‘TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan’ review: Leave it in the sewers

Back in the sewers for you, “TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan.”

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.

Available now

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan,” published by Activision and developed by PlatinumGames, is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. $49.99

AMNY Newsletter

Eat it. Drink it. Do it. Tackle the city, with our help.