Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge Review

Four things I like about this game, and one I don't

TMNT Shredder's Revenge

By Paul Hunter

As an '80s boy growing up, I was absolutely hooked on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated TV series and, of course, the adrenaline pumping TMNT: Arcade Game. So naturally I've had my eye out for Shredder's Revenge, the incredible looking new beat 'em up from the veterans at Dotemu (Streets of Rage 4) and Tribute Games (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game) out now on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.

Now that I've had lots of time to dig my sais into this beefy title, it's time to explain why it's so shell-shockingly good. Here are four things I liked about the game...and one I didn't.

Liked: An Amazing Tribute to the Turtle's Legacy

What immediately stands out when playing the Story mode is just how faithful Shredder's Revenge is to the source material. The pixel perfect renditions of Coney Island, Dimension X, Times Square and other locations are breathtaking, as is the all-star boss list that includes the best video game versions of Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady and more.

The Turtles themselves look superb with slick animations that will make you believe you're playing a living breathing Saturday morning cartoon. Master Splinter, April O'Neil and Casey Jones also appear as playable characters and each one you can tell was created with loving care right down to the details on April's iconic yellow jumpsuit and Splinter's insanely finessed martial art moves.

Even from an audio perspective the game oozes nostalgic flair with a fantastic soundtrack from Tee Lopes, a composer featured in Sonic Mania, League of Legends, and Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Plus you get an original banger written and performed by Ghostface Killah and Raekwon called "We Ain't Came to Lose" that totally shreds and gets you into that Turtle ass-kicking mood. As if that weren't enough, Tribute Games went so far as to get the original Turtles cast to record all-new lines, including charismatic quips from Cam Clarke returning as Leonardo, Townsend Coleman as Michelangelo, Barry Gordon as Donatello and Rob Paulsen as Raphael.

When you combine the sizzling graphics, phenomenal animation, stellar soundtrack and top-notch voice work it should go without saying that Shredder's Revenge is an audio/visual feast that rivals—and arguable surpasses—the best beat 'em ups the industry has ever produced.

Liked: The Flawless Multiplayer

TMNT: Shredder's Revenge features buttery smooth six-player local and online co-operative action. I've had plenty of opportunities to test both co-op methods and they were easy to initiate and completely lag/slowdown free. With a one-button tap you choose to create your own party, invite others to team up or instantly join your friends.

What's great is you can go to any of the 16 stages on the Super Mario 3-style world map and with a tap of the L1/LB button you can immediately see a list of other groups playing that level and their percentage completion. This is great because you'll know even before joining a team if they're at the level beginning, mid-point or fighting the end boss. There are some trophies linked to beating bosses or levels in specific ways (like not taking damage) so you can even hop into a group moments before they defeat the boss and effortlessly pop the trophy—Cowabunga dude!

If you manage to get yourself into a six-player team be prepared for absolute insanity as your team fills the screen with katanas, nunchucks, bos and baseball bats. The action gets so intense it can be hard to find your turtle among the mess of players and enemies, but the overwhelming visuals are all part of the fun. And trust me, six-player Foot Soldier bustin' squads are way too much fun.

Liked: Finding All the Nifty Secrets

The gameplay in Shredder's Revenge is so engaging on its own you'll likely want to replay the Story mode several times over simply for the fun of it. But if you happen to need an extra incentive, the game features a plethora of secrets to find across the many New York and Dimension X locales.

To start with, there are ten character cameos hidden throughout the levels ranging from April's journalistic friend Irma to a bunch of really funny looking frogs with even sillier names (*ahem* Genghis Frog). Found characters will later ask you to locate even more level secrets like a collection of super-secret diaries or a pack of, in the game's own wording, 'disgusting bugs'. There are dozens of these little doodads to collect throughout the game and for every NPC request you fulfill you'll get rewarded with XP to level up your characters—a nice touch.

Liked: Character Levelling

To further boost the replayability of Shredder's Revenge, the game features a compelling level up system. All seven of the playable characters can be levelled up to 10, with each level giving you great rewards like an extra hit-point, extra life or extending your special moves' ninja power gauge.

Levelling up can even expand your moveset such as giving your characters a new super dive attack or new super flying attack. These additional moves are especially useful for taking the numerous flying enemies that can otherwise be a pain to take down.

The game is paced such that you can roughly level up one character fully by playing through the 16 stages, meaning you'll need to beat the story the equivalent of seven times to power up each character to the max. It might sound tedious but it's really not considering most level can be completed in five minutes or less and plus—the campaign is so fun you'll surely want to beat it many times over.

When you combine the sheer number of playable character, hidden character cameos, collectibles and the levelling up system, it's pretty clear that Shredder's Revenge was designed from the ground up to encourage replays. The value proposition gets even better when you factor in that the game's retail price is only $24.99 USD.

Didn't Like: Not a Whole Lot of Innovation

While stages have excellent variety overall, you can't help but feel that game plays it just a little too safe. Segments like the high-speed skateboarding, fighting Bebop and Rocksteady, or the boss fight where you fling Foot Soldiers at the screen feel perhaps a little too close to the classic Turtle games. It's not a big complaint mind you since these moments are still enjoyable, but it still would have been great to see more innovations. Perhaps we could have had a high-speed Ninja Turtle van car chase or a high-flying Turtle blimp air assault. But hey, assuming the game is a smashing sales success, and it probably will be, maybe we'll see some of these in what feels like an inevitable sequel?

The Verdict

The trailers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge looked stunning and yet miraculously the final game turned out even better. This is the perfect love letter to the '87 cartoon and the subsequent arcade games. Graphically it's supremely impressive but it's the slick controls and intense action that really seal the deal. The six-player local and online co-op, devilishly hard Arcade mode and lasting character upgrade system are like pineapples on an already ooey-gooey delicious pizza.

Final Score: 9/10 - Amazing

TMNT: Shredder's Revenge details

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Dotemu
Genre: Beat 'em up
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A key was provided by the publisher.