Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Review

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Last to take centre stage on the Xbox360 #SummerofArcade promotion on the Xbox Live Arcade is TMNT: Out of the Shadows. It’s more than overdue; a decent Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle game I mean. We’ve had a slew of failed attempts to adapt the TV Show in a respectable and fun manner.  Licensed games have a tough time and recently it seems the only real exception is the Arkham franchise which does considerably well. The recent TMNT games have been mediocre, and although Out of the Shadows is a good game, it’s not by all means great.

If you weren’t already aware, Nickelodeon are the ones currently in charge of the TMNT rebirth and they have done a commendable job of kicking off this new era of the Turtles, introducing these characters in new ways to the younger generation while also being enjoyable for older fans, like me.

The developers of TMNT: Out of the Shadows, Red Fly Studios’ who are likely to be better known for their Wii titles than anything on the Xbox 360, have done an alright job when it comes to both the mobility and animations of the Turtles in this arcade game. It has been created in a way that rewards the player for exploring the environments with their Ninja Skills, thus making it fun to just goof about at your own leisure. It also appears that they’ve worked hard on creating an expansive and immersive combat system that really compliments the Turtles different fighting styles and tactics helping to combat and overcome the repetitive button bashing style system in place. A Stealth mode is included which isn’t anything special, but does give you that ‘ninja’ feel, as it should. A single play through of the game will most likely take you around 12 – 15 hours if you do all the challenges, complete arcade mode and the main campaign. You can finish the main campaign in 4-5 hours if you head online and draw a player between the levels 40-50. Replayability is added via some concept art which can be unlocked by finding comic book strips dotted around the landscape in campaign mode.

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Where the game is lacking is in its attention to detail and the overall presentation. It feels unpolished, clunky, and there are some really bad camera angles and positioning that will be sure to annoy even the most patient of gamers. I know, I know it’s an Arcade title created by a team of only 16, but that’s not my problem as the player. My problem is how I can’t see what I am supposed to be doing half the time due to a camera that likes to zoom in on my head and not the surrounding area and Foot Clan bad guys trying to get me. There are frequent glitches too such as floating enemies and weapons (nothing game breaking but still…it is unnecessary) and sometimes the animations can feel stiff. One of the confusing elements to the game is the comic book style cut-scenes because the graphics in the game itself are actually quite good, so using the comic-book-esque cut-scenes seems odd, if not lazy in comparison. The game does however nail the art style and feel of the new Nickelodeon Cartoon and puts you right into the action. It seems pretty obvious that the game is only developed to appeal to new fans of the animated series, whilst hoping that older fans will likely buy for nostalgic reasons.

There are also a lot of extras bundled in with TMNT: Out of the Shadows – and it does make you question why other developers and publishers can’t bundle as much in with their titles too. You get to enjoy not just the single player campaign, but 4 player local or online coop, an arcade mini game across 7 levels, unlockable concept art, upgradeable individual skills, team skills and weapons as well as additional fine touches like a Dojo for training in.

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The amount of nods and homages to previous incarnations and to the newest TV show will give TMNT fans plenty to be happy about. The banter between the Turtles is brilliantly done and it is clear that here the developers did their homework. Arcade Mode acts like a whole different game and is in my opinion more fun than the campaign; it also doesn’t glitch out and makes me feel all nostalgic.

In Conclusion, TMNT: Out of the Shadows is an OK attempt at adapting the new Ninja Turtles in game form. The fact that it’s only 1.7 GB and 16 people individually put out this much effort into an Arcade game is truly commendable but it doesn’t do anything to make you forget or overlook the annoying bugs and glitches, not to mention the hideous camera views.

Let’s give it a 6.5 out of 10 and move on to other things. Pizza anyone?

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