I just got finished playing the 2007 single-player action game by Ubisoft titled TMNT based on the film by the same name, which was released on pretty much every platform including the PC. Obviously the game was released to capitalize on the film, and typically these types of games don’t go very well, but I will say that I had fun. That is right, these are the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from my childhood, back with all the attitudes and personality that I so fondly remember. Perhaps that is why I had fun because if you were hoping for some new and exciting game mechanics, this game is pretty much an exact copy of Prince of Persia, except with big green turtles instead of our beloved Prince.

TMNT: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Box Art

Personally I love and can’t get enough of the Prince of Persia games, so playing TMNT was a blast, if not way too short and a little frustrating.

One of my favorite features for me with the Prince of Persia games is the “Sands of Time”. It is why I have completed all of the Prince of Persia games, yet I am still stuck trying to complete Assassin’s Creed. For those that have never played, this feature gives the Prince the ability to rewind time for approximately 5 seconds should you make a bad jump or hit the wrong button. Since typically in these games it is impossible to die, it makes sense to have a quick undo button. One of the most frustrating things in TMNT is the lack of this feature. You are running, you are jumping, you are pulling off these amazing maneuvers, and then as the camera swings around as you jump, you immediately find yourself pushing the joystick the wrong direction… leaping like a moron to your death.

TMNT in action

Luckily though, it is impossible to die at least, and auto-save checkpoints are a plenty. Should you die in combat, all you need to do is press the spacebar (or attack button on your gamepad) a bunch of times to be revived with full health. You start the game off playing each of the four ninja turtles one at a time, and then as the game progresses, you begin to fight as a team. This particular game focuses on telling the story of when Raphael went off on his own as a vigilant, and how the turtles eventually got back together, stronger than ever. I haven’t seen the movie, but I imagine it is pretty much based on that story verbatim. The turtles are basically reminiscing of the adventure with Splinter, retelling him the story and we get to sit in and listen.

Unfortunately while Shredder is mentioned, and you even get to fight a very weak version of him, he does not have much of a presence in this story because you’ve already defeated him at this point in the story. You do however fight the classic Foot soldiers and at the climax of it all, you battle some intermissional aliens invading the Earth. It isn’t Brain, but it is the same idea for those that watched the cartoon growing up. This is a post-Shredder universe!

Based on the 2007 TMNT movie

As far as the graphics go, this game looks pretty good. The 3D maps are pretty well laid out, and there were a few times I had to stop just to look around. Keep in mind this is a face-paced game where you are typically racing a clock. There isn’t a lot of time to stop and smell the roses. There are 16 maps to play on that pretty much take you through all the familiar turtle settings: the Sewers, the Foot headquarters, and of course the rooftops. Each map is a combination of running quickly while performing acrobatic feats, and combat against very predictable enemies. Each turtle fights with the usual ninja weapons, but they also have special moves in which you can tag in a teammate and perform a “team move” for typically devastating effects.

These team moves are a very important mechanic in this game, and you are awarded points for making heavy use of them. Each map you complete rates your performance on time to completion, how much damage you took in battle, how many coins you’ve collected, and how often you made use of the team moves. Team moves allow the turtles to perform maneuvers such as jumping higher than normal as well as AoE stun and damage attacks. Later in the game as you battle some of the bigger bosses, you pretty much have to make use of these to counter the enemy, or else you just plain die. Luckily, the turtles are a talkative bunch and one of them will let you know when it is time to “tap him in”.

Donatello from TMNT

As mentioned, their are a number of coins to collect throughout the game map. These are really in place to help guide you on the correct course. At the end of each map, you are awarded shell tokens based on your performance, and these tokens are used to unlock special goodies that really have no effect on the actual game, but are fun nonetheless. Things like an oversized head for each turtle or Halloween costumes for the enemy are Ubisoft’s attempt to add reply value to a relatively short game. According to my Steam log, it only took 6.7 hours to complete this game. After you are done, you are encouraged to go back to each map to try to get an “A” score, which unlocks that map for time-trials. All of these allow you to gather more shell tokens to unlock goodies. You also use these tokens to unlock various pieces of artwork and CG clips that were shown throughout the game.

All in all, I enjoyed this game but it was wayyyyy too short. I am not one to typically buy into the extra goodies, nor do I typically replay games. I do not know if I can recommend this game to anyone at full price, but for the current $6.69 that it is selling for on Steam, it is worth picking up if you’ve already completed all of the Prince of Persia games and you are still itching for more. Otherwise, you are better off playing one of them first. This game would make an excellent weekend rental or something to mindlessly mess around with while home sick.

Graphics: B C+
Gameplay: C+
Story: B
Enjoyment: B-
Replayability: D-