Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
(available for Playstation 5, Playstation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Nintendo Switch version used for this review)
Shredder’s Revenge has come to us a year after its initial announcement, being made by the indie studio Tribute Games, based in Canada. It was promised to be a throwback to classic Ninja Turtles beat em’ up games, particularly the game Turtles in Time- which you will be able to play soon, thanks to the Cowabunga Collections coming soon to all platforms.
This game has had tons of updates over its development time, with the promise of more and more characters before its release date.
Full disclosure, I went into this thinking that it wasn’t going to live up to the hype. I thought that this would be one that old school fans of Ninja Turtle games would enjoy but it would only be good for a couple of rounds, and I wouldn’t have that much fun with it. I can safely say that the hype is justified on this one!
This is a really good throwback to classic Ninja Turtles arcade games, and it delivers in this department. Tribute Games might be a small studio, but it feels like they’ve been making games like this their entire life. They do an excellent job giving certain characters strengths and weaknesses, and you earn more moves and combat techniques by levelling up characters during story mode. If you really like a challenge, you can take part in arcade mode, both of which are for offline and online multiplayer. They do an excellent job of differentiating the characters to find one which suits your style. For example, Donatello has very good range but he doesn’t have much power, and Raphael has the opposite problem. There are seven characters in total, with the starting roster being the original four turtles of Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Leonardo. But you also have access to April O’Neil and Splinter and you unlock Casey Jones once you beat story mode for the first time. You really want to go back and forth levelling up your character on story mode for when you join someone else’s online session.
Luckily, the combat is really good so it’s really fun to keep going back and doing the levels over and over again. After the first weekend the game came out, I played the first level about seven or eight times, whether I was joining other player’s sessions or just starting again to level up another character. I’m a massive fan of the character Casey Jones, so once I unlocked him, I went back and did the story mode again. My advice would be to go through all of the characters to find which one suits your style, and then have a back up in case someone else in an online game picks your favourite. Luckily, none of the characters feel like they’re lacking. Though, some of them might not suit your tastes. For example, I’m not too good at playing Splinter. There’s nothing wrong with him but his slow, combat focused style didn’t suit me. I definitely preferred playing the faster characters like Leonardo and Michelangelo. Though, that being said, I did get a kick out of playing Casey Jones, who is a more power-based character.
- Turtles’ history
If you’re a fan of the old cartoons or just the Ninja Turtles in general, there’s a lot here for you. There’s a boss fight at the end of each level and there’s all sorts of characters that they drew from. There’s a ton of these ones where you think ‘They’ll never bring this character in’ and lo and behold, they appeared!
With 16 levels you can imagine the variety of villains that they bring into the game. There’s obviously Shredder, and of course you do fight Bebop and Rocksteady, but they also put in characters like Baxter Stockman and some really obscure fan favourites that I won’t dare spoil. There’s also a lot of side characters to rescue which lead to another aspect of the game which is getting the collectibles from them to earn rewards.
There are even tributes to the classic arcade games, Turtles in Time get a few references as well as the other arcade games, even the soundtrack references the older games. The game even starts with a new version of the classic Ninja Turtles theme song, which is undisputedly one of the greatest theme songs of all time, so the second that starts playing my attitude was ‘yes, more of this!’
I’m not even the biggest Ninja Turtles fan but I did like the old cartoons, so a lot of the references here were great for me. I will admit that a few of the old game references flew over my head since I didn’t play them too much, but man, if you’re a Turtles fan, there is so much good stuff in here!
Multiplayer is great, for one thing, they treat it like an arcade game that anyone can leave and join at any time- including with online multiplayer. The fact that I could open a room early on and have other players join me was just great. I really enjoyed playing the game even with random people. In fact, I felt that this way was the best way to play the game. And the fact that it had that much openness and transparency was great. There’s also not a shortage of players, this game allows up to 6 players in multiplayer and that was way more than I was expecting. This feature is available in both online and offline multiplayer. Seriously, you want to play this game in multiplayer at almost all times. It’s even really good fun with just one extra person, and for some of the later levels you’ll really want to have an extra helping hand.
This is probably the best looking 2D Ninja Turtles game ever. It does a fantastic job replicating the old arcade game look as well as modernising it. Smart choices to have the late 80s cartoon designs as opposed to the more recent Nickelodeon designs. The game strikes a very good balance and also has a very good framerate, even when the game was in online multiplayer. They did an excellent job replicating what it would feel like playing this on a real arcade machine, and I think that it’s really commendable because that’s not an easy task.
I already mentioned the new version of the Ninja Turtles theme, but even without that this game has a brilliant soundtrack. It has a lot of nods to Turtle history but it still feels like its own thing. There’s an excellent mix of the classic and modern games being brought to this one. I really would recommend making sure you have a good sound system when playing this game.
- Online multiplayer
I played the Nintendo Switch version of the game and online multiplayer was definitely a bit of a mixed bag. For one thing, while I was trying to join online rooms there was connection issues on a number of occasions. It fortunately happened less frequently when I was the host, which leads me to believe that the issues I was experiencing were tied to the internet of other players. That being said, when the multiplayer did work (which was the case most of the time) it’s fantastic. Even with random people, it’s a great time. On a few occasions I did manage to get 6 players, and it’s amazing how fun it can be. This is one of the reasons I had multiplayer switched on at all times. I would really recommend playing it that way, even if you don’t have many friends to join in- though you can invite friends or make the room private if you wish to.
- Single player
Single player functions fine and is still very enjoyable. I actually played this back and forth on a journey to Liverpool and I found that playing the game by myself to be a lonely experience, especially when I was playing some of the later levels and I didn’t have back up for some of the more difficult boss fights. But the fact that I didn’t have someone to back me up in that regard definitely didn’t help and while single player is an enjoyable experience, it definitely isn’t as enjoyable as multiplayer- so most of the fun of the game is due to having friends to play with or a good internet connection.
- Really short
This is a minor con since games of this nature are expected to be really short (in truth, it was even a lot longer than I was expecting) but you can beat story mode in about 2 hours. Arcade mode is there if you want a challenge and you’re limited to a number of lives in that mode. Though, I’m wondering if a few months down the line if I’ll enjoy playing the same 2 hours over and over again with random people- especially since it seems that this game wont get any DLCs in the future.
I can’t guarantee that my friends are going to want to play this at all times, so it feels like playing the same 16 levels will have diminishing returns.
- Can’t level up in other people’s sessions
Feel free to tell me I’m completely wrong about this- but I could never get my characters to level up when I was playing with someone else. For example, I joined a game at one point playing as Michelangelo for about half an hour and I came back, and he hadn’t levelled up. If I’m not doing something wrong and that is the case, that’s a massive knock for me, since it means that I wouldn’t be benefiting from playing with other people and helping them in their games.
- Cross play
I must stress that I didn’t test the cross play feature at this time. Despite the fact that I have a game pass subscription, I haven’t downloaded the PC or Xbox version of this game. I did, however, tune into the Good Vibes Gaming twitch stream in which they were using the cross play feature, and it had numerous issues. Obviously, this affects the multiplayer between the PC and Xbox versions specifically, though if they are planning to bring cross play to the Playstation and Switch version, they really need to make sure that it’s fixed and working before doing so. During that stream the team had massive connection issues.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is one of the best arcade beat-em-ups released in years, joining Streets of Rage 4, as being one of the champions of the genre. There’s a ton of great stuff for Ninja Turtles fans, the multiplayer is great, the soundtrack is phenomenal, the gameplay and combat are very addictive and rewarding. I do feel that the single player isn’t as great and this drags down the experience slightly as well as the game being short, but those are both standard with this genre and is expected. I will say that the cross play and levelling up issues in multiplayer do annoy me a little bit. That being said, I highly recommend picking this game up for some good multiplayer fun. This is really one of the most addictive multiplayer games that has come out this year.
Final Score: 9.3/10
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