for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge by the publisher for PlayStation 4.