Platinum Games is probably my favorite Japanese Game Publisher. Their approach to game design and bringing out the fun factor out of each or their ideas has always been their key trademark. And it shows! Games like the ultraviolent Mad World, super stylized Bayonetta series, and even the highly underrated shooter, Vanquish are some of the best action games to come out the past decade. Their latest entry however, TMNT Mutants in Manhattan is a lazy piss poor attempt and goes against everything of what makes a Platinum Game good.
For a lack of a better word, Mutants in Manhattan is a disaster—a game that could have probably worked in 2001. Probably. Its presentation is laughably dated with poor textures and models that act like something from a bad PlayStation 2 game. The dialogue is also equally cringy with the bro attitude of the Turtles barely clicking. I did chuckle at some of them though that’s probably due to how terrible the whole thing is written.
But I’m not one to judge too harshly on presentation. One of their previous low budget brawlers, Transformers: Devastation, had close to the same level of quality in terms of presentation. But that game was actually fun, with a great mix of melee and shooting. Mutants in Manhattan struggles of being half of that. For starters the combos are sluggish, a lot of them don’t click and some like the air-to-ground attacks are slow. The best way I could describe it is comparing it to a half-finished Bayonetta clone.
While you’d think being able to select 4 different Turtles would have given it some variety the fact is most of them act the same with a slight difference in movement and probably speed. This where the game’s special abilities come into place where you can equip various skills such as healing, dancing (seriously), and high jumping. These can be leveled up to further improve them. But again it fails to give each Turtles identity as these abilities can be more or less exchanged among them.
The game also attempts “stealth” where you can sneak up behind enemies and land a finishing blow. I’ve tried so many times to actually gain their attention with loud noises or literally having a brawl next to them yet they still don’t react or listen. There’s even an X-ray vision that rips off the Detective Vision from the Batman Arkham games and only acts as a means of seeing those enemies walk their predictive paces. I barely used it and there’s very little reason to.
And speaking of dull, the game’s mission design is probably Mutant in Manhattan’s weakest point. At first I didn’t know what the hell was going on. All of my AI Mutant Bros started attacking enemies randomly and then kept yelling random gibberish. I then realized I needed to complete various missions in order to fill up a meter and fight the stage boss. The missions range from go to this point and beat up the bad guy to go and disarming bombs. None of them feel fresh or engaging in any particular way and are repeated in multiple stages. Boss fights fair a bit better with some of them taking several minutes of dodging, attacking, and pulling off special combos. Dying is probably the most interesting feature as you’ll need munch down pizza quickly to go back into the fray.
Couch or local co-op could have went a long way. I mean it’s literally begging to have it and previous TMNT games proved how fun it could be. Instead it’s limited to online co-op which sucks because even after a few weeks from release barely anyone is playing it. That being said I did enjoy playing it online but not by a huge margin.
The game is also unimpressive from a technical level as well. I usually enjoy my action games at 60 FPS and seeing as how limited the texture quality is I assumed they’d pull it off on the console version. But not even that could be accomplished. It’s ridiculous how a game as detailed as The Last of Us or Battlefront could pull of 60 on consoles yet this arcadey hack and slash can barely do 30.
Mutants in Manhattan is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace to the brand. It’s a disgrace to the classic TMNT games. And it’s a disgrace to what makes Platinum Games special. The company has had a pretty good track record so far. It’s a shame it stopped with a game that had so much potential.