There’s something utterly exciting about the prospect of bringing the radical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to new consoles with a developer like Platinum behind them. The developer is best known for fast-paced fluid combat with a flair for the extravagance. It hurts then to say that this isn’t the Platinum Games we know and love from games like Bayonetta 2 and Metal Gear Rising: Reveangence. This is the team that brought you the dull Legend of Korra.
Developed by Platinum Games and out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is co-op action game with plenty of abilities at your disposal. It’s the game design and repetitive combat though that keeps it from every being truly enjoyable. The story is about as standard as you’d expect from the TMNT gang. Shredder hates them, they hate Shredder and the heroes in a half-shell must take out a bunch of known enemies in order to stop Shredder.
That would be fine though if the gameplay is just not what you’d expect from the turtles. You spend a lot of time doing the exact same few objectives like defusing bombs, and taking out waves of the same enemies over and over again. Thankfully, the missions themselves only last a couple of minutes each and all of it can be played with up to three other people online. The second part is important because on your own, it can become quite a micro-management mess as each character has four abilities which you can choose from a range of around 30. So, imagine taking on one of the bullet-sponge bosses and trying to remember not only which character has the ability equipped but which button its assigned to also.
Thankfully, the game’s saving grace is its cooperative multiplayer. You can team up with up to three other people to take on the repetitive enemies and bullet-sponge bosses but having just one single character to worry about makes the game so much more enjoyable. Everything seems to fit better like the game was designed to be played online and then give players the option to play solo rather than the other way around. It’s not a terribly long game though. Especially online with others, don’t expect the game to ever break the six hour mark. For a game with very little else to play through, this is disappointing. The lack of variety to the gameplay though means that it never actually feels too short because more of the same would not be a good thing.
Combat itself looks good as do the turtles as they spin around enemies and bosses. Even though the combat system may feel simplistic, it feels spot on. When things start to really flow well together, you can’t help but see the glimpses of Platinum magic breaking through the cracks of mediocrity. Those flashing moments of brilliance is what keeps you hooked, even if it never capitalises on them.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mutants in Manhattan is a disappointing game but it’s also not a bad game. With the developer attached to it and the IP itself, it was hard not to get excited for it. It’s simple and fun with moments of bliss that’s ultimately surrounded in repetitive scenarios.
A bit more than a shell of a game. 3/5.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan at CeX
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