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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants (PS5)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants (PS5) - Review

by Evan Norris , posted on 23 April 2024 / 2,237 Views

Life for a Turtles fan is good right now. Within the last 24 months, we've seen Shredder's Revenge, arguably the best TMNT game ever made; The Cowabunga Collection, which pulls together many of the finest arcade, handheld, and home console Turtles experiences into one convenient compilation; and Dimension Shellshock, a solid piece of DLC that infuses the franchise's brawling gameplay with rogue-like randomness. As of today, you can add to that list Wrath of the Mutants, a port of the 2017 arcade game. Enhanced for PC and consoles, it represents yet another opportunity to kick shell.

Wrath of the Mutants is based on the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, but you don't need to be familiar with the show to understand and enjoy the game. There's so little narrative tissue in the game that it's impossible to get lost — because there's nothing to get lost in. TMNT beat-'em-up titles don't necessarily require an absorbing story, but it would have been nice to have gotten a little more build-up, instead of being thrown directly into the action. Right now, all you get is a short, clumsy closing cut-scene.

Of course, titles like Wrath of the Mutants are typically less interested in storytelling and more focused on fast-moving combat against dangerous enemies. Based on that component, this enhanced version performs serviceably. The controls are smooth and responsive, and the move set — while not as evolved as something like Shredder's Revenge — is satisfactory. You can perform a basic attack, pick up and throw objects, deploy two different jump attacks, and launch a spin attack that's perfect for crowd control. Finally, by pressing the triangle button with a full power gauge, you can trigger "Turtle Power", a character-specific special move that clears the entire screen of enemies.

In addition to performing these offensive moves, you can pick up several items in each map, including throwing stars, stun grenades, and, coolest of all, mutant support icons. If you collect one of these, you'll summon either Metalhead or Leatherhead, who will then wipe the floor with any enemies unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. It's perhaps the coolest gimmick in the game, although regrettably limited to just those two characters. But that's Wrath of the Mutants in a nutshell: limited in scope, but fairly fun while it lasts.

Adding to that sense of fun is a set of six diverse levels, which doubles the number in the arcade iteration. Wrath of the Mutants retains the three original stages — NYC, Sewer, and T.C.R.I. — but adds Amusement Park and Dimension X, and expands the final boss battle against Shredder into a full-fledged level. It also introduces six new boss battles. While these new bosses are great, many of them deploy the same tactics and projectile moves — and thus are too similar mechanically, even if they're quite different visually.

Thanks to extra maps and bosses, Wrath of the Mutants on home consoles is significantly larger than the arcade original. Even so, there's just not enough to sink your teeth into. At 70 minutes long, the game is simply too short. You can revisit each stage in order to try each of the four playable characters or to experiment with higher difficulty settings — hard mode is unlocked after you beat the game on normal, and it's no joke — but that's not a true replacement for more stages and/or additional modes.

If you're a score chaser, you could also replay the game for high scores, which are uploaded to a local leaderboard. Unfortunately, there's no way to enter your initials, or to view tallies from around the world. Also unfortunate is the fact that there's no online multiplayer whatsoever. Luckily, you can play to your heart's content in local co-op with up to four players.

On the graphical front, Wrath of the Mutants is a mixed bag. Some of the enemy designs — particularly the creatures of Dimension X — are impressive, and the animations are routinely smooth, helped along by 60 FPS on PS5. At the same time, the game suffers in several places due to low-texture assets and plasticky character models. It looks like a budget title, in the end. As for the audio side of things, it's a similar story. All the voice work is done by the original cast (Seth Green, Sean Astin, Rob Paulsen, and Greg Cipes), which is great on paper, but some of the sound samples get quite grating after a while.

Ultimately, Wrath of the Mutants can't compete with Shredder's Revenge or the better Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games out there. Still, thanks to its smooth controls, shallow-but-satisfying brawling, and diverse settings, it's a competent beat-'em-up. With more stages & modes, greater gameplay depth, and prettier graphics, it would begin to flirt with that next tier of TMNT titles. Even without, it's a mostly fun time, especially with a few friends fighting alongside you.

VGChartz Verdict


This review is based on a digital copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants for the NS, provided by the publisher.

Read more about our Review Methodology here

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Wman1996 (on 23 April 2024)

Nice review, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I had fun with this in the arcade on the first level and want to play this version. It really should be a $14.99-$19.99 title with that amount of content. I wasn't expecting around $10 because TMNT is a lucrative IP and even a light on content game wouldn't be under $15.

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