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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Review

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Another year, another TMNT game, and I couldn’t have been happier when it was announced that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants would finally be coming to home consoles. The Ninja Turtles have been on a roll in recent years, from The Cowabunga Collection and Shredder’s Revenge in 2022, to last year’s astounding Dimension Shellshock DLC for the latter.

Of course we also got to see the ninja teens on the big screen in Mutant Mayhem which was a fun time for fans young and old. This is in addition to the announcement of a new game (and movie) based on the fantastic Last Ronin comic run (think Dark Knight Returns but Turtles).

But now we have a port of a previous arcade-only title, one that was released in 2017 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants. Based on the 2012 CGI iteration of the franchise Wrath of the Mutants, it follows the traditional TMNT game format, focusing on being another side-scrolling beat ’em up.

TMNT Arcade Wrath of the Mutants review 1
The Turtles are back!

I love the TMNT franchise, I also love the majority of the TMNT video games we have seen in the past. But in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants, I feel a tad let down.

Wrath of the Mutants lets you control one of the four brothers, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo as they partake in a co-op jaunt that has a heavy arcade feel to it. And that wasn’t a strong point for the latest addition to the Turtles’ video game library.

See, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants will be hard for younger kids, even on the easiest setting of the game. And before you all scream “git gud scrub”, arcade cabinets are designed like this to suck all your hard earned dough as you die time and time again. I found it extremely frustrating when trying to play co-op with my son, as I died almost as many times as he did on just the first level.

Co-op is a highlight for Wrath of the Mutants as it allows up to four players to join together to clean up the streets of New York City. If you have three friends that can be coaxed into couch cooperative play, Wrath of the Mutants is a whole lot of fun, and seeing all four brothers battling together on screen at once is excellent. However, there is no online co-op available and that feels like a bit of an oversight as the game is far better when played with others. Gathering people to sit on a couch is hard in 2024!

There are few levels here, so maybe to get your money’s worth, keep the difficulty level high in the limited options you have to tinker with. The game’s blurb says that there has been the addition of three further stages, giving a total of six, and six additional bosses which are spliced in levels as mini bosses at the midway point. But Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is not going to take you over an hour to get through unless the harder difficulty is beyond your skill level.

TMNT Arcade Wrath of the Mutants review 2
TURTLE POWER!

So where do we go with the Turtles this time? Well, initially you have NYC, Sewer, TCRI, Amusement Park, Dimension X, and – once you complete those – Shredder as selectable stages; with Shredder being less of a traditional level and more a straight-up boss fight after a short stage. Fighting Shredder always provides a good time and I enjoyed the “twist” to the fight, although the tactics (and I say that lightly) needed to defeat him are still on a very basic level.

One major gripe with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is that nothing really stands out. Sure you have a fancy coat of paint using the CGI series’ looks, but when each level feels like a not-very-good remake of levels from older Turtles games, things get dull very quickly. Combined with no way to level up and improve, and with nothing to unlock, things don’t really improve from the first stage.

You fight using a simple one button attack, one to jump, and one to use “Turtle Power”, which triggers a neat cutscene before your chosen turtle performs a special move. Throughout levels you can find pickups like shuriken to throw for damage at a distance, pizzas to increase health, Turtle Power meter boosts and my favourite – the summoning of Metalhead or Leatherhead to clear out enemies on screen.

While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants did have enough for me to crack a smile occasionally, I mostly felt myself hammering X on my Xbox controller over and over, mindlessly till I cleared each screen. And that’s the problem, there is no depth here, no combo system, and worst of all, nothing feels satisfying while in combat or walking through a stage. 

TMNT Arcade Wrath of the Mutants review 3
Wrath of the Mutants looks good

The mechanics of walking and fighting irked me. Sure the pixelated games don’t have this level of graphical detail, but they just feel smoother when fighting through the hordes of Foot Clan and Krang sent your way. Some work on making things feel better would have been much appreciated, instead, it’s all a bit clunky and basic. 

Sadly lost in the rather shallow overall package are some nice touches, like the Krang who scuttle off after you defeat the robot bodies and some of the more obscure villains as mid-bosses that are overlooked due to the core of the game. The disappointing end scene being unvoiced and unanimated is a let down, especially when the tools are there to make something really spectacular looking instead of the static motion comic with speech bubbles effort we get here.

However, the visuals of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants are nice and the essence of the 2012 series has been captured well, voice acting done by the cast of the show. There are decent environmental hazards to look out for as well, like passing trains in the sewer or cars on the streets. You can also be slammed into the screen or throw enemies towards it, working as a nice nod to the classic Turtles in Time. Here though it’s very much a case of style over substance.

Extras wise, all you are getting in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is an arcade style leaderboard where you can try and outrank Shredder and company who occupy the top ten by getting a high score. But that’s it. There’s no cool artwork or strategy guides like those found in the TMNT The Cowabunga Collection. And it feels like it would have been better with double the level count and some unlockable characters. Sadly, once you run through the five and a half stages, you have seen all there is to offer.

TMNT Arcade Wrath of the Mutants review 4
Get this if you’re a hardcore Turtles fan

All in, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is a sub par entry when stood next to the wonderful Shredder’s Revenge and the generous The Cowabunga Collection. Sadly this was not one that had me shouting out random 90’s words like “Rad” into the early hours of the morning.

If you are a hardcore Turtles fan, get Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants added to your collection; it isn’t the worst TMNT game made. But for those with a passing interest, I would divert your wallet towards Shredder’s Revenge or The Cowabunga Collection to get a full fill of Mutant Turtle based action.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Captures the 2012 series really well
  • Graphically stands out next to other TMNT games
  • Animations and voice acting are both fantastic
Cons:
  • No real depth or challenge…
  • … at least not unless you’re a younger player
  • Rather dull and repetitive to playthrough
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, GameMill
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 23 April 2024 | £24.99
Alister Kennedy
Alister Kennedy
A gaming writer for TheXboxHub, Ali loves the finer things in life, like Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Gaming since the '80s on multiple platforms. Podcast host and video editor.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Captures the 2012 series really well</li> <li>Graphically stands out next to other TMNT games</li> <li>Animations and voice acting are both fantastic</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>No real depth or challenge…</li> <li>… at least not unless you’re a younger player</li> <li>Rather dull and repetitive to playthrough</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, GameMill</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 23 April 2024 | £24.99</li> </ul>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Review
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