- Format: Xbox One (version reviewed), PS4, PS3, 360. PC
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Platinum Games
- Players: 1 (offline), 2-4 (online)
- Site: http://www.tmntmutantsinmanhattan.com/
- Game code shared from freelance work
If the last few years have tortoise anything, it’s that the name ‘Platinum Games’ is no longer a guarantee of top quality. But let’s put our cynicism to one side for a moment, shell we? There’s a new ninja turtles movie this year, and Activision have clearly looked at all the media noise surrounding it and said “we’ll have a pizza that action”. Thus Platinum have been given the license to play with. Is it good, or is it absolutely terrapin? More to the point, can I keep up the awful ninja turtle puns? Can I? Shuriken.
This is a heart-rending text adventure where you make several moral choices which will come back to – nah, not really, of course not. What a turtle waste of the franchise that would be! You walk around hitting stuff. The familiar faces you’d hope to see are here, in terms of both good guys and bad guys, and they’re still pretty much the same as they were when they first came onto the scene over two decades ago. All four turtles are playable, and if you’re playing alone you can switch between them at any time. No offline multiplayer. Sai what? Why did they nunchuk the idea of local co-op out? I katana believe it! Bo down before my punning power, mortals! Hey, what’s that look for? What do you mean, too many bad puns? Get off my Casey!
There’s online co-op for you and up to three others though, with AI filling in any gaps. Though not playable, April is present in cutscenes and during missions via radio messages. She can be a little annoying, so do you seek financial compensation for distracting you in the heat of the moment? Do you sewer? No, you do not. You just put up with it while pummeling wave after wave of foot soldiers, mousers, aliens in adorable little UFOs, and some sort of stone warrior men. And there’s the thing; most of the time, you’ll be fighting the same enemy types over and over again. There’s barely a Shredder variety.
The bigger the turtle fan you are though, the more enjoyment you’ll squeeze out of this. Character designs are in line with the newer comics, and the cel-shaded graphics look like a moving comic book, pencil lines and all. They’ve really tried to Krang as much detail as possible in. What, you want my bad jokes bandana? Never! Anyway, each stage has a boss taken straight out of turtle lore. You can expect to come up against the likes of Bebop, Rocksteady, Wingnut, and – of course – The Evil Shredder.
The turtles’ personalities are present and correct thanks to one of the current comic writers being involved. So Donatello’s the slightly nerdy intelligent one, Michaelangelo is very much the party dude, Raphael is the hot-head, and Leonardo’s the sensible leader trying to keep it all together. While they’re easily distinguishable in cutscenes, in-game it’s hard turtle our heroes apart. There’s very little difference between their weapons, and they all draw from the same pool of cooldown-dependent special abilities (four per turtle). There’s a big emphasis on upgrading, and it’s even possible to mark your online game lobby’s objective as grinding. Hmm, I can’t keep this level of punnage up. Or Karai?
There’s only nine stages, and on Normal difficulty you’ll likely clear ’em all in about six hours. One environment is used twice, and the final level is basically several fights in an elevator then a boss. That seems sword of cheeky, and it is; but some will find replay value in the aforementioned levelling and upgrading, while others will keep coming back again and again to earn medals and plough through higher difficulties. Most of us, though, will feel that this is a case of heroes in a half arsed game.