I remember first seeing Shredder’s Revenge and thinking, “This is just the perfect medium for another Turtles game”. While he noted some drawbacks, our own Anthony Shelton thought TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge was a good time. I echo much of what he thought then: it can be repetitive and follow much of the beat ’em up formula, but there’s something super fun for TMNT fans here. In the new DLC, Dimensional Shellshock, the Turtles are getting a new mode that looks to shake things up, and while it doesn’t revamp the system, it’s a good time.
Just like Shredder’s Revenge, everything is presented beautifully. The pixel art style is perfect for our shellbound heroes, standing out especially on the Switch OLED I played on. The color and wonderful music is on full display, a true testament to the work put in by Tribute Games. It’s easy to tell some of the team also worked on Scott Pilgrim vs The World, given the similar charms. Some of the new places boast distinct aesthetic styles, like Mirage’s comic book flair or Omnichannel 6’s alien spaceship vibes.
If you’ve played Shredder’s Revenge, you already know what genre it follows. This is a classic beat ’em up, an action game in the form of a 2D or 3D side scroller on a slant. Typically you’re going to face a ton of enemies, and usually your scrolling stops until you clear that group. It’s been around since Kung-Fu Master, and it’s been popular since, spawning favorites such as Streets of Rage and Double Dragon. Like I said before, Shredder’s Revenge fits the genre like a glove, so it’s nice to see Dimensional Shellshock keeping this pizza party going.
Dimensional Shellshock begins with a cutscene of our favorite green heroes enjoying a slice with friends. Suddenly, they’re interrupted by the Neutrinos, fairy-like aliens from other dimensions. Turns out, the crystals they’re using to jump between dimensions are being grabbed up by Shredder (of course), and it’s up to you and the crew to stop him.
Where Dimensional Shellshock is different is in the new characters it introduces along with the aforementioned survival mode. The two new characters are Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai rabbit, and Karai, a favorite of longtime Turtles fans. Each has their own skillset to offer, but I’ll admit, after playing each it seemed more like a variant of what’s already there.
Usagi follows the path of the samurai, and uses a katana. This is similar of course to Leonardo, but Usagi only has one, and he’s a bit faster. Karai interestingly packs a punch with higher powered brawling, but oddly it hasn’t felt as clean as April’s. Overall, these are two good additions, especially aesthetically, but it seems like they mimic previous fighters in the game rather than bring something new to the table.
The survival mode itself is where things get really cool. Instead of specific levels to stroll through beating up baddies, each battlefield takes the form of a stage you fight in. As the mode itself suggests, you’ll be slugging it out against waves of baddies, but it’s more than that. Each stage takes different forms, with some being a bunch of thugs rushing you, some requiring you to just stay out of the way for most of it, and even others dropping mini-bosses in. The crystals mentioned earlier are broken into shards, and beating up your enemies will allow you to find some. After reaching the final needed shard (fifty to start), the crystal is reassembled and you jump to the next world of stages.
Once you clear the stage you’re on, however, moving to the next portion of that world is very intriguing. Two portals appear, with rewards that give you something different depending on which one you choose. What’s really neat is that it’s not always obvious what you should choose, and you have to decide based on your status at hand. Being a survival mode means you only have one life and as such, a limited amount of health. While I’d like the twenty extra crystal shards to get closer to my goal, a health fill up could be more important to my later survival. Starting with a full super meter could be helpful in beating up an immediate threat as soon as you enter as well, so the benefits could outweigh an additional attack boost.
This mode is difficult, mainly in that you start really underpowered. What’s neat is this takes on almost a “roguelite” feel; the longer you last, the better boosts your character will receive when you finally kick the bucket (thankfully not as punishing as a roguelite). Make it through five crystals and you’ll face the Master of the Void, a tough boss, and upon beating them you’ll have the opportunity to either quit while ahead, or keep going through the gauntlet. Each crystal you earn will give your character permanent XP boosts and costume color variants, so it’s worth running through the mode over and over again.
There are also small perks in the form of Ooze that can change things up as well. Offered as rewards from the portals, these can take a few different forms. For example, with one I lost health gradually while fighting, but defeating enemies gave me substantial refills on my health. It only operates while baddies are on the map as well, meaning I was generally able to get the most out of it and exit on the better side. Another had me being able to become invincible during a taunt and teleporting to a random area on the small stage, allowing me to escape when a deluge of enemies was upon me. These are really cool, and while they usually are capped to either a certain amount of stages or tied to you being hit, they’re a cool way to change up the gameplay.
Of course, their most awesome form comes in changing into the big bads. Some Ooze can let you become Rocksteady, Bebop, and even the big man himself, Shredder. This is one of the more useful perks, almost a cameo appearance given they take your place at half health but twice the power. Each one is a ton of fun to use, and I’ve been able to last several stages just changing over to them. Once you “die” as them, you simply go back to your character and continue on. It’s so much fun to play as all of these boss baddies, even being the small tastes that they are.
Overall, this is a surprisingly meaty DLC for a really low price of entry. While the gameplay may still be a little repetitive, the survival mode offers a cool way to spice up the formula. Dimensional Shellshock is available now on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series consoles, Nintendo Switch, and PC for only $7.99. If you’re like me and the recent Turtle-mania has sucked you in (especially after the phenomenal Mutant Mayhem movie), this is a no brainer to pick up.
David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.