After the success of PlatinumGames’ Transformers: Devastation, which perfectly mixed the 80’s cartoon with the visceral and action-packed gameplay that the developers are known for, it was only natural that they took on another Saturday morning favorite that’s known for its martial arts action. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, players get to step into the shoes of the ever popular turtles as they take on a classic rogue gallery in a cel-shaded world. But is the mix of a dev team known for their action and the Nickelodeon’s cartoon a successful marriage?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan
Developed by PlatinumGames / Published by Activision
Available on the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Reviewed on the PS4.
*Review code provided by Activision
In Mutants in Manhattan, long time baddies Shredder and Krang are up to their antics once again, releasing the Foot soldiers to cause all sorts of mayhem in the Big Apple. Now the Ninja Turtles must emerge once again from the sewers to face off against the forces of evil and hopefully save the day.
The plot is simple stuff, and doesn’t really evolve from the typical ‘go to places and beat stuff up’ plot of brawlers, as there’s some banter here and there between characters and then it’s off to the streets to take on enemies. Still, as a game oriented towards children and young teens, the cartoony cutscenes are fun, action-packed, and occasionally funny.
The game, a multiplayer hack and slash brawler, is unlike previous PlatinumGames releases, with the experience concentrating on conquering stages together by completing a series of objectives rather than following a set, linear path through stages. Players select from one of the four turtles, and head to a variety of stages – like the city streets, sewers, construction sites, and more, and clear a number of randomly generated objectives to summon the stage’s boss. These objectives cycle between clearing all enemies in the area, reaching bombs and deactivating them, unlocking paths to the next area while fending off enemies, carrying objects to drop points while being assailed by foes, and more. Despite the variety in locations, it’s a pretty repetitive experience.
That doesn’t mean it’s not fun however, it’s just there isn’t much to do here. As a turtle, the combat is fast and fierce, and players have a couple of combos to play with as well as special moves that serve a variety of offensive and defensive roles, allowing players to mix and match to deal loads of damage and protect themselves from harm. Players can also dodge, jump, float, and use items like pizza, bombs, rocket launchers and more to gain an edge in combat. But with the fun combat, stages are pretty lacking and feature uninspired and repetitive objectives, which kind of numb the experience, as you’ll be doing the same tasks over and over again, and there’s not much to do except search for collectable comic covers.
The really enjoyable moments come when players actually get to face off against bosses, which will have players be quick on their feet, as these entertaining pattern-based encounters will have the turtles pull out all of their moves to survive. Players need to pool together their attacks in order to persevere and heal each other up, or they’ll have to restart the big battle over again, and these can be extremely challenging, especially in higher difficulty modes.
Other than the battles, the rest is rinse and repeat. Players go to the next stage, complete more objectives and pummel foot soldiers, occasionally move from one section of the stage to the next, and then fight the next boss. The challenge increases as they pass stages, and players earn experience points which in turn can be used to purchase new special attacks, and charms that’ll give players buffs to their attacks, item finding, and more. Higher difficulty levels mean more rewards.
The best time playing this game however is with friends or online players, as the AI is decent enough, but teaming up with others is definitively the way to go. Joining up to three others to clean up the streets is a good and frantic time, and taking on the bosses is especially preferred in multiplayer, as the AI has a habit of getting hit often and dying, so players have to risk their own lives in a challenging battle, just in order to revive them so that they can fall again. Stages are harder in multiplayer however, so teamwork is a must if players want to survive. If you have a choice though, always go for the multiplayer.
Ultimately, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is an entertaining yet somewhat lacking brawler that fails to live up to its potential. While taking on foes and big bosses as a team is a treat, the extremely repetitive gameplay and lack of variety keep the game from being more than just good.