Bad news for fans of the Heroes in a Half Shell: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan” won’t sate gamers’ hunger for a return to the franchise’s addictive 1990s arcade roots.
“Mutants in Manhattan” actually has some interesting combat systems in place, but a lack of action or variety and a reliance on lame objectives water down the experience.
Players guide the quippy quartet through nine levels — yet only five bland environments — with the ability to switch between them on the fly. The combo system is simple and will be familiar to veterans of PlatinumGames’ brand of beat-’em-up action, and it’s augmented by rechargeable, upgradeable ninjutsu powers.
But so much of the 5-hour campaign is running or gliding — yes, these turtles glide a lot — to the next humdrum task. These range from clearing an area of enemies to to carrying gold bars from point A to point B. Objectives such as the latter go more smoothly and quickly when ignoring enemies, which runs counter to the idea of playing a Ninja Turtles game. There aren’t enough varied enemies, either.
Boss battles are the highlight, but there aren’t enough of them. Each stage could have benefited from a recognizable miniboss or two.
Although online multiplayer makes the experience more palatable, the lack of local co-op is perplexing. While I received a review copy from publisher Activision, I can’t in good conscience recommend my friends throw down $50 each so we can all play.
There’s bound to be another fun Ninja Turtles game some day, but “Mutants in Manhattan” isn’t it. Bummer, dude.