Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan (Xbox One)
Since Konami let go of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles license it’s been a tough time for our four mutant sewer warriors. No one has taken Rocksteady by his horn and given the franchise a good shake-up. If anyone can do it it’s Platinum Games… right? Wrong. Oh so terribly wrong.
Let me get the bad news out of the way right now – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is possibly one of Platinum Games worst titles they’ve ever released. The game is short, lasting close to six hours at most and revolves around nine boss battles disguised by simple mini-tasks within each level. Have you ever played Anarchy Reigns? It plays very similar to that, it’s just that this is somehow even more uninteresting and downright boring.
As with most TMNT games the world is in trouble again with Krang and Shredder threatening its demise. It’s so cliché it’s not even funny anymore. Of course it’s up to Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo and Donatello to kick the snot out of all the baddies including the common footsoldiers as well as other well-known characters such as Bebop, Rocksteady, Slash, Karai and others.
Cowabun… GAAAAH! BAAAH!
Once you’re off on your first mission, to put an end to Bebop, you’ll have April constantly yelling details at you of what mission you should be tackling next. Press in your right analogue stick and it’ll pop-up the T-Glass to help you spot enemies and to find your next objective. At the top of your hud you have a progression bar that fills every time you complete any sub-mission. Fill the entire bar and you fight the boss on that level. Play the same level twice and the missions will change up as it seems it randomly loads a sub-mission with enemies for you to dispose of. These sub-missions can include something as simple as just killing the enemies or disarming bombs. The trick to all this is to get a good understanding of each turtle’s Ninjutsu move set.
Your face buttons will handle heavy and light attacks, as well as activating elements and jumping. Press in your left trigger and those face buttons convert to special moves. Each turtle comes with his own set of unique abilities. Leonardo, for example, can activate Turtle Time that’ll slow down enemies for a good few seconds and Donatello uses Pizza Power to heal his comrades. Once you’ve used any of these abilities, which each turtle has four of (and can be upgraded or changed to other abilities after a boss battle) it’ll enter a cool-down period. Michaelangelo has a power to have all abilities restored by using a Cheerleader move – yes, he’s of course the clown of the lot. Getting a good understanding of all these moves is the difference between beating the boss at the end of the level or becoming turtle soup. Therefore you need to learn to play as all four turtles.
By pressing and holding in the left trigger you can tap any direction on the D-Pad to switch between the four turtles. Other than their various abilities there are minimal differences to each turtle. You can assign a charm to each of your green heroes, which you’ll acquire by collecting green and red objects scattered all over each level, or by defeating enemies. It’s also here you’ll often use your gliding move by double tapping the A button and holding it in to reach objects otherwise out of reach. Charms can make you invincible while healing buddies or allow you to home your shurikens on to enemies by tapping away at the RB shoulder button. There are many charms to discover and they definitely assist with each fight. Keep in mind though that this is after all a Platinum Games title. It’s not easy.
The game is as generic as this sub heading
Play it on normal and you will be challenged once you face off against the last few bosses, but move it up a notch to hard or very hard and you’ll have to ensure that you’ve levelled each turtle up to handle the unforgiving battles heading your way. In fights enemies will also drop other items such as pizza slices, energy drinks, mini turrets, grenades and more that can be activated by pressing the relevant direction on the D-pad. Run out of health, represented by several pizzas made up of slices, and you’ll return to Splinter’s den and take part in a mini game of eating pizzas as quickly as you can. This is to regenerate health and rejoin the fight. Tap away at the A button too fast, to speed up your regeneration, and you’ll burn your mouth, which ultimately slows you down. Should all the turtles head back to their den, having been defeated at the same time, it’s game over. Knowing when to defend will prevent this from happening. Get a good understanding of when to press the right trigger to parry, counter or just generally defend yourself and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour.
The game can be taken online for some multiplayer action, but forget about an offline co-op mode. That’s nowhere to be found. The voice acting and music are both forgettable, though the cel-shaded graphics do look decent enough. The problem is that everything just feels so exceptionally generic. At no point will you feel excited at being a TMNT, and that’s just very sad for any TMNT fan.
If you enjoy boss battles and being challenged to get the best ranking on a worldwide leaderboard then this is something that might appeal to you if you’re a die-hard TMNT fan, but others should stay clear of this cash-in that’s just in time for the new movie.