For years now, I’ve been bummed by the thought that we may never see a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat ’em up in pixelated 2-D art again. I mean, Turtles in Time is the best of any beat ’em up there. That’s not up for negotiation.
So when Dotemu—a studio known as a retro-rebirth sweetheart to begin with—announced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge back in March 2021, it immediately shot up my list of most anticipated games. Dotemu is no stranger to the Esquire Gamer Zone, since its incredible developers are doing more work for us retro lovers than nearly any other studio. For those unfamiliar with Dotemu, it remade retro titles like Windjammers and Another World, while also following up classic series such as Streets of Rage 4, Metal Slug Tactics, and Windjammers 2. There are few gaming companies I put my blind trust in, but Dotemu is one of them. And I’m very specific about my fighting games. Especially when it comes to my turtles.
Needless to say, Dotemu put the Shell and Shred back in—drumroll, please—what has now become my all-time favorite slugfest. Shredder’s Revenge adds a plethora of new moves and functions to make the TMNT entry easy to pick up, but extremely rewarding to master. With a massive cast of characters, online functionality, thrilling missions, and chaotic, six-player co-op, you’ll find more than enough to do in the Turtles’ Manhattan. For those of you keeping track at home, Shredder’s Revenge sports seven playable characters, including the titular turtles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello. They’re all voiced by the original actors from the 1987 TV series, which is a touch that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In addition to the shelled-out heroes, you can also play as April Oniel, Splinter, and Casey Jones. Of course, that’s not mentioning all the baddies you’ll encounter and smash throughout the story.
The game has a pixel art style, but every single detail so painstakingly crafted that the final result is nothing short of beautiful. Coupled with the in-depth, incredibly responsive controls, Shredder’s Revenge makes for a perfectly refined Turtles in Time experience. Add to all of that, a vast variety of character combos that make each playable hero feel remarkably different from one other, beautifully interactive landscapes, and one of the bopping-est soundtracks I’ve ever heard, and you’ve got the perfect turtle adventure. And yet again, maybe the perfect beat ’em up, period.
I don’t care who you are, Shredder’s Revenge is for everyone. It’s a must-pick-up for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle enthusiasts, gamers, humans, teenagers, mutants, ninjas, and of course, turtles.
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