TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge review: A rare combo of nostalgia-based Serotonin and fantastic gameplay

DotEmu /

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Dotemu
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch (Nintendo Switch)
Release Date: June 16, 2022

There is an interesting thing that happens sometimes when games from our past make a return. A company will recognize that people miss an old game and bring it back, but it will either be exactly the original game or it will be something that feels like the original. And this normally doesn’t work because the older games we have feelings for were arcade games designed to sap us of our quarters regardless of how fun they were. Not only that but the graphics were fairly dated.

This even happens when games get an overhaul. A new version where it’ll look nice but it’ll just be a painted-over version of the original that’s still designed to kill you quickly for the quarters you can’t pump into your system.

But Dotemu seems to be masters of breaking that formula. They’ve done remarkable jobs with Streets of Rage 4 and Windjammers 2. And they’ve done it again with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
Dotemu /

I am overwhelmed with how much fun I had with this game. From the second I picked my mainstay, Raphael, and heard Robert Paulson voicing him, just like in the original cartoon (note: All still living voice actors from the original show voice their characters), I knew this was a project of love.

There are even ways to find other characters like Irma, Burne, and the Neutrinos hidden about in almost every level. These cameo characters even offer their own side missions.

The graphics and animation are so gorgeous I suddenly flashed back to being eleven in the early 90’s and seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time in the Geauga Lake Amusement Park arcade, surrounded by a thick crowd of teens all in awe of seeing this game for the first time.

Dotemu has looked through everything from every TMNT game that made them great or memorable and cherry-picked the pieces that people would want. They then put those pieces into TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge.

TMNT: Shredder's Revenge - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
Dotemu /

The overworld map is a take on the map from the NES TMNT game. The various power-ups in the form of pizza are here. You absolutely know that if you hit a fire hydrant the cap is going to shoot off the other side and possibly hit an enemy. Do you want to throw a heavily pixelated Foot Soldier at the screen? Grab, down, and throw. Easy peasy. Oh, and of course there’s a stage where you ride and fight on a hoverboard. Why would you even worry?

Oh, and speaking of the hoverboard level, Dotemu isn’t the only person with much love for the 1987 cartoon series. One of the levels features a brand new track, made just for the game, written and performed by Ghostface Killah and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan called “We Ain’t Came to Lose,” which slaps so damn hard.

The bosses range from expected, like Bebop and Rocksteady to amazing deep cuts like Tempestra, who escapes from a video game and attacks you with holograms of Tokka and Rahzar.

TMNT: Shredder's Revenge - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
Dotemu /

Everything in this game, from its multiplayer to its controls, is exactly how I wanted it. It not only brings back the joy of the original games but also masterfully improves on the original formula, making it feel more like you’re fighting successfully through enemies and less like you’re suffering from cheap blows designed to snag one last token from your 501 pockets.

Dotemu CEO, Cyrille Imbert said that they’d consider DLC if the game is successful and, honestly, with a game this good I can’t see it doing poorly.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (Nintendo Switch) Score: 10/10

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge not only recreates the joy of encountering a Ninja Turtles classic arcade game from back in the day but perfectly mixes in modern-day conveniences like advanced combo controls, a multitude of moves, and characters that genuinely feel like they play differently for a more varied experience. Combined with all the deep cuts to the original 1987 cartoon and a powerful soundtrack featuring many songs from surprising sources, you have a powerful love letter to a long-running franchise you’ll want to return to again and again.