The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid and the Turtles keep getting updated with new looks and voices to follow the new trends in pop culture over the years. There have been many TMNT games including one of the all-time greats, Turtles in Time, but overall games following the ‘heroes in a half shell’ have been less than stellar. With TMNT: Out of the Shadows, developer Red Fly Studio hoped to re-invent the Turtle fighting games and bring the heroes back with a bang. Unfortunately while there’s some solid fun to be hand, the game lacks the polish and depth to be anything more than a fun beat-em-up to play once or twice with a friend.

The game has a very distinct art style that seems to be loosely (very loosely) based on the newer television series. The environments look fine, but the turtles seem to be some amalgamation of Godzilla and the Turtles of old. At first it’s a bit off-putting, but you eventually get used to it. The story follows the typical cartoon beats, Shredder is up to no good, kidnaps April, and it’s up to you to save the world (e.g. New York City) as well as April in the process. Let’s be honest, you won’t be playing this game for story, but there’s a small bit there if you want it. The level variation is pretty well done. You jump from city streets, to rooftops, to sewers, and everywhere in-between. While the world art is a bit janky, overall everything looks serviceable for an arcade title.

The gameplay is likely the best part of this new TMNT game, even though it is not all that great either. When in battle the fighting system follows a similar style to the Batman Arkham games, but not near as fluid. You have a one-button counter move that you need to hit when the enemies have a signal over their heads, and aside from that you’re mainly hitting light or heavy attacks to help build your power meter. When you get a bar of the meter full you can do a move with the right stick that deals more damage than usual. When the bar is completely full you get a prompt to do an execution style move that generally knocks the enemy out in one hit. Generally in each level you just move, fight, clear, move, fight, clear, and repeat until a boss battle. I didn’t hate the combat but I never really felt like I did when mastering the Arkham games’ combat. It all just feels clunky and repetitive, and you’ll often run into issues with the fixed camera placement.

The game also contains a hub area, the Turtles sewer home, where you can create upgrades for your weapons, train, and even access a solid “arcade” TMNT game that you unlock as you play the main storyline. This arcade mode felt much better than the main game, and takes on a side-scrolling perspective. It features the same combat as the main story however, so it still feels a bit clunky.

TMNT Out of the Shadows is a solid game if you’re looking for something to play with your kid, or with a friend in co-op. It’s not, however, a solid game if you’re looking for the next awesome TMNT game, or even if you’re looking for a well put-together beat ’em up game for a lower price. There are a handful of bugs, and just a general clunky feeling to the game’s mechanics and movement. If you’re hankering for some TMNT give the demo a download first to see what you’re in for. After playing Out of the Shadows I once again find myself waiting for the next great TMNT game.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows Trailer

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out Of the Shadows Gameplay