Game Reviews Xbox

TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Xbox Series X Review – Half Shelled

So based on the response that I received from friends and fellow online gamers, it appears a large majority of people were not only unaware of this game being in arcades but that a port was also in the works for all current consoles. I must admit that I was also late to the party on this one, but not by much.

Last summer, my daughter and I took a stroll down to my all-time favorite arcade Chinatown Fair in lower Manhattan (Chinatown), and in the back of the arcade, I saw this massive 4-player TMNT cabinet. I quickly took out my phone to play show and tell with group chats, but also to do some research.

Presentation

TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants was released in 2017 by Raw Thrills who are known for making some of the best modern arcade machines such as Halo: Fireteam Raven, Jurassic Park Arcade, and Marvel Contest of Champions. The game is based on the 2012 Nickelodeon cartoon series which is regarded as the best iteration of the turtles right next to the 2003 series.

There are 5 selectable locations with the 6 locations locked until you complete all 5. Each location looks & sounds like it was ripped right from the 2012 cartoon. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Rafael also dish out signature one-liners and it sounds like they used audio samples of the turtles from the cartoon. The colors are vibrant with bright explosiveness and seeing the comic-style balloon pop up windows when in combat is a nice touch.

Gameplay

TMNT Arcade Wrath of the Mutants is a side-scrolling Beat’em up similar to the original TMNT arcade machine released in 1989 with some upgrades. For starters, you use 3 buttons to play: (A) to jump, (X) to attack, and (Y) to use your “turtle power” which is a super move that is earned once your power bar is full. Now don’t be fooled by the simplistic controls. There is a good variety of attack combinations which are based on distance from enemies and player positioning and this combat mechanic applies to all 4 turtles.

For example, if you are a step away from an enemy and button mash (X) then you can perform a combo attack, and if right next to an enemy you can perform a hip toss or throw your foe right toward the screen. The same applies when jumping and pressing the (X) button while in the air to perform air attacks or pressing (X + A) to do a spin attack. As you defeat enemies, your power bar will fill up and once filled will allow you to perform your “turtle power” which is a super move that inflicts an insane amount of damage to every enemy on screen.

As mentioned, there are a total of 6 locations with the 6th unlocking once the 5 selectable locations have been completed. Each location has a unique theme and environmental hazards. For example, NYC has yellow cabs racing down the street or even parked cabs that quickly peel out to the street once you approach. The Amusement Park has roller-coaster cars barreling down a track which you need to avoid while hurting all the suited robots and other foes from the TMNT universe.

Each level also has 2 boss battles. Now I won’t spoil the surprise but I will say they are some of the most notable enemies from the franchise. You will also come across items to replenish health or give a boost to your power bar. Almost every object can be interacted with in some way such as picking up garbage cans by pressing (X) and pressing (X) again to throw, hitting light poles can drop items, and hitting fire hydrants will hose down incoming enemies. Now these are nothing new to TMNT video games but what is new is picking up special items that will summon Metal Head or Leatherhead to unleash a special attack that damages all on-screen enemies.

However, TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants‘ major shortcomings has to be its lack of additional modes and no online co-op just local play (2-4). I’m sure the lack of online co-op is an instant deal breaker for many, especially compared to the other TMNT game offerings currently available such as TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge and the TMNT: Cowabunga Collection both having this feature plus so much more.

And I get it. They were simply porting over this arcade game to consoles but I think it’s a shame not more was added to spice up the experience. Once completing the game the credits roll and it’s over, no surprise character unlocks or anything else to keep you coming back for another playthrough unless you care about boosting your score on the leaderboard.

TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants delivers a beautifully rendered 2012 TMNT experience at a smooth 60 FPS. But the lack of game modes and no online co-op play leaves much to be desired and in turn, makes the total package feel a bit empty.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This review was based on a digital review copy of TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants provided by Raw Thrills and GameMill Entertainment.

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