Inspired by the recent Nickelodeon cartoon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC) is a fun third-person hack & slash action game that will engage fans of that kid-friendly animated series. But for older gamers who instead grew up on the ’80s cartoon or the original comic books — in which they were as big on Metallica as they were pizza — this game probably won’t hold your attention.
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan, the heroes on a half shell once again have to defend their hometown of New York City when Shredder and General Kang send their minions on a crime spree. Which is why you spend the bulk of this game smacking ninjas and other dickweeds around…well, when you’re not eating pizza, that is.
As a hack & slash action game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan works well. The controls are responsive and intuitive whether you’re engaged in combat, climbing up the side of a building, or sliding along a railing or wire like you’re the the hero of Sunset Overdrive or the new Rachet & Clank. These adolescent morphed reptile warriors can even, oddly, use their shells like parachutes, gracefully gliding like young, flying squirrels who’ve been genetically-modified and are somewhat sneaky.
As for the combat, while each turtle has his usual weapon, which they can use hard or fast or in combination with a little jump, they also as some effective tag-team attacks that can really devastate their enemies. Which, admittedly, isn’t hard; though there are some tough ones, the bad guys in this game largely rely more on quantity than quality. Though the game does a good job of making sure the turtles are evenly balanced. Sure, it might seem like Leonardo or Raphael would be your best options, given how they use swords and sais, respectfully, but Michelangelo is just as adept with his nunchakus, while Donatello ‘s skill with his staff puts him on par with Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Well, Rey from the Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars: The Force Awakens playset, anyway.
For most of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan, you’ll be running from one smack down to the next on the streets and rooftops of medium-sized and enclosed sections of the city, as well as in the relatively (but not entirely) linear subways and sewers. Mixing things up, though only slightly, there are times when those battles have to be finished in a certain amount of time, while other skirmishes require you to take back what the bad guys are trying to steal, and still others have you disarming a bomb or three.
It’s here that older gamers will begin to have problems with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan. While kids might not mind that this is a relatively simple button masher, older gamers will lament its lack of variety, that’s it’s on the short side, and that you fight more in the sewers than you do in the more diverse streets. Which is why, after a mission or two, I found my mind started to wander.
But redundancy, brevity, and location aren’t the only problems I, as an old man, had with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan. For starters, your enemies can be kind of dumb. While some will block your attacks, and others will come at you from behind when their BBFs launch a frontal assault, others will just stand there while you defuse their bombs. I even once watched as a bunch walked into the path of an incoming subway.
Though, to be honest, your fellow turtles aren’t that bright, either. They don’t always follow you, don’t always go to the next objective right away, and yes, they too don’t always understand that getting hit by a train can cause bruising and swelling.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan also has the similar visual issue as Batman Arkham Knight and Rise Of The Tomb Raider. While you can use an alternate vision mode to locate enemies, objectives, and any secret stuff, doing so makes this vivid cel-shaded game look washed out. Which wouldn’t be bad if people, places, and things stayed highlighted after you switch back to your normal vision, but since they don’t, you’re stuck using this visual mechanic all the time.
It also makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan feel a little cheap that you can’t break stuff. Not wooden boxes, not enemy’s desks, nada. Sure, you can throw red barrels filled with gasoline that someone left lying around where any kid could find them, but that’s kind of it when it comes to using the environment.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan also has a bland and ultimately forgettable story, though, thankfully, it’s easily skipped.
In the end, most of my issues with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan won’t bother anyone who knows these guys as pizza-loving cartoon characters. Especially given how some of big battles you get into are rather frantic. But as someone who’s remembers when Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael would’ve been as excited by the new reissues of Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning as they are a pizza with pepperoni and anchovies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants In Manhattan left me wondering what else was on TV.