Dude, the multiverse is being destroyed! The iconic brothers have their work cut out for them in TMNT: Mutant Madness from Kongregate. A comic-style opening shows Shredder’s need for vengeance has made the portal to the turtle’s lair, built by Kraang, unstable. This resulted in a massive explosion that started to break apart all the universes. Sounds like a wild and zany plot the original cartoon would come up with! Hop in the turtle van and fight enemies across various and familiar locations across mid-80’s New York. Besides the brothers, recruit heroes to fight like Casey and Irma, and even enemies like Leatherhead and Baxter Stockman. Heroes and villains have their own fighting style and super skills that recharge over time. Only five characters can fight at a time but can be swapped for others when the player unlocks more. Fight manually or select autoplay to watch the explosive action.
No one expects to fight for nothing. That’s why there are quests to complete. Quests appear and change as the characters make their way through several chapters of fighting. Some quests require players to complete battle stages. Winning battles earns rewards such as ooze, gems, scrap, and hero bits. Ooze is used to level up characters to make them more powerful. Plus, once a character reaches level ten, they unlock a new super skill. Scrap unlocks and upgrades rooms in the turtle’s lair, like the Ooze Refinery, which generates ooze when the player is AFK. Gems are for buying hero boxes, which offer more characters and rewards. A free hero box is also offered. Hero bits (green and blue cubes) also buy characters, this time from a hero drive. 1,000 cubes each are required before a character can be summoned.
TMNT: Mutant Madness is a visual treat. The intro and cutscenes are done in a 2D comic-style while gameplay and idle character animation are in 3D. Historically, the blending of these two styles has been met with success in various media, like the movie Klaus for example. It works in this game too; the 2D comics tell the multiverse story while the 3D shows off character movement. If the game only had one or the other, it wouldn’t be as interesting or engaging. The comics bring out the personalities of these age-old characters through individual dialogue and interaction with others. The animation allows characters to perform unique movements each time they level up. For instance, Michelangelo does the moonwalk, a popular dance from the 80’s. By combining the two animation styles, the game becomes a lot more fun to play.
Though well-done, there is something TMNT: Mutant Madness could’ve had to make it even better: a complete and total change in character roster. Yes, 80’s turtles are nostalgic, but it’s been over 30 years and there have been better versions since. Personally, I would’ve loved to see this game with the cast from Nickelodeon’s Rise of the TMNT. Like the 80’s turtles in both comedy and wacky adventures, Rise took a different approach with the turtle brothers. Instead of already knowing how to be ninjas, they’re inexperienced with a lot to learn, and they’re all different turtle species. For the first time, they actually acted like rowdy teens, and more importantly, like family. Though Rise was suddenly and unfairly cancelled by Nick, its fanbase has only grown. A fantastic game would be a step in the right direction to bring it back and continue its story.
Always Time for Pizza
TMNT: Mutant Madness blends 2D and 3D art styles together to form an engaging story and exciting gameplay. Characters are well-written, animations are unique and fluid, and there are many fun quests to do. The only downside is that this was just another attempt at reliving the 80’s series with the 80’s characters. Pushing for nostalgia over and over has become stale. A fresh take on the franchise, like Rise, is what’s needed to keep it from constantly being dragged back to the past.
Is it Hardcore?
Though bogged down by rehashing the same characters for the umpteenth time, this doesn’t change the fact that the game is both enjoyable and well-written.