Game Info:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan
Developed By: PlatinumGames
Published By: Activision
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Available On: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: Teen for Fantasy Violence
Genre: Action Adventure
Mode: 1 – 2 Players, local or online
MSRP: $39.99
(Humble Link)

Thank you Activision for sending us this game to review!

I have long loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles since their first run on TV in the 1980s (yes, I'm that old).  I played the NES and SNES games, and a few games since, always enjoying their bodacious attitude and fun enemies.  Of course, I wouldn't be a child of the '80s if I hadn't pumped many a quarter into one of the TMNT arcade games.  Hoping for some modern twist on the classic gameplay, I jumped at the chance to enter the world of the Turtles once again.

In setting, art, characters, and especially voice acting, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant in Manhattan succeeds with flying colors.  The art style is great, with really nice lighting on top of the cell shading.  Each Turtle has similar yet slightly different moves, with enough to tell that you switched turtles, yet not so unique as to think that they were trained from a different rat.  

The voice acting and characterizations are excellent, and they each sound very similar to the classic live action movie.  Leonardo still has that serious, leaderly voice, Raphael has his sarcastic Brooklyn pessimism, Michelangelo is the comic relief as always, and Donatello's brilliant, as is April O'Neil. Splinter's voice is also perfect.  Indeed, you can't go wrong with this game as a Turtle fan, as some of the more obscure bosses are represented here.  The only notable absence is that of Casey Jones.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan

Strong Points: Excellent graphics; the Turtles' character art style, writing, personalities, and especially voice acting are excellent
Weak Points: Frame locked at 30fps (frames per second); a lot of enemies are hit point sponges; can be somewhat repetitive at times; no local co-op
Moral Warnings: Lots of fantasy violence, where your characters beat up lots of Foot Clan bad guys

The action takes place in a 3D third person view, with all four turtles in the action at all times, unless one (or more) of them passes out, where they have to go back to the lair to eat some pizza and recover.  They each have separate health bars and skills, so switching between them can be very helpful to spread the hurt around, and take advantage of each of the four special moves that they have available.

Each Turtle has a regular weak and strong attack, as well as a shuriken toss, dodge, and four special moves.  Each of these can be strung together into combos, and dodges are required to survive many of the more powerful foes.  The combat system is fun and fluid, though some kind of moves list would be really handy.  Special moves are customizable between levels, and as you defeat enemies and collect items throughout, you gain battle points, which are then spent on items in level, or for upgrading your special moves, or upgrading charms.  Each Turtle has one special move each that only they can equip.  All other skills can be used on anyone.

Charms are pickups that you can get in each level that can be equipped on any of your Turtles and makes you stronger.  Unfortunately, there is a missed opportunity here: while you can scrap old charms by combining them together, the one generated is not necessarily better than the ones you lost. There is no charm crafting system, which would have been really great.  Instead it's all random.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

One major complaint about this game from many is that the developers publicly stated that they were sacrificing local co-op play for 60fps (frames per second), and then delivered on neither 60fps, or local co-op.  I would have preferred co-op myself, but 60fps is also regrettably missing.  I did have a strange problem a couple of the times I played where I was getting 15fps, but a driver update seems to have resolved the issue.  I'm still not sure the source of that problem, but it was beyond irritating.  60fps is badly missed, but, other than when I had the 15fps issue, it has been pretty solid, and still is enjoyable at 30fps.  It's just a missed opportunity for a truly breathtaking game, rather than merely a very good looking one.  And the sad thing is, there are 3rd party hacks which enable it, so you know it is possible.

Despite all of this, it is still enjoyable.  And this is the first game I have played in quite some time that has spoken voices and absolutely no bad words whatsoever.  There are punches, kicks, sword slashes, and various weapons and explosions.  There are grunts and cries of pain.  But no blood or gore, and no sexual content either.  Honestly, I wouldn't feel bad letting my children, who are 8-11 years old, play this game despite the Teen rating.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is a fun, but flawed game.  It's a fun beat 'em up with some performance issues, and local co-op is missing. Thankfully, there is online co-op, so you can play with up to three friends, though I did not see any games available when I checked while writing this review.  If you have a friend with the game, I can see it being a lot of fun though.  The online leaderboards show that there are plenty of players out there, but it might be best to plan this one out ahead of time if you want to play together.  All in all, while I can't give this game an unconditional recommendation, it's fun and family safe, so if you are a big TMNT fan, give it a shot!

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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