Although 2022 has had a small number of big game releases, we’ve hit a period that’s starting to look a little bare. Although it won’t be considered a AAA release, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge quickly became one of my highest anticipated titles, though that may be down to the pure nostalgia factor alone.
Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, few things could bring joy like the Turtles. Their cartoons, movies, toys and games were all massive hits as turtle power swept the world. Although their power may now have dropped, there no denying the fact that they still have a certain draw with a rabid fanbase and it’s amazing to have the green brothers back in a playable game for consoles and PC… Hit the bloody music then!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was released for Windows, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One (also day one on Gamepass) on June 16, 2022. It’s a side-scrolling beat-em-up and could easily pass as a modern sequel to several games released by Konami during the 80s and 90s.
Developed by Tribute Games and published by Dotemu (the same developer behind 2020s Streets of Rage 4). It takes everything that made the earlier games good and adds a modern splash of controls and even a fair bit of depth to the gameplay. As much as I’ve loved my time with the game so far, it’s not without issues, on PC at least.
Highlights include the visual style, soundtrack, controls and even the fact that the Turtles’ voice actors from the 1987 cartoon series reprise their roles. I’ve played on PC, Xbox Series S and via Xcloud on both a mobile 2.4ghz signal and stronger home wifi set up, it has impressed across all available platforms, but I can’t help but feel PC players have been a little short-changed.
Shredder’s Revenge feels good where ever it’s played (even on Xcloud btw), but on PC the lack of support for ultrawide resolutions is a real downer. The game looks great on TV and even mobile screens but the black bars I’ve got on PC make it my least favoured place to play. This means playing at a lower than expected resolution and although the visual style is good, it doesn’t look as crisp as say, something like Streets of Rage 4.
Honestly, that’s as far as I’d let my criticism of the game go, as will continue with multiple playthroughs for the foreseeable future. While the story won’t change much the option to play as all the turtles (plus Splinter, April O‘Neil and even “spoiler”!!!!) really is a great reason to come back and do it all again.
What seems like a simple control scheme at first, actually has a surprising level of depth and going back through levels trying to get better scores, fewer or no hits and more knockouts is amazingly addictive. I can’t wait to see the gaming community’s videos and clips of insane high combos and ways to play the game.
Performance seems pretty locked on all formats, at least other than on the Switch. Here from watching other gamers play, when things get busy, expect to see a few drops from 60fps. Considering the options for up to 6 players’ cooperative play that’s quite impressive, even with the game’s retro pixel style aesthetic.
This can be played locally or online unless your playing on PlayStation. Local on PlayStation consoles the option for 6-player local play appears to be missing, but hopefully this will be added via a later patch or update. There’s also the option of cross-play but again PlayStation and Nintendo players seem to miss out here, with PC and Xbox players getting paired together. It’s being looked at, but not available at this time.
If you jump into the game expecting an easy time, please lower your expectations. Although you’ll enjoy your time with the title, it’s also got the same old-school arcade difficulty from the time. Games like this were made to eat coins and credits back in the day and this is no different. Even though special abilities are pretty easy to build (maybe at times too easy thanks to taunts if well-timed), I’ve died or lost lives most often than I want to remember.
The 16 levels or stages on offer all look great but are quite similar in content. Enemy types aren’t that varied but there’s enough to keep you on your toes. Boss battles will be a hard lesson in attack patterns and movements but it’s easily achievable, even for less-skilled players. It’s only really traditional side-scrolling beat-em-up levels and then the higher-speed hoverboard stages, but it keeps the game moving at a good speed.
The choice of featured characters and bosses has been a real highlight for me, but for players with less knowledge of the history of the cartoons or toys, these might not make as much sense. My personal favourite feature of the game is the soundtrack, which plays throughout the game like it was lifted straight from the early 90s. It’s banging for want of a better term and entirely fitting for the game that’s been created.
Thinking about replayability once again, the team at Tribute Games have done a great job in making all the characters feel distinct enough that changing character is good enough to offer an additional playthrough. Each character has a diverse feeling and most have moves or abilities that will change your style of play.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is both a fantastic call back to games from an earlier time and also does enough to make it feel fresh and exciting in 2022. It’s really tickled me and is something that I’m looking forward to playing again and again. Tribute Games and Dotemu should look to continue with this theme and I’m desperately hoping a continuation of the old-school X-Men games is next on the cards.
Cowabunga dudes… pass the pizza and take me right back to the 90s.