Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, review, PS4, Xbox One
The problem with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became very apparent when we allowed a six-year-old to give the game a try. “It’s too easy,” he said, despite the game being on the normal setting. “I’m bored.”
This was no half-measure response to the heroes in a half-shell and it was accompanied by a genuine look of disappointment. Unfortunately for fans of the anthropomorphic turtles, his judgement is pretty sound.
Mutants in Manhattan is undeniably a lavish-looking third person action adventure thanks to its gorgeous cel-shaded art style and it includes each of the four characters infamously named after four Renaissance Italian artists.
We had no problems with the controls nor with the tutorial level. In fact, within 20 minutes or so of beginning the game, you’ll have a good idea of the complexities involved in some of the moves you’ll be expected to pull off.
But the game proper doesn’t feel quite as well organised and tight. The hack and slash gameplay is split across single story mode and multiplayer co-op but it just feels too lightweight.
You’ll fly through each of the nine levels in around a quarter-of-an-hour (and the whole game in three hours). You’ll then put the game away having felt a little underwhelmed by it all and most likely never play it again.
This is odd given that Premium Games is usually very good in this genre but you find yourself pulling off the same moves over and over, merely button-mashing as you go. It gives you a sense that it doesn’t really matter which of the characters you play and that’s a shame because there are some nice touches in this regard: Leonardo’s ability to slow time, for instance, may be a tired mechanic but it has potential that’s not fully explored.
The artificial intelligence is a letdown too. When you want your band of merry turtles to pull together in the same direction, they seem to be doing their own thing.
Of course, you don’t have this problem in multiplayer when human minds are at work but it definitely jars in single-player mode. It doesn’t help that the attempts at making the game feel open-world doesn’t work out as well in reality either. You feel hemmed in and disinclined to keep pushing on, even faced with the upgrade system.
To some degree, we started to look forward to the cut scenes even though they were not quite as sparkling as they should have been, with feeble attempts at humour that overshadowed any attempts to progress the plot (yeah, we get it, these turtles love pizza).
But even then, we felt our hearts slump as the next part of the game involved the same kinds of dark environments and the sense of deja vu of the same kinds of corridors coming into view. “Wicked” as Michaelangelo may say. But in the old sense of the word.