Feb 27, 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Re-Shelled Review

The fact that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are as old as I am is unbelievable. The fact that the brand is still popular and relevant is even more remarkable. For those that have been around from the beginning, Ubisoft has released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled. It’s a remake to the Arcade/SNES classic, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been waiting for this game since its announcement. However, I feel like this review needs to be written from two different viewpoints, and I’m going to attempt both of them in one review. Now first, I’d like to just let everyone know that this is a port of the Arcade version of Turtles in Time, NOT the Super Nintendo version.

The differences are noticeable, but it’s really just missing a stage and the bosses are a little different. It is weird, but easily overlooked. The biggest overhaul to the game came graphically. It’s been upgraded to a 3D comic-like style, with bright colors and nice animation. The game looks great, but I wish they would have left an option to play it in its old 2D glory. Most Arcade games have that option now, and I feel like it’s something that should have been here. At the same time, I understand why it’s not. The big change gameplay wise is that you can now attack up and down, and not just left and right. Redoing the 2D version to accommodate this would have been an annoying task, and I think the game looks good enough as it is to accept the exclusion.

Turtles in Time is as simple as it gets. A jumps, X is the standard attack, and Y is the special attack. You have to wipe the screen of bad guys and then progress to the next screen where you do the same thing. As basic as it is, it’s still fun due to how smooth and responsive the gameplay is, even online. You may run into some slight lag with four players, but it was never enough to affect the gameplay in any way. This is where the two viewpoints come in, though. For those who have played Turtles in Time before, you will most likely love this update. With how smooth it plays, and the co-op online, it can bring back a lot of memories of playing it with a friend when you were younger. It still has most of the memorable things from the original, as well as the cheesy one-liners that Turtles fans love. They’ve even given each turtle their own unique stats, which freshens it up a little bit. For those who have never played, you will probably only see the negatives: The fact that the gameplay is as elementary as it gets, that it isn’t very long, and that there aren’t any secrets to speak of.

I’ll admit that the game is a bit short, but I played through it multiple times since the purchase and it’s been fun alone, with just one friend, or with a full four person party. The two main issues with the game aren’t huge, but they are notable. For one, you would think by updating the rest of the game, they would update the hit-boxes. That’s not the case, unfortunately. Obstacles will hit you when you aren’t even next to them, and enemies will land attacks that seem to not even graze your turtle. The second problem has to do with the camera. I have no issue with the positioning; it more has to do with the fact that you can be attacked from offscreen. There are multiple times during the final boss fight where he will go completely off the screen, but shoot things your way. It is obnoxious, but it really won’t affect you too much aside from the final boss fight.

After forming my opinion, I decided the best way to write a fair review would be to have someone play who didn’t grow up with this game or genre. My little brother is about the age I was when I first played the game, and didn’t grow up in the era of 2D games. He loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I figured I’d let him give it a shot. His opinion was pretty much as expected. He got mad about enemies killing him when he felt they didn’t hit him, and was surprised that he got to the final boss so fast. Aside from that, he still thought the game was fun and that’s really all that matters.

Even though the game is basic, it still holds a ton of nostalgic value. The update makes it feel new, and it plays as smooth as ever. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for those who love side-scrolling beat ‘em ups this is one of the best updates I’ve seen to the genre in a long time. However, if you are NOT a Turtles fan, or did not grow up playing this game, you might want to check out the demo to see how you like it first.

+ Excellent art style and update to an old classic.
+ The turtles have been given their own unique stats, and it adds to the gameplay in a subtle way.
+ Nostalgia.

- Hit detection is a little iffy and you can get attacked by off screen things at some points.
- A short game, but is fun throughout multiple playthroughs.
- Not for everyone.

Grade – B-

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