Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (PS5) Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (PS5) Review 1
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Dotemu, Gamera Games
Played On: PlayStation 5
ESRB Rating: E10 (Everyone 10+)
MSRP: 28.99
Release Date: 16/06/2022
CGM Editors Choice

I was born in the eighties and, thus, had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phase, so when I booted up Shredder’s Revenge, I immediately broke out in a dumb grin. From square one, this modern beat-em-up hits all the right nostalgia notes in its presentation. Simple menus, side-scrolling action, hordes of faceless ninja henchmen to pummel, dynamic animations, story scenes where the plot is unravelled with a few lines of dialogue and panning illustrations—it may be a brand-new title, but by all definitions, this is a classic arcade action game.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge uses all these familiar devices to revive the original 1987 cartoon series. It reaches so far into that source material, in fact, that it pulls out a host of allusions that were lost on me, making me question if I’d even watched the show at all. There are the obvious faces like Shredder, Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Baxter Stockman, but Tribute Games paid fitting tribute to the series by including a host of wacky cameos.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (Ps5) Review

You’ll encounter all these characters, recognized or not, through a sprawling, well-paced campaign. The Turtles, their sensei Splinter, and their human ally April O’Neil set out to stop Emperor Krang’s latest attempt to dominate Earth, chasing him across New York City and some otherworldly locations to boot. There are over a dozen levels, each requiring about 5-10 minutes to beat solo on normal difficulty.

If you’ve played Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, you know what to expect—especially since Tribute Games was founded by Ubisoft alumni who’d worked on that title. A stylized overworld links the levels, the environments are robust, the animations ooze source authenticity, and the challenge is tough but (mostly) fair. Unlike Scott Pilgrim’s game, however, the Turtles’ levels are just the right length, especially for replay.

“From square one, this modern beat-em-up hits all the right nostalgia notes in its presentation.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge accommodates up to six players—a feature which, granted, I was not able to test before publication. Playing solo, however, was still a great experience. The cartoon’s original voice actors returned, and their quips add that extra layer of personality, especially with a slight retro filter applied to their one-liners for lo-fi authenticity.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (Ps5) Review 4

I couldn’t help but grin while smashing my way through the first levels, but past the midway point, some shine came off the turtle shell. Most of the time, players will rely on standard attack combos and dodges. An experience system powers up each individual character, granting benefits like additional health or super attack bars, new moves, and so on.

However, it’s the power attack mechanic that began to hold me, and the game, back. Power attacks can only be used when the character has a full gauge. Until that’s filled, you’re stuck with the same limited repertoire. It’s unfortunately easy to lose those gauges, either by taking damage, losing a life, or accidentally firing the power attacks in the wrong direction.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge accommodates up to six players…”

Beat-em-ups like this typically have light and heavy attacks, but the power attacks fill that heavy role, albeit with very restricted usage. Ultimately this makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge feel more button-mashy than it should.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (Ps5) Review 3

Coupled with the standard difficulty curve, I began to cheese the system somewhat, relying on the launch-to-jumping-attack combo. Also, completing a full taunt animation fills one power gauge, so I’d often stop between encounters to repeat the same single taunt repeatedly, so I could bring full gauges to the next scrap and level the playing field.

Characterization aside, three stats separate the characters from each other; Leonardo is entirely balanced, while Raphael is strong with low range, and Donatello is weak with max range, for instance. In practice, the difference felt somewhat negligible, and the turtles somewhat samey. Fortunately having Splinter and April playable off the bat was a nice touch for variety, and the unlockable Casey Jones—who has a total of seven stat points, while the rest have six—immediately revived my interest in replaying levels.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is an absolute joy in its presentation and could fuel many multiplayer game nights.”

It’s fortunate, then, that the experience oozes character and charm (pun intended). Despite these shortcomings I was still pulled to the next new stage, eager to keep up the chase and see what happened next. A blazing retro score helps in this regard, infusing the right energy and spirit in each scene.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (Ps5) Review 2

Playing with friends and trying different characters will be the main replay draw here. There are plenty of collectibles and challenges to be found, although the latter feels somewhat lacking. Most levels have a daunting “take no damage” challenge which, in an arcade brawler like this, is a tall order. Other challenges range from “avoid being hit by obstacles x times” or the more stimulating “defeat y opponents with z move” stipulations. If Story Mode isn’t tough enough, you can brave the more classic Arcade Mode, which turns the whole game into a continuous gauntlet with limited lives and continues, and no saved progression.

At the end of the day, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is an absolute joy in its presentation and could fuel many multiplayer game nights. Granted, there’s not as much meat beneath the shell as I’d like, and characters’ skills could be a little more robust, but what’s here is a perfect stylistic love letter to a bizarre but charming cultural phenomenon from yesteryear.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can read more about CGMagazine reivew policies here.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE

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