Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants

The last few years have seen a wonder Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles resurgence hit the mainstream. You have a lot of content between television, movies, and video games, and I’m not even including the excellent IDW run of comics, which is easily the best of the bunch.

My favourite titles have been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, two titles that lean heavily into nostalgia in a good way.

It is a surprise that GameMill decided to release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants. It is a game based on the 2012 iteration on Nickelodeon, which is my favourite iteration, but it’s also a port of an arcade game launched a decade ago.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Arcade is fun but dated

The 2012 series was incredible, funny, stylish, and filled with wonderful performances for five seasons. It did some great things for the property (like reigniting my love for the franchise).

Developed by Cradle Games, the arcade brawler is simplistic and includes some issues, including the surface-level mechanics. Players can quickly complete the game’s six stages in under an hour, and the only replay value comes from playing through it again with three friends in local co-op. There is no online multiplayer support. Playing with friends can be fun, such as using a single attack button and building the Turtle Power bar to unleash flashy attacks on enemies.

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Unlike other Turtles arcade games, Wrath of the Mutants lacks the distinct personality that sets the others apart. The game revolves around basic single-button combos, basic powers, and throwable weapons like hydrants, sewer grates, etc. You build combos by landing basic attacks, which build the Turtle Power meter. Once activated, you’ll have your selected character deliver a standard area of effect moves you’ve seen before in Turtles in Time and Shredder’s Revenge.  What is a bit offputting is that the attacks all feel the same despite which Turtle you pick. The brothers only differ in appearance, weapon, voice (by the show’s excellent cast), and unique special attack, which is functionally identical.

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Each Turtle in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a unique weapon and personality, along with an individual Turtle Power ability that allows them to defeat enemies. Leonardo summons a powerful whirlwind that pulls in enemies and spins them to death. Michelangelo uses his weapon to slice a pizza into sharp pieces that rain down on foes. Donatello wields his bo staff to produce powerful electrical sparks. And Raphael fiercely pounds the ground.

The game features multiple characters from the cartoon, including Karai, Baxter Stockman, Krang (or Kraang), and Tiger Claw. However, the gameplay can become repetitive, and playing alone may not be as thrilling as it could be. You’ll be able to complete Wrath of the Mutants several times, as most runs last no more than an hour. Even with friends in local co-op, there may not be a strong urge to continue playing. I know I tapped out after half a dozen hours. Seeing familiar characters like Ice Cream Kitty, Metalhead, and Leatherhead is nice.

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Wrath of the Mutants is an arcade game from a decade ago, so the loop centres around that idea. Going in and expecting something more like Shredder’s Revenge might cast a large shadow over your expectations. Coming at Wrath of the Mutants as a traditional arcade cabinet title will go a long way.

Sadly, The boss fights are less interesting as many are too mechanically similar. For example, they all have an area-of-effect attack you have to jump over, which is cool the first few times, but once you realize every boss has it, it’s just there. However, a few bosses shine thanks to unique mechanics – Rocksteady’s flamethrower, Karai’s teleport, Stockman’s ability to fly and drop green goo on you, and so on. It becomes an excellent challenge to time your Turtle Power right and avoid their scariest stuff by being invulnerable when it happens, but not all of them have these twists, and I wish more of them stood out.

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Boss Fights Lack Excitement

The boss fights in the game, unfortunately, lack variety and excitement. Most feature a repetitive area-of-effect attack that players have to jump over, which becomes mundane after encountering it multiple times. However, a few bosses manage to shine through with unique mechanics. Stockman’s ability to fly and drop green goo provides a challenge that requires players to time their Turtle Power, which breaks up the monotony basic attacks provide.  To truly elevate this game, it would be ideal if more bosses had unique twists that made them stand out, providing players with a fresh and exciting experience every time they play.

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Verdict

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is a product from a decade ago that’s now entering the home market. While it isn’t the most exciting game featuring the four fan-favourite Turtles, it is a solid beat ’em up. I’ve always resonated with the 2012 iteration of the series thanks to a strong cast and good writing, but I never found a worthwhile game to elevate the material. I don’t think Wrath of the Mutants does that, but it’s fun if you want to waste an afternoon playing with a few friends.

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants
Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants
Summary
While it isn't the most exciting game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants features the four fan-favourite Turtles in a solid beat 'em up.
Liked
Fun for young audiences
Levels are fun but not challenging
Didn't Like
Gameplay is simple and becomes reptitive
A lack of variety