TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge Review – Nice old fashioned Turtles game

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a fine Turtles game that manages to revive old times, without the player being hindered by outdated game elements. The game runs wonderfully smoothly and supports a six-player co-op. That immediately makes the action chaotic. Playing alone is very quiet, so emotionally this game is at its best with two or three players. Either way, TMNT: Shredder’s Revege tickles all the nostalgia you might have from the old Turtles games. The campaign, which can also be played in old-fashioned arcade mode, isn’t overly long but lends itself perfectly to repeated sessions in which you finish the game in one go, just like you did in the past. The reasonable price tag makes TMNT: Shredder’

If you’ve lived through the era of the NES, SNES, and Mega Drive, but never played a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, have you really been a young gamer? Those who have learned the adventures of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo and Master Splinter can look forward to a feast of recognition these days. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles: Shredder’s Revenge is an ode to the legendary beat ’em-up games of yesteryear. The game recently appeared for the Nintendo Switch, Windows, Linux, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, and is of course also playable on the PS5 and the Xbox Series X/S. We played the Switch version and dealt with Beebop, Rocksteady, hundreds of soldiers from the Foot clan and of course Shredder.

The old 16-bit Turtles games have a simple setup. An enemy, usually Shredder, devises a plan and the Turtles must try to thwart it. They do this in different levels, which pass the player side-scrolling. In those levels you will encounter fairly easily defeatable enemies in the beginning, with the level of course increasing further in later levels. Each level concludes with a boss fight, where you encounter familiar and lesser-known enemies of the mutated turtles. Obviously you will lose some lives along the way. If they run out, there are still continues to be used, but if they run out too: bad luck, start over.

Arcade Mode: Optimal Nostalgia

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge offers that classic game variant and adds a modern way of playing. The campaign mode lets players select levels from an overworld. So you play the levels one by one and, when you’re through your lives, you can simply try that level again. The arcade mode offers the more realistic approach: you work with a limited number of lives and continues and have to restart the whole adventure when you run out of stock, just like it used to work. For older gamers this is the most optimal way to nostalgia.

That path leads players through sixteen different levels that seem to be composed of various older Turtles games. Not that levels are literally copied, but those who are familiar with the old games will recognize the different settings. You’ll fight in the sewers under Manhattan, hover over the city on a hoverboard, take out prehistoric adversaries and even end up in an alien location. Between the levels, simple images are used to share what happens in the story, but that is actually of minor importance. It’s about the action and the smooth way in which it is portrayed, with a lot of attention to color use and all kinds of subtle references to the successful games of the past.

The action starts with the choice of a character. You can choose from one of the four Turtles, as well as Master Splinter or April O’Neil. If you complete the campaign once, you will unlock Casey Jones as an extra character. It’s no coincidence that there are six characters to choose from anyway. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge supports cooperative gameplay for up to six people. That creates wonderful chaos on the screen. We played through the game solo, then added in some two, three and six player sessions. With six people it is chaos everywhere. That goes so far that we even lost our character every now and then in all the violence. It is much better with two or three people. Tastes differ, but in our opinion the game comes into its own this way.

The difficulty and number of players you play with will affect it, but in the end TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge will take you just over two hours to play through once. In the campaign mode you can still look for various hidden items in the various levels, with which you can eventually complete the game for the full one hundred percent. The long-lasting value is mainly found in playing through the sixteen levels repeatedly, preferably in arcade mode. Not very surprising, because many will have played the games of the past dozens of times; it remains fun.

The action is as diverse as you make it. All the characters you can choose have their own strengths and weaknesses and which fighting style is best depends on your own preferences. For example, Leonardo’s double-jump attack is very effective in that he does multiple flips with an outstretched sword. Raphael is lightning fast with his attacks, but does not have the reach of the much slower Donatello. Especially if you’re playing the campaign on your own, it’s nice to switch active characters every now and then, so that you can try out what works best for you. The movesets that the characters have in the beginning are also gradually expanded: as the Turtles become stronger, they learn new special attacks. These are especially useful if too many enemies are coming at you at once,

Cool soundtrack

The fact that the game is fun to play time and time again is also due to an excellent combination of fine gameplay and a great style, both graphically and in sound. The game may be based on the Turtles games of the past, but the technology has obviously improved a lot. That means, for example, that Shredder’s Revenge has a full-fledged soundtrack, which stands out in a positive way on several occasions. It is a pity that the cries that the Turtles and other characters are quickly repeating and continue to do so throughout the adventure. That will feel a bit corny at some point. Not that it negatively affects the gameplay, but still: it stood out.

In the graphics it is obvious that the style clearly comes from the old games, but then taking advantage of more modern hardware. That turns out to be a recipe for a wonderfully chaotic and colorful whole. There is a lot going on on your screen at almost every moment, both in the foreground and in the background. Enemies can come from anywhere and are just as colorful and diverse as the environments you encounter. All the animations associated with the battles and the special effects associated with the various attacks are added to that. It certainly delivers more action in co-op than a human eye can actually keep up with… which is exactly how it should be.

Conclusion

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is a delightful tribute to the Turtles games of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The game combines old elements of the games with modern features and it works great. While the graphical style is derived from the old TMNT games, it’s clear that the amount of on-screen action you see in a six-player game wouldn’t have been possible before. The same applies to the well-functioning online matchmaking, with which you can quickly and easily play pots with other players. A level lasts anywhere from five to fifteen minutes and the entire campaign will keep you busy for just over two hours. That also makes it fun to play the arcade mode a bit more often, as you used to do. However, games in 2022 are somewhat larger and more extensive than what TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge has to offer. Fortunately, the game also costs a bit less than other games. Xbox and PC gamers with a GamePass subscription can play the game for free within that subscription, but the Nintendo Switch version we played for this review will cost you 25 euros. An excellent amount for a game that will certainly give you hours of fun, if only to revive bygone Cowabunga times.

Pros

  • Keeping the charm of old games
  • Six Player Co-op
  • Arcade Mode
  • Cool soundtrack
  • Matchmaking good and fast
  • Smooth action

Negatives

  • Short campaign
  • Cries of characters