Haven Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan

Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael

Four turtles and a very intelligent rat who got covered in glowing mutagen ooze, became humanoid and smarter. Aside from becoming as smart as humans, they have an unnatural caving for pizza, partying and talking in surf lingo. Not only do they have the names of four famous Renaissance artists, they are also highly skilled ninjas. Eventually they crawled out from the sewers and decided it was a good idea to fight crime, as the city is infested with “Foot Ninjas” commanded by the terrible masked Ninja Lord “Shredder” and his

Worst bomb disarming scenario ever!

questionable henchmen. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) is a comic book turned into an animated series, then another series and one more series after that (not to mention several games). Personally, I never grew up with the turtles, but I’ve watched some here and there in different incarnations. Some of them are actually quite good and very entertaining. Regretfully, English is my second language and I can’t pronounce the name of this game! TMNT is an action game, where you fight as one turtle, while the rest is CPU-controlled. You can also play with others online. Let me tell you, the AI is not very smart, nor is combat rewarding, interesting or engaging at all; you will die a lot. Luckily, reviving is as simple as pressing the correct key. This is at least a thing the computer is very good at, they are quite relentless in their quest for revival. Too bad this does not hold true for survival. The basic strategy is to beat things until they stop moving, and flail at floating foes! The enemy is not much better. The lot of them can get stuck in different places and spawn out of nowhere. The worst example of this is a bomb-diffusal mission in the middle of a subway track with speeding trains. Unless the timing was picture-perfect, it was impossible to disarm the bomb.

A visually confusing slow mo finish!

This is done by holding down a key until a bar is filled. The moment I was almost done, the damn train ran me over and flung me into another oncoming train, which in turn made me a permanent wall fixture. That is the biggest problem with the game. Sequences where I have to transport something somewhere are total crap…even if they did an honest attempt at making it varied, such as balancing on a ball. Fortunately, there is a silver lining to it all. Most of these minor quests only incur a light penalty if failed. However they all have a pesky timer. Each level has a boss at the end, who is taken straight out of the turtles rogue gallery, and they are all dumb as stones. That’s saying something when one of the more beefy mooks roaming the levels is just that, a rock soldier!


Anyone familiar with the way Platinum Games handles combat, then there is not much to say. One of the level’s random orbs has a small chance of dropping a random usable item and points that can be used to upgrade abilities. When the player reaches a certain level, each turtle can be equipped with four different abilities and charms, which add extra bonuses. Other special attacks have a healthy cooldown timer. All turtles can spam shuriken and normal attacks, When the enemy eventually glows red or orange, the player can dodge and instantly retaliate, with correct timing. Don’t expect your AI partner to do such things. It will just do a relentless series of attacks and focus on reviving its allies, including the player. Every now and then it’s possible to stealth-kill enemies that have not seen you yet. It’s possible to give the AI different orders, but those just make them even dumber and more useless. The best bet is to wail at the enemy with sharp pointy things instead. It’s totally possible to grind on any sort of railing in the levels, from feces to pipes and electric cords, where live wires could be considered a serious problem.

Multiplayer is a very streamlined and simple process. However it’s not possible to turn voice capture off; only to set the volume to zero. Luckily there are very few annoying kids to play with. I’m not convinced people actually play this game or know of its existence. Bosses are terrible things with annoying patterns and horrid attacks that must be dodged at all costs. The environment is also littered with ulockables, such as comic book covers from the original series. Too bad it’s not the comics themselves.  Replayability comes from the different difficultly levels, skills to unlock and grinding.

TMNT is the riveting poster boy for being repetitive. The music is composed of short loops that keep on going and going and going. I can’t stand those at all. The fact that the whole cast has way too few lines does not help at all, either. Hurling ninja stars will cause the current turtle to switch between two lines of dialogue, which are not very good. The voices are okay for the most part. The models in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are decent, cartoonish and quite polished. The same goes for the levels, that unfortunately reuse assets a lot. The new sewer system clearly goes all the way down to the center of the earth and also comes with an intelligent sewer shark. Despite how similar the turtles look, there has been a vague attempt at giving them different personalities (aside from their tell tale weapons and color-coded masks). One is a glutton and a walking joke, while one is kind of serious and short-tempered. Then there is the overexplained geek and the snarky thrill-seeker. The voices and cut scenes are not bad, and the character animations are decent, I’ll give the game that.

Game play video, its a must watch!

Personally I can’t recommend this title at all, unless you happen to be a masochistic die-hard turtle fan, and are also bored. At least it has a decent frame rate, polished graphics and cartoon-like art direction. A friend or two is recommended for optimal happy fun time.

If you feel like it, here is the Steam store page.


Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Njål H Sand-