Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Reviewing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game (or any TMNT product in general) is something that will result in emotionally charged responses from me, be them positive or negative. This franchise was my childhood. It was my introduction to the English language, my introduction to the gaming world (TMNT II was the first game I ever played), and the first superhero franchise I ever got to care about, mostly due to it having a protagonist with the same name as mine. The reveal trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was just everything I could have ever wanted from a revival of some of my childhood’s fondest memories. The waiting game was what hurt the most. Dotemu and Tribute Games took their time with its development, but it’s finally out. And it’s everything I could have asked for.

Shredder's Revenge Level 1

“I’m sorry, but Mr. Shredder is busy right now. I can schedule a meeting for Tuesday, is that okay?”

From the looks of its debut trailer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge seemed to be a love letter to a specific TMNT beat ’em up from back in the day, the widely acclaimed Turtles in Time, released for the Super Nintendo in 1992. While this is partially correct, there’s more to it than just a homage to a particular TMNT game: it’s a homage to all arcade beat ’em ups from that era. Be it TMNT II, TMNT III, or Turtles in Time, there are tons of references, both in terms of visuals and gameplay, from all of the relevant games from that timeframe. The first level of the game is pretty similar to TMNT II‘s debut stage, while the second one, aptly named “Big Apple, 3PM”, is a direct nod to the first stage in the SNES classic.

This is what we’re working with, a game that constantly hit me in the feels with nostalgic nods to a happy childhood, but I wasn’t looking forward to playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge solely for its fanservice. Sure, it was a big part of it, but the thing with TMNT games is that, for the most part, they have always been excellent (we don’t talk about that PC exclusive from a few years ago). I have high expectations from a game like this, especially with a publisher like Dotemu behind the project. Mind you, they were the ones that brought Streets of Rage back from the dead, and boy, did they deliver in that regard. I wasn’t expecting anything less polished than Streets of Rage 4. Thankfully, this game surpasses any other retro beat ’em up I’ve played in recent memory.

Shredder's Revenge Combat

The combat is easy to learn, and also somewhat easy to master. I ain’t complaining.

Gameplay-wise, this is a slightly more complex take on Turtles in Time‘s “easy-to-learn, also easy-to-master” combat, with a handful of extra combos and moves at your disposal. The core system is still largely the same, complete with the ability to throw a Foot Soldier off the screen with some pseudo-Mode7 effects. The big difference between this game and any other arcade beat ’em up released by Konami back in the 90s is the fact that up to six players can join a match at once. That also means that the Turtles aren’t the only characters available for players. You can also play as April, Splinter, and Casey Jones. They each have different stats and advantages, but let’s be real, the post-pubescent reptilians are the stars of the show.

This game is so responsive it’s ridiculous. Despite being much easier to deal with than its 90s counterparts, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a lot more replayable, not only due to the huge roster, but also due to the inclusion of an Arcade mode and a Story mode. Finally, it’s hard to resist a beat ’em up that allows you to link up with five other players online at once.

Shredder's Revenge Cutscenes

Great cutscenes (with some voice acting!) in between stages.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge‘s presentation. It’s the perfect mixture between retro and modern, with some of the best pixel work I’ve seen in a modern game in a while. First of all, despite being endorsed by Nickelodeon (the current owners of the franchise), this is meant to emulate the look of the original 80s/90s cartoon, with each turtle being masterfully drawn and animated to resemble an improved version of their Turtles in Time counterpart. Enemies are also incredibly well-animated, with some funny environmental interactions. Backgrounds look crisp as hell as well.


You can play this game with up to five additional friends. We are keeping it solo in this review because Leo is the real star of the show.

The soundtrack is overkill. Dotemu did not need to go in hard as it did with this game’s sound department. Not only did they hire Faith no More’s Mike Patton to re-record the original 80s tune, but they also brought in the freaking Wu-Tang Clan to record a couple of exclusive tunes for the game. Furthermore, the rest of the soundtrack is comprised of phenomenal MIDI scores meant to emulate the soundtrack of Turtles in Time, but with a lot more attention to detail. Finally, the game even features a bit of voice acting. We didn’t need so much, but I’m thrilled they chose to go all out for this game.

Foot Clan

“Hey! They’re stealing my sense of style!”

More than simply a love letter to the golden age of arcade beat ’em ups, as well as the franchise as a whole, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is both Dotemu’s and Tribute Games’ best title to date. It is a quasi-perfect arcade title that perfectly blends fanservice, fantastic controls, a downright pristine presentation, and some chaotic fun with up to six players at once. I am so glad this game ended up exceeding my sky-high expectations. I love it to death, and won’t stop playing it for the foreseeable future. Between this and Konami’s upcoming Cowabunga Collection, the Turtles are finally back in the spotlight, a place they should have never left in the first place.


Graphics: 9.0

Fantastic pixel art and even better animations that perfectly blend the 80s TV show with the graphical style seen in the franchise’s 90s arcade games. It also runs like a dream.

Gameplay: 9.5

It takes inspiration from the control scheme featured in Turtles in Time, but with some extra bells and whistles. The end result is a combat system that is really easy to learn, with lots of combos to pull off, as well as different stats and strategies for each of the seven playable characters at your disposal.

Sound: 10

Mike Patton re-recording the cartoon theme song. Wu-Tang’s members recording some original tunes. Some of the best MIDI songs included in a game in recent memory. There’s even some voice acting. Dotemu and Tribute Games went overboard with this game’s sound design, and I’m not gonna complain.

Fun Factor: 9.5

More than just an improvement over the Turtles in Time formula, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is possibly the best TMNT game of all time.

Final Verdict: 9.5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was provided by the publisher.