In TMNT: Out of the Shadows you’ll be saving New York from The Purple Dragons, The Foot and even Mousers (remember those annoying little things?) as the Heroes in a half-shell. Unlike the typical button mashing combat from other games of similar vein, the game features timing-based combat pulled straight out of the Batman Arkham series. Each of the four turtles are capable of dodging, blocking, rolling and countering, while flipping over enemies, riding down stairway rails, flipping off of walls and launching themselves from both vertical and horizontal bars. Building up the combo meter with each successful hit and counter, each turtle has multiple special attacks to unleash to pummel enemies into the ground.
The powerful special attacks are pulled off using a combination of button presses and thumbstick motions. For this reason, I highly recommend using a gamepad or controller when playing the PC version of the game. Miss time a counter or attack and the combo meter will reset back to zero. Taking too long between attacks will also reset the combo meter. This wasn’t an issue in Batman as the enemies only had a single target to focus on, instead of four.
Enemy attacks are easy to read, allowing you to counter or roll out of the way with ease even when facing multiple foes at once. The only sore spot in the satisfying combat happens when enemies are knocked to the ground, becoming invulnerable to further attacks. Special attacks won’t connect and instead of attacking the turtles will simply pick their foe up. All four of the turtle can be controlled anytime, allowing you to experience each of their different play style.
The camera has trouble keeping up with what is happening on-screen, both outside of and during combat. Outside of the combat, the camera is pulled up right behind your turtle of choice as you try and navigate the environment. Running blindly, you’ll come across highlighted areas for the turtles to automatically climb over or through, although the correct path isn’t always clear to the player. Maybe I missed the comic where the turtles were running across rooftops in circles.
TMNT: Out of the Shadows features both local and online multiplayer, although local play is limited to two players compared to the four players online. Early on in the game you are introduced to a bare bones stealth mechanic, but I can’t recall ever using it throughout the game – especially online. You are supposed to slowly make your way behind enemy Foot ninjas, but I found running full speed behind them works just as well. Even face-to-face the AI will at times fail to react. I didn’t experience any latency issues online, but I wasn’t able to find a mute button for other players. I ended up editing an .ini file as a quick remedy, but I still can’t think why developers are constantly overlooking this issue.
The voice work is acceptable for all of the turtles, but are constantly drowned out by repetitious techno music that plays throughout the game. I’d rather listen to the awful Vanilla Ice TMNT rap from the second movie. Go Ninja, Go Ninja Go! One-liners are clever, but constantly repeated and you’ll end up hearing the same lines again and again, even immediately after hearing the exact line.
The inclusion of the Classic Mode allows players to play through the game as a side-scroller reminiscent to the original Arcade games. The combat is thoroughly enjoyable and there are plenty of upgrades for each the turtles to unlock, as well as upgraded weapons. The overall lack of polish for the rest of the game means you’ll constantly clip through objects or find yourself floating in the air, which I’m pretty sure isn’t something turtles should be doing – even if they are of the ninja variety. As it stands, TMNT: Out of the Shadows needs another dip in the ooze.
Note: The TMNT: Out of the Shadows review was written based on the PC version game provided to us for review.