mutants in manhattan

Right off the bat, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANTS IN MANHATTAN gets a positive vote simply for not being a tie-in to the Michael Bay series of films. In addition, it doesn’t seem to bear a resemblance to the animated series that premieres on Nickelodeon. On top of all that, it’s also developed by Platinum Games, responsible for gems like BAYONETTA, VANQUISH, and METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE. Clearly, MUTANTS IN MANHATTAN has the pedigree for a solid title. But unfortunately the game is more Transformers than BAYONETTA.

mutants in manhattan cloaca

Steel your cloacas, boys

MUTANTS IN MANHATTAN sees the player step into the shells of the four Renaissance turtles in an effort to put a stop to unspecified shenanigans (World Domination/Destruction) caused by Shredder, Krang, and other various enemies in the Turtles’ roster. Each boss has their own stage in their own distinct area, but to get to them, players must complete various timed objectives beforehand, such as “Fight this group of enemies,” “Protect this pizza place,” and “Get this thing from point A to point B via a wacky game mechanic!” Just about each level features a subtle remix of the same group of tasks, which makes the only interesting thing about level progression the mechanics of each stage. The game wants to be a brawler, but the combat doesn’t feel good or smooth or satisfying in any way. It does offer a variety of much more powerful special attacks known as “Ninjutsu” that each turtle can equip a unique combination of, as well as a dodge and parry system, but it doesn’t do much to help the overall feeling of battle.

mutants in manhattan raphael

Raphael, always the surly one, stays true to his character by attempting to violently quit his own game

MUTANTS IN MANHATTAN seems to put a lot of value in multiplayer interactions, which would be nicer if it allowed for local co-op, which it doesn’t. It also wants you to replay missions and stages over and over in varying difficulties in order to collect the apparently large swath of secrets the game is hiding. And while it is neat to find covers of the original TMNT comics scattered about, it’s really not enough to make me want to replay the levels by myself, or with anyone for that matter, which makes the game’s miniature story length of five hours that much more noticeable.

mutants in manhattan bebop

“Pish posh, look at Bebop and Rocksteady! You LOVE Bebop and Rocksteady!”

Similar to KINGDOM HEARTS UNCHAINED χ, I can’t quite tell who this game was designed for. The writing and overall feel of the game, while undoubtedly faithful to the Turtles’ appearances in mainstream media, give it a strong sense of appealing to old nostalgic fans while also trying to appeal to kids who may have seen the show on Nickelodeon. The jokes are very reminiscent of someone elbowing you going “Eh? Ehh?” and the dialogue feels like a comic book, but not in a way that really builds on the roots of the franchise.

mutants in manhattan roots

Pictured: Roots

MUTANTS IN MANHATTAN could definitely benefit from including local co-op multiplayer. I’ll admit that I’m not sure if I played the game the “right” way by going solo on it, since I also had to contend with making sure the game’s AI didn’t ruin everything every mission, which, surprisingly, it didn’t, so hats off to Platinum for that. I did enjoy the art style’s departure from the current iteration of Turtles, and the soundtrack is alright, but nothing really to write home about. Other critics have bestowed this game with the title of Platinum’s Newest Worst Game, taking the former crown from their Legend of Korra adaptation, but it’s not terrible, and it certainly isn’t as bad as the new Star Fox. It’s just not good.

Verdict: Do Not Recommend

Reviewed on PlayStation 4, also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC

Steven Porfiri is a Crossfader guest contributor that has been slowly learning what true patrician culture is about after spending a lifetime in Bakersfield, CA. In addition to Crossfader you can find him at Top Shelf Gaming.

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