Initial release date: June 16, 2022
Developer: Tribute Games
Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Mode: Multiplayer video game
Publishers: Limited Run Games, DotEmu, Gamera Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux
Genres: Beat 'em up, Indie game, Fighting game, Casual game, Adventure
"Review Copy Provided By Tribute Games & DotEmu"
As an 80’s kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the biggest franchises next to Transformers, G.I. Joe, Thunder Cats, and many more and generally defined a lot of the childhoods of us kids from that era. The franchise went on to not only have gritty comics that were much darker in tone, to an animated tv show, live action movies, and a highly successive toy line. The video games were always insanely popular and were some of the most played games in the arcades in the 80s and 90s and the home console ports were also big hits especially the SNES port of Turtles in Time and even the Sega Genesis exclusive sequel The Hyperstone Heist (both of which will be part of the TMNT Cowabunga Collection) which were staples in any 90s game collection and continues to lead the debate of which is better between the two depending on if you were a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis kid. The franchise has attempted innumerable revivals from the late 90s all the way up to the mid-2010s and none have captured the magic of the late 80s and early 90s especially in the video game front where the games have continued to be misses time and again especially with the dreaded Turtles in Time remake that was abysmal. So here we are in 2022 with what is honestly not only the best Ninja Turtles game in over 20+ years but also one of if not the best beat em’ up games ever made and that is not a surprise as this is made by DotEmu and Tribute Games who brought us the amazing Streets of Rage 4 and Panzer Paladin. I think it’s about time to get into the review of the game even though I already spoiled it by saying this game is amazing, I might as well tell you why it’s great so let’s dive into the review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge!
If you played any of the arcade TMNT games or the home releases of Turtles in Time or Hyperstone Heist then you’ll have a general idea of what to expect in this game although that’s just a sample of what to expect as this game offers way more than we’ve ever had in a Turtles game than ever before. The controls are fairly simple with one button for attacks, jumping and double jumping, and dodging. You also have access to running by double tapping left or right, combo variations by combining attack and the dodge buttons, anti-air rising attacks, rushing attacks following running, dive attacks following jumping, taunting which builds your special meter, and recovery options should you get hit with you being able to use the dodge or jump buttons upon landing from a knockdown or hit. The depth of the gameplay is insane and invites you to constantly experiment and change up how you approach battles.
Each of the characters plays fundamentally different from one another as each one character has their own unique stats from Range, Power, and Speed. Leonardo is the most balanced all-around character while Michelangelo has high speed but low range and mid-tier power and April has the lowest power and low range with the tradeoff being the highest speed. My favorite character happens to be April as she has so many moves borrowed from Street Fighter’s Chun-Li and the Hong Kong twins Yun and Yang with moves like the rising spinning bird kick and Akuma’s dive kick are a treat to see and lets you know that the developers are passionate about not only brawlers but fighting games as well.
There are only two modes of play being Story and Arcade with Story having an overworld similar to the older Super Mario games with you being able to move from level to level as well as letting you know the collectables and what not. The game has 16 levels total that each have various collectables and secrets withing in them along with stage challenges that you can complete by various circumstances such as not getting hit or not using special moves or defeating X number of enemies. Completing these challenges will gain you various stat bonuses and buffs such as increased HP, increased Special Bar, additional lives, and more.
Arcade mode is more of the same with the exception that it removes the overworld and ability to go back to completed levels and instead handles closer to the original games where you move on to the next stage once you complete the current one and also gives you less lives and no continues so you’ll need to complete this in one go if you want to just dive into the game.
When it comes to the multiplayer options in Shredder’s Revenge you can either play it local co-op or online with the game allowing all the way up to 6-players simultaneously. This is something that has not been done in a game in this genre ever (unless you count Guardian Heroes which didn’t have online in the 90s) and does it so well with net code if you are playing online that’s so good that its seamless with chaos happening everywhere. What I like about the 6player functionality is that the game adjusts its difficulty to adapt to the number of players so the amount and type of the Footclan you fight will encounter.
This game is honestly such a love letter to long time turtles’ fans and is a great starting point for newer gamers with tons of replay value.
Graphically, this game is an evolution of what we saw in Turtles in Time with a modern twist making it seem similar to games like Scott Pilgrim, Fight N’ Rage, and River City Girls instead of the more highly visual Streets of Rage 4 yet that doesn’t mean that this game doesn’t look good as it does look game and fits the visual aesthetic of it mirroring the original cartoon and older games. Each of the characters are highly animated and fluid in all that the do. You’ll see a lot of their moves are cameos to other games such as the earlier mentioned Chun-Li moves for April while Raphael has Sol Bad Guy of Guilty Gear’s Volcanic Viper and Casey Jones has Haomaru of Samurai Shodown’s Renting Tremor Slash and so on.
All of the Footclan and the respective major villians all look incredible and are a massive step up in presentation when compared to their arcade and home console versions from the 80s and 90s. Each of the main villians is animated in a way that showcases their individual personalities and quirks.
The environments are all really well detailed and animated with a lot of what you see being either a full-on call back to stages from previous entries, entirely new levels, or a literally return from a previous game brought to new life. Not only will you see weather effects like wind and rain but also dust and more along with NPCs roaming about and many often interacting with you such as the monkeys that will throw banana peels at you and enemies.
This honestly has to be one of the best OST’s in not only the beat em’ up genre but also in modern gaming as listening to this will feel like you got in a DeLorean and went back to the 80s/90s with how everything sounds. The first level’s theme is such a nostalgia rush that will remind you of Turtles in Time that you’ll wonder if you stepped into a smoke-filled arcade with a stack of quarters in your hands.
One of my favorite themes has to be when you face off against Shredder as the music is performed by Ghostface Killah and Raekwon The Chef with the beat made by the incredible Tee Lopes that has that early gangsta rap feel that will have you bopping your head as he basically raps as if he is Shredder and tells you what all he has done and intends to do to the turtles with the track called “We Ain’t Came To Lose”. Outside of the OST is the fact that the devs were able to bring back all of the original voice actors to reprise their roles of which many haven’t done in 30 years, and it honestly brings such a level of authenticity to this game. Hearing Cam Clarke step back into the role of Leonardo is absolutely outstanding especially when he’s more famously known as being the voice of Metal Gear’s Liquid Snake and the voice of Ryuudo from Grandia II.
The sound design is also amazing in that every hit, slash, explosion, and more all sound meaty and punchy. Pounding the Footclan sounds every bit as painful as it looks slamming them into the ground or throwing them into the screen. It’s all just perfect!
Honestly, this game has no downsides at all to me. I never ran into any issues when I played this on PC nor any glitches. Sure, this could just be nostalgia and my inner 80s kid being bias but nevertheless this game to me is absolute perfection through and through.
When it’s all said and done, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is the greatest of love letters to long time turtles’ fans and gives so much more than anything that we could’ve ever asked for. It’s honestly a situation where the developers covered everything that we could want with enough nostagila to bring a lot of us back to simpler times while also adding enough modern innovations that set this game ahead of basically every brawler that has come out in the last 30 years and is honestly a toss up between this, Streets of Rage 4, Fight N’ Rage, and River City Girls as the best in the genre. With incredibly easy pick and play controls, insane amounts of depth in the combat and mechanics, an outstanding soundtrack, excellent voice actors, and near limitless replay value that will have you coming back over and over make TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge one of the absolute best games of 2022 and a true return of the legendary Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If you are looking for a game to dive into then this is exactly what you need to be playing. Do whatever you need to in order to get this game today!