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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath Of The Mutants Review – A Repetitive Romp

They sure say 'booyakasha' a lot.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants (referred to as Wrath from here out because geez what a mouthful) is a port of a 2017 arcade game from prolific licensed arcade game maker Raw Thrills, that has you picking from one of the four iconic Turtles and mashing through legions of enemies until you finish or run out of continues. Ostensibly inspired by the classic Turtles in Time, Wrath is a mindless trial of repetition that gets stale even within its roughly hour-long runtime.

Things look positive to begin with. Up to four player local co-op play is easy to set up and can make for some fun carnage. You begin by each choosing a turtle – the choice doesn’t matter all that much, the attacks look a little different but they’re all pretty much the same – then choosing a level from the five initially available (with one more unlocked afterwards), and walking from left to right beating up every baddie in your way.

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The gameplay is extremely simple; you can move, jump, and attack, though I found myself yearning for a dodge or block button. Avoiding damage requires you to stop attacking and walk away from an enemy about to attack. Compared to an active block or dodge, walking back feels like I’m slowly meandering away from combat rather than participating. More often than not I just found myself mashing attack and accepting the hits. There is some strategy to be found in learning which coloured enemies have which weaponry – dealing with blue enemies first is a good idea because their electric zap attack is incredibly annoying if it hits, for example.

As you land hits you’ll fill a meter under your health, and when it’s full you can unleash a ‘Turtle Power’ attack. Each Turtle’s power looks different, but they’re all functionally the same – a flashy screen-clearing attack. You’ll occasionally find icons in the world that summon friends to do another kind of screen clearing attack with a slightly different animation. Again it adds some modicum of variety, but once you’ve seen them all they’re just another variation on the same.

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There is some much-appreciated visual variety in the levels at least. While they’re all populated with mostly the same small selection of enemy types, the backgrounds and hazards in each level help break the tedium a little. You’ve got New York City, a sewer level that apes the neat sewer surfing level from Turtles in Time, Dimension X with its wild, bright pink and white sci-fi setting, among others. Levels have two bosses apiece as well, each with some personality and attack patterns to learn. Even though the actual gameplay is turn-your-brain-off mindless, I still found myself having fun bounding through the levels to see the sights and fight bosses.

Visually the game is pretty unremarkable. We’re well past the time when arcade hardware outclassed what we can have at home. Design wise I don’t find the characters terribly appealing, and technically there are a lot of strange looking low resolution textures to be found. It barrels along at a smooth-seeming 60 frames per second on PS5 even with a lot of chaos on screen which is notable, but overall looks a bit cheap.

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Wrath of the Mutants does have some degree of a storyline, but it’s told in uninteresting, unvoiced motion comic style scenes that had me switching off. April O’Neill has been kidnapped, you’ve gotta fight legions of baddies and save her. To be fair, not many people are gonna be playing this for an engrossing story.

Wrath of the Mutants is a thoroughly unremarkable game. Four player local co-op play can elevate even the most mindless of games to be decent fun, but underneath you’ll mostly be moving around and mashing attack until you finish enough levels to hit the end. As an arcade game it’s designed to be easily understood, but even just a little more depth to gameplay would have helped prevent the quick onset of monotony.

tmnt review
The simple gameplay of Wrath of the Mutants can be enjoyable in the right mood, but don’t expect anything more than a bland and repetitive button masher.
Performs well
Local co-op easy to drop into
Visual variety in levels
Can be fun in the right situation
Minimal gameplay depth
Short play time
Little reason to replay