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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Review

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has been through a lot. From its humble origins of a comic book series, to live action movies and video games, with just as many rebrands and redesigns. One thing has maintained though, how badass the turtles are. One of my fondest memories are sitting in an arcade with my wife and some random people, playing the arcade release of Wrath of the Mutants on a date night. The Ninja Turtles games haven’t always hit a home run, but for certain, they’ve always been colourful and loud. Fast forward seven years later and that arcade classic has been ported to consoles.

From the get-go, this title lets you know it’s there with a bright and colourful title screen and loud, thumping music. The main menu was nothing to write home about with your run of the mill sound settings, controls and credits options. Though the background they used for the main menu looked to be inspired by the old TMNT comic books, which was a nice touch of nostalgia.

The game starts in traditional fashion, select save slot and difficulty. Easy and normal are your initial choices with hard being unlocked after you beat the game on normal. A level select follows from five that are selectable, with the sixth locked until you have completed the other five. Unlike some traditional beat ’em ups, this game doesn’t feature a linear storyline or campaign to follow, but I don’t think it needed it. Instead, you have the freedom to select any level and dive right in. However, offering players a starting point could have been a great addition to enhance the gaming experience.

The six levels consist of NYC, The Sewer, The Amusement Park, T.C.R.I, Dimension X and Shredder’s Lair. The level designs of all six are brilliant and look pretty similar to the 2012 Nickelodeon show. In true beat em up fashion the levels are linear but extremely detailed, which was also one of its flaws. I wanted to explore more of the levels but was blocked by invisible walls which was a missed opportunity to hide some power ups or even enemies in waiting.

Although the level design overall is great, the level layout was very much a rinse and repeat. Fight a horde of enemies, grab a power up or two, fight a mid-boss, fight more hordes of enemies, pick up more power ups then fight the end level boss. The boss fights lacked any originality and played out in the same style with similar move sets and telegraphed attacks that you had to jump over. This was frustrating as I found the boss battles only going for a few minutes.

One of the highlights of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade is the four-player local co-op. Seeing all four turtles on screen at the same time is truly magnificent and a drawcard for the gameplay. Controlling the awesome foursome was fun and not too dissimilar to previous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat em up games. The attack button is multipurpose; mashing will chain a combo, pressing it when close to an object will pick it up, and if you’re up close and personal with one of The Foot or The Krang you’ll perform a throw. I found myself mashing it most of the time.

Other than the attack button, there is a jump button and a signature Turtle Power move button, however in order to use Turtle Power you need to build up the meter by either collecting a Turtle Power powerup or attacking enemies. It built up relatively quickly, so I didn’t feel like I had to save it for a boss battle or a horde of enemies. There is good variety to the power ups available in game, with throwing stars, smoke bombs and even one to call in allies to help in battle. I found the frequency in which they popped up was predictable, even in the boss battles.

The in-game voice acting utilised the original voice actors from the Nickelodeon show. The bosses had some brilliant one liners, but for the turtles unfortunately their lines seemed somewhat recycled. I don’t know how many times I heard Raph say, “Now stay down!” The music bought a certain tone to the game with its very early 2010s synthwave sounds and this gets you in the mood for a fight, just like a gym playlist.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is a good game to sit down with mates and kill an hour or two. Its simplistic style makes it perfect to pick up and put down without worrying about where you are in the story. The voice acting and artstyle make it feel as though you’re playing through an episode of the cartoon. This is definitely a game to bring people together. Playing through this game with my kids, they enjoyed almost every moment and can’t wait to play again.

This review utilised a PS5 key with thanks to Five Star Games. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants releases worldwide on PS5, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.


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