Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
Platinum Games is one of those studios that I feel like I can almost always depend on. The Japanese studio is responsible for some of my favorite games like Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 and save for a few missteps, their elegant and strategic brand of chaotic action rarely misses. Unfortunately, TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan is one of those missteps. Though the studios signature style can be found throughout the experience, it's a clunky, boring and uninspired. What's worse, it has a tendency to take the few things that make it work and force you to completely hate them by the end of the experience. With TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan, I feel like a parent, I'm not mad, I'm just really disappointed; this game deserved better.
From the moment it was even rumored, Platinum's take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise had my interest. It's cel-shaded look makes it seem like it's right out of the more gritty comics that started the heroes in the half shell and imagining a turtles game with the fighting style of Bayonetta seemed like a no brainer. The style works, this feels like an entry into the Ninja Turtles world. All the right faces are here, including some more rare villains making cameos and it's all wrapped up nicely in a story written by current IDW comics writer Tom Waltz. There aren't any game changing twists here, Shredder and Krang are up to no good and it's up to the turtles to figure it out and stop it. Again, nothing game changing but all the players play their parts and they play them well. It's nice to see a slightly edgier turtle group, as the IDW comic, and thus the game feel like it's got a nice place in between the Nickelodeon TV show and the weird freaky ones in the new movies.
Unfortunately, the gameplay of Mutants in Manhattan doesn't even come close to hitting a similar mark. Here's how it works, you control one of the four turtles with either the AI or three online friends controlling the others. The game does not feature offline couch co-op because Platinum said that they would not be able to keep the game at 60 FPS if they did, but it's locked at 30 FPS anyway. Each turtle has their own special attacks and if you're playing single player you can switch freely between them. Seeing how each turtle's attacks combine with each other can make for some interesting moments and though the game is unquestionably more fun when you're playing with other real people, switching between the characters makes for some truly fun moments.
There's really no other way to put this, Mutants in Manhattan is a mess. It lacks the style, grace and charm that a game like Bayonetta 2 features even though it seems like it tries. It features the same basic two button combat system but everything here just feels sort of...off. Attacking enemies never feels as rewarding as it should and hits land with more of a whimper than any sort of compelling thud. It's absurdly chaotic as well, and while games like Madworld and Bayonetta 2 were chaotic in a good way, Mutants in Manhattan is not. Everything just kind of happens here, and it happens without much explanation at all. Within two minutes of starting the game my fellow turtles had a group of foot soldiers dancing while they attacked them. For what it's worth the game does start by telling you that it strongly recommends you play through the tutorial before embarking on the main game but come on, who's really going to do that.
The real problem with Mutants in Manhattan though is just how repetitive and uninspired it is. Missions range from defeat all the enemies to defeat all the enemies in a set amount of time to defeat all the enemies while disarming a bomb...or protecting an ATM...regardless, it's all the same. To make matters worse every single one of the environments acts, looks and feels the same as there's no real standout moments in the game to tell you about. I almost felt like game was painfully aware of this when April O'Neil kept making comments about how the sewer system felt like it was never ending and all looked the same. I feel your pain girl, I truly do. The AI needs a lot of work too as there were multiple times when I was working on say, defusing a bomb and the enemies would run right past me, not trying to stop me. Friendly AI though was almost too good as they would sometimes go through and attack all of the enemies of bosses and just let me take care of everything else.
The game's one saving grace might be it's boss battles. Featuring a literal who's who of Turtles baddies including some lesser known cult favorites, boss battles are where the Platinum Games formula seems to work the most in Mutants in Manhattan. Each boss has seven health bars that you'll have to deplete and they become more aggressive with each and it's up to you to balance each turtle's attack to hope to keep them out of the pizza room and in the fight long enough to beat them. But don't worry, the game seems committed to not letting you enjoy any part of it too much as it then forces you to go back and beat all of the bosses all over again. Really.
TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan has all the ingredients of a remarkable action game but it fails to combine them into anything even remarkably enjoyable. It's dull, uninspired and worst of all, incredibly boring. A rare misstep for Platinum Games, Mutants in Manhattan is not worth your time.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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