Nickelodeon purchased most of the publishing rights to the Teenage Mutant Turtles from Mirage back in 2009, and though the TV show was rebooted a while back the newest video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, was just recently released. Based on the show, you can expect to find Baxter working for The Shredder, and the independent alien race of the Krang. The standard character archetypes are intact, and the Turtles themselves are different in that they are identifiable even without their masks or weapons, just by looking at them. For instance, Raph is built like a tank, whereas Donatello is the scrawniest of the bunch – which falls right in line with the original black-and-white comics of the mid-eighties. So did Red Fly create a smash hit, is it only a blow to your wallet? Let’s hop down the nearest manhole (snicker) and find out!
As I said, it’s a beat-em-up game, and while playing the four main chapters, the exploration is in three dimensions, though the plotline and the acting make it feel two-dimensional. Like many past and current third-person combat games there are skill trees where you can apply points to upgrade skills. Thankfully Red Fly mixes it up a bit. During gameplay you can switch to one of your other brothers using the D-pad, therefore you’re not necessarily interested in leveling up just one character. Your entire team levels at the same time with a shared four skill points per level. I aimed to level Leo up as fast as possible – and by level 15 I had all of his skills save one, and started dumping points into my brothers abilities. Some made good sense – each turtle has a skill tree that buffs every Turtle, and the team combo skills are also a must.
Hacking consists of “rewiring” control panels without crossing paths – the minigame is almost identical to the popular mobile game Flow Free. The problem with these hack points is that while most of them are optional, some are not, and they are not graceful in execution or control. From long load times to having your game continue with no clue as to what is going on around you, it feels like a poor implementation. For some reason, the harder the puzzle the longer the load times – up to two minutes in fact. Then there is the use of a joystick to determine each step in the path, and while it only took a few times to get the hang of it, never once did the phrase “Oh, goodie! Another panel to hack!” enter my thoughts without sarcasm.
Not unless you like penicillin on your Pizza!
Am I telling you not to buy it?
Red Fly / Activision, it’s time to put your team to work, patching the problems that you *must* know exist. There isn’t any way that this has gone unnoticed. The QA team would have to be completely oblivious, and that’s a real shame since this is the Turtles game we were waiting for. Without the glitches and with just a little more attention to detail (and a stronger plotline, an ending that actually makes sense), this game could have been an easy recommendation.
If Turtles are your thing, you might want to put aside the concerns for the bugs and pull down the demo from Xbox Live. It is more than playable, just don’t expect to have a smooth ride. On the other hand, the story is light but so is the source material – it would have been nice to see episodic content come out for an otherwise compelling realization of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.