It’s PAX East 2022 time, and I recently had the chance to go hands-on with Dotemu’s and Tribute Games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge. And when I say I had some time with the game, I meant to say that I didn’t want to stop playing it. Sadly, I couldn’t capture direct gameplay, so this will have to do. That’s ok, as I have a lot to talk about, thanks to having some hands-on with the game. That and Tribute Games had recently released gameplay footage to look at.
So, check that out and read my impressions, dang it.
**Insert This GAME is freaking amazing** — Keith, don’t forget to remove this…… Oops!
Yes, I finally played it
While the past TMNT games had several characters to pick from, you only really had different ranges. Leo and Mikey had a medium-range, Donny was the long-ranged fighter, and Ralph was for those who liked short-ranged but quick attacks. With TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, that all changes. The playable characters have specific attributes; power, range, and speed. Meaning that each character has something for everyone and that everyone has something different to bring to the table.
While I didn’t have as much time as I wanted, I did get some hands-on with April O’Neil. She’s one of the characters who’s never been playable in a TMNT game, and I wanted to try her. After a few minutes, I fell in love with her. She’s similar to Blaze from Streets of Rage. Fast and nimble, but she doesn’t pack a lot of power, and she can’t take a hit. Still, her playstyle was fun, and I typically enjoy faster-type characters. Her special also covers a lot of distance as she takes out a mallet (or at least I thought it was) and covers a lot of area with this attack. The trade-off is that it isn’t very strong either. This, again, shows how each character varies, and it will take a bit of time to see which character is your favorite versus which one is better for your style of play.
April drops her mic in a sassy style that has to be seen. I found it hilarious.
Speaking of specials, each character has a special move that can be pulled off at any time. Once that’s done, you’ll have to build up the meter to perform the special again. While that’s not a new tactic, the meter does fill up rapidly, and it isn’t a chore like it is in order games. You can also store multiple special move charges, and the game will constantly remind you that you’ll need to use what you’ve already had on tap.
Yes, there’s a combo meter, and you’ll be fighting with other players to raise yours. This means you’ll try to kill everything in sight. You can extend that combo as long as you don’t get hit. I noticed that the grace period between hitting someone and waiting for the next bunch of cannon fodder was quite long. I asked about that, and while I didn’t get a definite answer, I was told the period was quite long. This is fantastic to know, as the grace period in Streets of Rage 4 was much too short, in my opinion.
Every character also has access to a dash (button) that is specific to them. April has a backward/forward flip with some iframes (invincibility frames) at the start and end. It was helpful for dodging attacks or moving in for attacks a bit faster.
Visually, the game has the signature Tribute Games look, a 16-bit pixelated look that brings a certain charm. The music so far was made up of arranges from classic tracks from the games and cartoon shows. Even the four original voice actors from the cartoon show also returned to reprise their roles. It was very familiar and reminded me of the TMNT: Turtles in Time SNES title. The foot soldiers varied in colors and attacks, while open maintenance holes would still plummet your character into the dark for a few seconds, all with a comical response.
The stages were still horizontal and vertical, with pizzas scattered to heal you and various items to smack into enemies. Cars that would slam into you were also there, but only this time you could see the foot drivers in them, cluing you to it was going to attempt to run you over. There’s also a new item that, when picked up, will let you perform special moves indefinitely, well, until it runs out.
Even many familiar faces, including Rocksteady and Bebop, have returned. But that’s not all, as The Channel 6 cameraman, Vernon, also appeared but was a captive of Bebop, of which you needed to free. Roadkill Rodneys, Baxter Stockman (he is in the intro), and so many others. I had asked who else would make an appearance, but you know how that went. No? They wouldn’t tell me. They did mention that there will be over 20 different bosses that will make an appearance—some from the TV show, some from the cartoon, and some that will be completely new.
How does it play?
I suppose that’s the important question, and you’ll be pleased to know that this plays like the TMNT: Turtles in Time and TMNT: The Arcade Game, but even better. Every second I played, I could feel my inner child screaming, “I Love Being a Turtle.” While my time with the game wasn’t as long as I’d like, I can say that what I played was damn-near perfect. The controls felt great; there was no lag or delay when moving the characters around. The hit detection was spot on, and yes, enemies can still get in cheap shots every so often. You’re either staggered or sent flying when you’re hit but can recover by pressing a button. The Super Nintendo Mode 7 toss is in the game and was easy to perform.
There’s a result screen for every level that shows how well you did, and it also serves for bragging rights. Here, you can see who did what, who had more knockouts, who took all the items, etc. It’s like what we all did when we played the older games with friends. I didn’t think to ask if the scores will end up on a leaderboard, but when I see the staff again, I’ll be sure to ask.
Another thing that I found interesting is when a player is knocked down, you can revive them by feeding them some pizza. This is an excellent addition, and I can already see people begging to be revived and some friendships being tested.
The full game will include several modes, including story and arcade modes. The story mode is the easier of the two and will serve as the lower difficulty mode, while the arcade mode will be much harder. When I asked if the difficulty would be ramped up if more people joined in, I didn’t get a response. Maybe that’s a yes, or maybe they didn’t include it. Online coop is also in, so you can stop asking. You can have several people playing couch coop, with the others jumping in from the internet.
The TL;DR, this game is a homage to everything that is TMNT games, and I want it NOW!
So when is the game releasing?
I tried several times to get the release date for the game, but the staff on hand was too crafty and didn’t fall for our tricks. However, they did reveal that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge will be released this Summer 2022. Sorry, but we tried.
Though, we did find out that Limited Run Games would be handling the physical version in North America. A small victory, but we’ll take it.
Based on the build I played, I felt like the game could be released now. It played like a dream, and I wanted to play more of the game. I plan on heading back to the booth tomorrow to brave the lines and get in some more playtime. Still, this will be a blast, either if you’re playing by yourself or with others. I can’t wait until this game gets released. Whenever that is.