I am going to save you a little time, in case you’re in a rush, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge from Tribute Games and Dotemu was hands-down my favorite game of PAX East 2022 and is one of my Top 10 Games of 2022 and you should play it. Now, if you have a bit more time on your hands and you’re interested, let me tell you why.
When I was younger, I had a New Year’s Eve tradition where my friend would come over and we would rent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time for the SNES. After getting ourselves a large pizza and a lot of pop, we would sit down and play through the whole game before going to bed, ringing in the new year with the turtles. We did this for a number of years before our lives started taking us in different directions and we stopped hanging out, however, these memories are some of my favorites from my childhood, and Turtles in Time remains one of my favorite games from this generation.
My first time through the PAX demo of Shredder’s Revenge, I went with Leonard and his katanas. Leo serves as the game’s Jack of all trades character, being pretty good at everything but not excelling in anything. Raphael and Splinter are both heavy hitters with Splinter moving a bit slower due to his age. Mikey and April hit fast and can really rack up the combos, and finally, Donatello’s range is what he is all about.
I was pleasantly surprised with how different each character felt, yet going from one to another still was comfortable with a little learning curve. During my time with each character (yes I went back and played through the demo with each character) I fell further in love with this game and the quality of craftsmanship that was presented. While their forms are similar, I don’t believe I saw a single reused animation between the turtles, and each one just oozed charm. Donny busting out a Gameboy or Mikey doing his little dance from the old cartoon opening just solidified how much Shredder’s Revenge has retained the charm and personality from the show.
Fans of Turtles in Time will find a ton of throwbacks here in Shredder’s Revenge to discover. It was a joy playing through and seeing that I could still throw enemies at the screen and when picking up a pizza, the turtles still yell “PIZZA TIME!”. Little nods to the past like these turn this latest entry into an easter egg hunt of nostalgia that I can’t wait to go on.
Shredder’s Revenge has incorporated a number of quality of life improvements into its design that makes it more approachable for newcomers as well. Special moves, which in prior turtle beat’em up games would take a portion of your health, is now pulled from a special gauge that fills during combat. Each character also has a unique taunt they can do that will instantly fill the bar too, most of these callbacks to the old show and games.
My favorite of the QoL improvements though is that enemies will visually change slightly when they are defeated. When a foot clan member is beaten, their color will get a bit darker so you can stop trying to hit them and move on to the next foe. It’s a little improvement but I found it to be by far the most helpful.
During the demo with a member of the development team from Dotemu, Shredder’s Revenge will come with two main modes of play, your traditional Arcade mode and a Story mode which will more closely resemble Tribute Game’s previous beat’em game, Scott Pilgrim. Arcade mode will task you fighting through the levels (which they would only confirm as being “more than 10”).
Story mode will be more involved, where you will take your character from stage to stage progressing the narrative while leveling up, unlocking, and improving your characters. You will be able to revisit stages in this mode to complete various challenges and find more goodies. In both of these game modes, you will be able to play with up to four players online and locally!
Nostalgia is a powerful thing, it can turn an otherwise cringe-inducing thing into a treasured experience that is irreplaceable. I admit that playing Shredder’s Revenge hit me straight in that Turtles in Time nostalgia bone so part of my admiration and love I found with it is in part due to that. That said, there is no denying the quality that the teams at Dotemu and Tribute have brought to the table with Shredder’s Revenge.
Luckily players won’t have to wait too long before they can get a slice of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge which is currently scheduled for release on console and pc this summer!