Growing up in a glass bowl with chameleons, lizards, and tadpoles. It hardly enters your mind that there’s something better than this. That something better is arcade action titles. TMNT thrived in the 80s and 90s arcades with two massive hits and home ports of those arcade hits. Since then, the Heroes in a Half Shell haven’t had much gaming success. One developer is looking to change that.
Tribute Games developed a game that I glowed about here a couple years ago called Panzer Paladin which at the time I said did an absolutely incredible job at capturing the feel and aesthetic of a classic NES action game without even attempting to make it a 1:1 retro experience. It’s a formula that’s incredibly effective at updating a game style you might love but not tying you down to outdated limitations of yesteryear’s hardware. And that’s exactly what they are doing again with TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge.
Every single aspect of this game is designed to invoke the memory of 1987 TMNT. Every character, every location, all of the iconography. Love and respect for the history of the TMNT cartoon fills the screen and soundtrack at all times. The opening “attract screen” is a recreation of the original cartoons opening theme, so you know immediately what this game is going to give.
If you’ve played either TMNT Arcade or Turtles in Time (or even the TMNT GBA adaption, which has a lineage directly connected to this new title, as some of the devs worked on that game too) you have the basic understanding of what to expect. All of the classic arcade game tropes and gimmicks are in full effect, but they didn’t just sit back and call it a day. It would have been enough honestly, at least from a hype standpoint. They modernized the mechanics. You have your typical combo attacks, jumps, and throws (including the Mode 7 style at the screen throws) but now you have quick dash’s, taunts that autorefill you special gauge and special moves. Every character moves different and has their own stats. It’s deeper than the older games where the differences were mostly range based.
Speaking of characters, Tribute has included two new playable characters to the game. April and Splinter are brand new and in my hands on I played as Splinter, because if I’m going to try a new game, you have to try a new character. Animations are smooth, attacks have good weight to them. It all just feels tight and complete. The game will feature online play as well and the devs tell me that you will be able to mix and match couch and online for your full 4 player experience that is getting harder and harder for us to pull off. After each stage you are given a score and awards are handed out. In this playthrough where I played with another person playing as April (who does a mic drop pose on the stage complete screen, by the way) I was awarded the Item Hoarder award, because I kept collecting the Pizza Powerups that do more than just health refills now. No official release date has been announced, however they are aiming for Summer 2022, and if you have any fondness for the original Teens In Green, you’ll definitely need to keep your eyes peeled.