Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan

And the beat em' up suffers another defeat.

If I hadn’t already lost complete faith in the beat’ em up genre by now, then this recent venture may have completely killed my interest for it altogether. If not, then it’s definitely in a critical state. TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan co-released by Platinum Games and Activision continues the problems that have run rampant in the beat’ em up, with a game that is totally a step backwards for what was once a very proud and ambitious genre. Ironically though, it was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise that, at least to some of us, was the clear beginning of this genre’s decline beginning with Turtles in Time back in the early 90’s. I do realize that game is considered a classic by many, but when compared to earlier titles of its type it was indeed a step back; had that not have been a Turtles game no one would remember it, and I’m sure no one is going to remember this title at least not in a good way despite the license. I am terribly disappointed by this game because I did come into it with very high hopes, especially since Platinum was directly behind Transformers: Devastation which focused on the beat’ em up aspect and was quite an amazing game. If you played that, don’t come into this expecting anything of the sort. Mutants in Manhattan’s only real strength lies in the fan service.

Mutants in Manhattan is clearly based on the IDW comic in regards to its artwork and even character mannerisms. Pre-intelligent Slash is about as dimwitted and slow one would expect, and Karai seems duty bound to complete her mission and is every bit as aggressive; with the Shredder among many other bosses feeling like the ultimate threat. Other than its characters though I see little that reminds me of the comic I had been reading over the last 4 years. Therefore, that claim on complete source material loyalty can be dismissed.

The story begins with a Shredder and Krang Alliance being put to work, and the Turtles spring into battle responding to a bank robbery committed by the Foot Clan. As things move forward the four brothers along with April piece together something big is in the works. Right away the problems begin with this game being so barebones. The player will choose one Turtle while the other three are AI controlled. The truth is, it really doesn’t matter which Turtle is chosen because there isn’t much of a difference between them besides range of attack and Michelangelo feels a bit faster than the rest. In addition, the player can swap out between them at any point as long as the Turtles are conscious, in which they can be knocked out in battle and the player will have a few seconds to revive them simply by helping the brother off the ground and vice versa. The combat is very repetitive and gets very boring really quickly. The Turtles only have two strings to work with and a projectile move. There are also four special attacks that can be used, but they really don’t add much. The game is a button masher you can dodge around in once in awhile, along with a somewhat difficult parry to pull off. I really didn’t need to master that move, because the game is so easy to run through until the very cheap boss encounters.

The combat is too chaotic and feels directionless. It’s possible all three Turtles will find the fight and you’re wandering around looking for something. Numerous times the gang would be delivering punishment, and before I got there they left little for me to do. Plus the small amount of objectives such as carrying or riding an object from point A to B, or defusing bombs are simply boring and feel tacked on. I would say they break up the pacing, but the pacing is so annoying in this game that it needs to be broken up. The boss battles are ultra cheap brawl-fest with the enemies delivering very powerful moves that can swat the whole gang away from them. The boss battles are too long, too chaotic, and feel like they also lack direction. After the first stage I lost about 50% interest, by the fourth when I had to scale buildings, I wanted this thing to end already and that’s the sad part. This game is about 5-6 hours and it felt a lot longer than that.

The controls are pretty spot on and accessing the other abilities along with swapping out functions properly. I like the visuals which follows the comic quite well. The character designs are amazing and there are so many I enjoyed just looking at. Rocksteady and Bebop look awesome along with Shredder. The stage designs unfortunately felt bland and quite lifeless. I was literally being put to sleep and had to play this game in small doses. Plus the soundtrack is terribly non existent. It’s completely lacking that energetic punch for a game of this type.

Many people have already bashed this game for the lack of local co-op, but honestly, I can’t imagine this game being much better even with it. I played through it once solo simply to get the feel of it and finish it, but I didn’t last long during an online replay at all. The game simply isn’t fun to me despite the skill upgrades that can be obtained leveling up.

In closing, I can only see serious Ninja Turtles fans enjoying this at all. Those who have played a lot of brawlers of this type and demands a lot from them should stay away. I’m pretty sure this game would have been panned a lot harder if not for the name. I highly suggest Transformers: Devastation to those whom missed it if you want a good enough story that can trigger those nostalgic buttons, along with some very solid brawler game play, and better developed boss battles.


The Verdict


The Good: Delivers on some fan service, nice character designs

The Bad: Very boring fighting mechanics, annoyingly cheap boss battles, not enough depth all around


  1. gargantuagames June 15, 2016 9:29 am 

    Glad to see you’re back!

    “I was literally being put to sleep and had to play this game in small doses. ”

    TMNT ARCADE ATTACK all over again. 🙁

    “In addition, the player can swap out between them at any point as long as the Turtles are conscious, in which they can be knocked out in battle…”

    I really don’t understand the reason for this. Why do modern TMNT developers continue to think this is a good idea? Its not like the arcade games served as a reference point…once you selected a turtle in there, you were stuck with him. The only “classic” entry to feature this system (to the best of my memory) was the original TMNT game for the NES, and I don’t think that’s considered a fan favorite at all. It was also reintroduced in TMNT II: BATTLE NEXUS, widely panned as one of the worst of the next gen TMNT games. This decision just bugs me because if you can swap between the Turtles, you’re not challenged to become familiar with their individual strengths and weaknesses and consequently they all kind of meld together and lack identity in the long run.

    Anyways…I wish I could say I was more disappointed, but given the franchises bad track record in recent years, I’m not surprised.

    • Luquillo June 22, 2016 1:06 pm 

      Thanks, I’m a see if I can get at least two more reviews out before this month is over. After that, at least until mid August I’ll be able to do a lot of gaming.

      This is pretty damn close to arcade attack all over again, because of these games are so bare bones to the point of wondering how they were even green-lighted at all.

      This game left me very disappointed in particular, because Platinum did such a magnificent job with Transformers: Devastation I was expecting to be blown away.

      And as far as individual strengths… They have none! You are playing the same Turtle over and over again with shitty gameplay on top of it. And I played Battle Nexus. It was just as bad as its predecessor. I’m done with the Turtles beat’ em up games for good this time. I’m not touching another one until I read a ton of legit reviews telling me that game is near perfect. This was literally a complete waste of my time.

  2. gargantuagames June 24, 2016 1:28 pm 

    “This is pretty damn close to arcade attack all over again, because of these games are so bare bones to the point of wondering how they were even green-lighted at all.”

    It baffles me as well. Especially considering that a game like MIM has a far bigger budget and (probably) has a longer development time than any of the arcade Turtles games ever did. Yet somehow it seems to come off with less depth.

    Regarding Platinum Games, they do have an uneven track record when it comes to licensed games. Although DEVASTATION was well received, LEGEND OF KORRA was a flop. You’d think though with such a recognizable brand name like TMNT, they would give it their best, but I guess not. All I can speculate is that this game was most likely rushed to coincide with the release of the new film.

    “And as far as individual strengths… They have none!”

    Same reaction as above. How could a TMNT game released in 2016 have such a glaring oversight? Seriously…you cant even take the time to make 4 playable characters feel unique? Even lesser beat em ups like DYNASTY WARRIORS feature over 40 playable…some with widly different movesets and strengths. It really does not feel acceptable in this day and age to come up short in that regard.

    • Luquillo June 25, 2016 4:13 pm 

      I forgot how awful Legend of Korra is, and it may be worse than this. I wouldn’t dare replay it to find out. I know Platinum are hit and miss but I still had some hopes for this, because it’s difficult to believe still, how the mark with TMNT is constantly missed; and even more infuriating is how people are defending this game. If this was called anything else it would be universally panned.

      I’m more or less convinced that we will never see the ambition and love this genre received in the late 80’s to early 90’s. I still pull out Streets of Rage 2 when I get the feel for this type of gaming.

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