Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan PS4 Review
The very core of TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan could only be described as ‘classic PlatinumGames-esque action-packed crazy-fun combat that portrays the source material so incredibly well that I only wish it would have released with an accompanying movie or series. Unfortunately, it’s also short. Damn short. There are just nine stages, including a cop-out boss rush, with each one lasting only between 15-25 minutes and that’s without rushing straight to the objectives. This terribly short game length is made especially worse when so much time is wasted on pure nonsense between the combat sections. Running up buildings and grinding cables around a city fighting bad guys and completing side missions is awesome but it wears down fast due the the lack of variation. There are very few mission types – fight the bad guys, fight the bad guys whilst protecting something, or fight the bad guys then hold a button down for 30 seconds to defuse a few bombs or something similar.
Easily the most exciting sections are the end-of-level boss fights which are all unique and can become quite challenging even early on. It requires the player to learn about parrying and dodging in between mashing a combination of light and heavy attacks, or at least to know when to move out of the way of a big incoming attack which can almost drain a Turtle’s entire pizza-based health bar. Fortunately, all four Turtles play through the stages together, whether playing alone with the AI or online as a single character (sadly there is no local play). This means that the you can be revived once downed or, if nobody can get to you in time, be dropped back into the Turtle’s layer to slowly restore your health by mashing a button to eat pizza before returning to the fight, or simply switched another character if playing alone. Commands can also be issued to team mates, such as ‘protect me’ for defusing a bomb or ‘wait’ when trying to stealth attack a group of enemies. I am absolutely sure these commands don’t change the AI one bit as they seem to just run about however they like, which is very realistic as it actually does feel just like playing online.
Especially when fighting bosses it’s imperative to keep switching characters and activating all of the ‘ninjutsu’ attacks as often as possible for maximum damage or to heal up etc. Each Turtle’s loadout consists of four super attacks and one or more charms that buff certain aspects of the character specifically or the player overall, such as increasing attack damage or reducing the cost of one-use items. Whilst it is good to be able to build each Turtle up separately however you please, there are a few problems. Firstly, it costs training points to level up ninjutsu’s and once they’re up to level 3 or 4 the cost can become quite large. Obviously these highly upgraded powers are going to be the best so really it’s better to have all the characters use just a select few of the same powers instead of every character having their own weak powers. Also, it’s pretty annoying to have to flip through all four characters, one at a time, in order upgrade ninjutsus and weigh up any newly collected charms every 15 minutes if you want to min-max the characters.
Between the hectic, fun combat and repetitive missions, the connecting story is pretty standard – April and Donatello notice there is a lot of criminal activity in the city that seems to somehow be connected. So it’s the job of the Turtles to find out what’s going on, which takes them along a string of events fighting through each of the major villains from the series on the way, from Bebop and Rocksteady all the way up to Shredder and Krang. It really does feel like an small arc in the TV show. The way everyone interacts, the dialog, the personalities, the serious-yet-playful bond the four brothers share. It’s all dead on and just incredibly fun to watch unfold as it mixes classic character tropes with a new spin.
As mentioned above the game is only about 3 hours long and unless you want to get an S rank on all 9 stages on all difficulties there’s really no reason to replay it at all. Although, for some reason, it is still being sold as a fully priced game – currently £39.99 on the PlayStation store. For that price I’m afraid I absolutely can’t recommend TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan at all. It’s a great Sunday morning bargain bin type game that will be quickly forgotten. It’s terribly unfortunate because it leaves you wishing a lot more effort or time would have been poured into the development. The game has the right idea but it needed to be worked on, extended, instead of being thrown together how it was. It had the potential to be something great and it’s a crying shame that we’re unlikely to ever see a TMNT game come that close again.
You can watch our complete playthrough of TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan right here: