Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge just launched for all major systems, and completely lived up to our expectations. Here are our thoughts on the PlayStation 4 version, which was developed by Tribute Games and is being published by Dotemu.
If you were around as a gamer circa 1990, and stepped foot inside an arcade, then some of the most exciting titles were four-player games like Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. Although other brawlers had given us two player action before, taking control of all four of the then massively popular characters at once was pretty groundbreaking, and it’s one of the most fondly remembered arcade games of all time.
Although the Turtles aren’t at the height of their popularity today, we got very excited when we learned about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge – it wasn’t just a throwback to the classic arcade games, but it was also being published by Dotemu, who have shown us they understand retro brawling with games like Streets of Rage 4. And although this doesn’t have the same developer, it’s another loving homage to a classic, full of charm and fan service.
Some of that charm comes from the excellent pixel art, which brings back Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo with a similar look and feel to the arcade original, but with additional detail and improved animations. Longtime fans will also appreciate the chance to play with Master Splinter or April this time around, and completing the cast of playable characters is Casey. You’ll notice a similar approach to level and background designs too, and from foot soldiers to Shredder himself, there’s a whole range of familiar enemies that evoke a feeling of nostalgia.
That also translates to the gameplay, which is a delightful throwback to a time where you could just pop in a quarter and start mashing away at buttons. While there are nuances and skills you can learn, this is a very accessible game that anyone can just pop into and have fun with. You can alternate between throws, sliding, dashing and jumping in between your regular and special/charged attacks, but even a non-gamer or young player can have fun just walking around and mashing the standard attack button.
As an homage to an arcade game, Shredder’s Revenge only has sixteen levels and isn’t the longest game out there – though it’s longer than the arcade game that inspired it and should clock in at over two hours even on a fast run. And for the entire duration of a playthrough, there’s a great soundtrack to enjoy – one that’s diverse and a great fit for the retro look and feel of the game. It’s not the biggest appeal in terms of sound though – that would be the original voice cast coming back to dub the game, although the voice acting is strangely limited to in-game action and isn’t featured in the cutscenes.
As with the original arcade game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a title best enjoyed with others. And where four players used to be the norm and beat ’em ups were often of the local multiplayer variety, this one can be played locally as well as online with up to six players at once. Sure, you can play solo, but you’ll find there’s less replay value in the game that way – especially when you compare it to games like Streets of Rage 4, which has tons of unlockables whereas Shredder’s Revenge is more a case of “what you see if what you get”, apart from a few in-game secrets and collectibles and a bit of a grind if you want to unlock all the trophies.
The game is low on gameplay modes as well, but with its campaign and arcade modes it’s a ton of fun to play, especially if you’re yearning for that arcade-like experience that you can jump into with a couple of friends. For old school fans this is a brilliant homage, and for newcomers it’s something that’s easy to jump into and have some multiplayer fun with.