Finally a TMNT game I don’t hate.
Since working for ZTGD, I have reviewed pretty much every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that has been released. I’m a huge fan of the heroes in a half shell, have been since I was a kid. As I mentioned before, we haven’t had a good TMNT game since Turtles in Time back on the SNES. That was well over 20 years ago now. That has always made me a sad fan of the series. Then, all of a sudden, I hear Platinum Games is making a new TMNT game. Immediately, I began to get excited. The people that brought us Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Mad World are making a TMNT game? Sign me up. After putting some quality time in the game, I can say now that Mutants in Manhattan has released, we have finally received a TMNT game that is actually fun to play. It took 20 years, but we’re finally here.
Mutants in Manhattan is a brawler beat ‘em up game where players take on the role of the four brother turtles as they fight their way through levels, completing objectives while moving forward to make their way to the boss of the level.
Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC, PS3, 360
Price I’d pay: $30
Mutiplayer: 4 player co-op (online)
Combat is a rather simple affair. In almost Dynasty Warriors fashion, each turtle has standard combos using both light and heavy attack that change up depending on the order the button is pressed. On top of that, each turtle can be equipped with four special moves that can be done holding down a trigger and hitting a corresponding button. These special attacks can be a healing ability, hard hitting attack, or an evasive move like a super jump. There are also combo attacks that allow the brothers to combine forces for a multi-hit combo attack that does some pretty good damage all the while looking great on screen. To go along with that, there is a dodge and parry mechanic that can take some getting used to, but after some practice, I was parrying bosses with ease and if felt so good when I did it perfectly.
The special moves are both upgradeable as well as customizable. Think of them like a loadout for the turtle. Each brother can be equipped with different moves so they can play different roles. Donny can be a healer that throws out pizza to his teammates, Leo and be the fast striker with hard hitting special moves, etc. After each level, players will gain training points they can then spend to upgrade their abilities to both do more damage as well as shorten the cooldown times for them.
Along with upgradeable abilities, the turtles can be equipped with charms they can find through exploration or by crafting them using scrolls they find throughout the levels. These charms serve as perks that can be very beneficial to the team. These can increase healing properties, gain more experience points, and many other buffs. Turtles can only have one equipped at a time unless they are playing on a higher difficulty.
Now due to the nature of the combat, the game can get monotonous after a while. When I’m doing the same combos over and over again because they are the most damage efficient moves I have, it can get a bit boring. Changing which turtle I controlled changed things up a bit, and trying out multiple special moves broke up the gameplay somewhat, but in the end this was a game that needed to be played in spurts. It is a beat ‘em up at its core after all.
While the game features full online co-op, local play is completely out. I get why it’s not here, but it would have benefited so much from couch co-op. Still, teaming up with some friends online is the way this game should be played. The single player can actually be a bit boring due to the friendly AI being complete badasses. I never broke a sweat when playing single player even on a harder difficulty.
The biggest disappointment for me is actually the lack of a story. Sure, there are a few two minute cut scenes here and there that detail the next level, but that’s about it. We’re talking about a franchise that has had multiple comic series spanning since 1984 with tons of characters and lore and not a single game has yet to encompass that? It’s a shame because I was really hoping to see some crazy cut scenes in the style of Bayonetta.
I do like the look of it all, the cel-shaded design mixed with the bright and colorful aesthetic really give it that comic book feel. The music is a bit of a downer, though. Coming from Turtles in Time, which had one of the best soundtracks on the SNES, to this bland rock/hip-hop sounding soundtrack is a bit of a letdown. Even Out of the Shadows had Partners in Kryme’s Turtle Power playing in the main menu.
All in all, it’s not a bad TMNT game. Sure, the bosses may take too many hits to take down, and the combat will become a mash-fest after a while, but with a few buddies online, I had a pretty fun time seeing the lean green fighting machines back in action. There’s a decent amount to unlock here, and while it may be a bit of a button masher, the counter and parry abilities give it a bit of tactical feel. It’s not going to blow anyone’s socks off, but for a TMNT fan, this beat ‘em up is still a decent time when partnering up.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.