TMNT: Totally Mundane Ninja Turtles.
Have you ever watched your childhood gunned down in front of you? Because that is what it was like playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. I grew up on the old-school cartoon and movies, had a ton of action figures as a kid, and even had the album put out by the turtles with a post of it over my bed. I also didn't have many friends.
So you probably wouldn't be surprised when I say I was looking forward to this game. I mean, who wasn't? A Turtles game developed by Platinum Games with a groovy comic book art style, how could it go wrong? But wrong it is, oh so wrong.
Let me start with the good. The game is easy on the eyes as it has that comic book or concept art look that Borderlands popularized. And thankfully the game only lasts around three hours.
Now for the bad, aka everything else. First off, the Turtles have noses or nose bumps at least; as far as I can tell, this game isn't based on any specific iteration of the franchise, even though it is made in collaboration with Nickelodeon, whose cartoon is sans noses. The only iteration I'm aware of with noses is the recent movies, the second of which comes out next week.
Speaking of that, I have a feeling this game was rushed out to be on shelves for when the movie hits. It makes sense, as there has been much marketing aside from multiple leaks leading up to the reveal. I'm starting to wonder if half of these video game 'leaks' aren't on purpose for marketing reasons, as gaming sites rush to put out any leaked information as it garners lots of clicks and also gets the public speculating.
There is more evidence to it being rushed as well, such as many of the levels reusing assets from early levels, and the combat not even close to the standard we have come to expect from Platinum's games. I'm a huge fan of beat-'em-ups, but it seems like most in 3D just rely on mindless button mashing with no real strategy, and often have camera issues. Mutants in Manhatten is no exception. While button mashing through tons of enemies can be fun, the dull mashing is amplified here by enemies that just soak up damage for far too long before giving in. This is especially apparent during boss fights as they each have five health bars total to deplete before they die, which you think would happen quickly as there are always four turtles working on them.
You can play with up to four players, but online only as Activision claims split screen impacts the frame rate, which I find hard to believe considering the game only runs at 30 frames per second. Having local co-op missing, which is a staple of TMNT games, would be something to be upset about if the game weren't sewage.
Aside from generic button-mashing, players can switch between characters on the fly, command the AI turtles to stay still, follow them, attack, and can use special moves. These moves can be done in combination with other turtles to team-up, delivering more damage. Upon use, however, they have a cooldown timer like an ability would in an MOBA- or MMO-style game, which is just one of many popular genres that TMNT borrows from.
It is as if someone sat down and made a list of 'what is popular with the kids these days in games' and tried to shoehorn pieces of them into this game. Aside from abilities. there are stealth, crafting, level progression, and levels that feel like pieces of a larger open world game that never was. Oh, and mechs for some reason.
Somehow even the audio is hot garbage, as you'll not only be hearing repetitive lines over and over from April O'Neil (played by the talented Ashley Burch), but the soundtrack is made up of songs that seem comprised of looping guitar riffs. I can honestly say this game has one of the worst soundtracks I've ever had the displeasure of hearing in my life. I wanted to mute my TV so bad, but instead, I persevered for the sake of you all, dear readers. You're welcome.
All the cringy childlike jokes and dialogue throughout the game and Nickelodeon being involved makes me feel like this is intended to be a game for kids, but for some reason is rated T for Teen by the ESRB, which may be even further evidence this was rushed. I can't imagine why this game is rated T, but surely it wouldn't have taken much to get it knocked down to at least E10? I'm not sure, though, how many parents even pay attention to or care about ratings, just seems like a missed opportunity.
Aside from the graphics, everything here stinks, which makes sense because a lot of the game takes place in the sewers, and also because this game is crap.