Shredder’s Revenge’ delivers a critical hit to your nostalgia

Turtles are back, baby. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is a modern take on the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre, following in the footsteps of the 1991 arcade classic turtles in time. In this new installment, developer Tribute Games has taken all the best aspects of older games and implemented a host of modern touches that make gaming fun in 2022.

At PAX East 2022, publisher DotEmu and Tribute Games invited Reverse to try a preview version of The Shredder’s Revenge, and it was an absolute treat. This nostalgic adventure will scratch a specific itch for many gamers, offering plenty of callbacks to ’90s arcade games.

What’s old is new

The beautiful assets of Shredder’s Revenge pop, thanks to the vibrant colors, and the varied palette. DotEmu

More often than not, our memories of older games make them look much better than they actually were. Sometimes those familiar mechanics and features just don’t hold up. With TMNT: Shredder’s RevengeTribute Games aims to make an experience that feels like the old beat ’em ups, without all the technical limitations of the past.

The clearest examples of this are the game’s art and animation, which are absolutely stunning. Sure, it retains the beloved pixel art style of 30 years ago, but it’s much more dynamic, with a greater variety of on-screen assets at all times. Things like busy streets full of cars, cracks in walls, and even reflections in windows are small details that may seem insignificant but work together to evoke a more polished look. This is clearly represented with the wide color palette, with many variations that make everything pop on screen.

Beyond that are the stunning animations, which are exceptionally created, with a smooth approach that blows the classics out of the water. You’ll notice this in jump attacks, as well as simple walking animations. The best example of art and animation working together is during boss battles, especially when you stun your opponent, causing stars to float around their head. The vibrant colors and movement are executed so well during these segments, which makes The Shredder’s Revenge a showcase for some of the best pixel art we’ve seen.

Do you want a pizza for me?

Simple and accessible controls appeal to a wider audience. DotEmu

But what about the gameplay? Luckily, the visuals aren’t the only thing that’s gotten a lot of love. Even in our short demo with The Shredder’s Revengewe got to enjoy some of the new gameplay features that ease the frustrations of the past.

For example, health items – which naturally come in the form of pizza – now drop for each player, meaning there’s no need to fight over who will heal this time around. Another welcome addition is the ability to walk towards a downed teammate to revive them, eliminating the need to wait for the long countdown. However, if you can’t get there, your allies will resurrect after about 10 seconds. Again, these seemingly small features add up to make The Shredder’s Revenge a pleasure to play.

Just like the originals, The Shredder’s Revenge features a simple control scheme, allowing a wide variety of players to enjoy. Tribute Games wants kids and inexperienced gamers, as well as beat ’em up experts, to still be able to play and play without needing to learn complicated combos. That doesn’t mean the game feels too repetitive though, as there are plenty of moves to unlock and learn as you play. For example, Story Mode features smooth progression, rewarding you with more powerful attacks like Leonardo’s ridiculous tornado that has wide spread. The Shredder’s Revenge incorporates just enough progression to give you something to work on, without feeling overly complicated.

Better with a friend

Couch and online co-op feature prominently, allowing up to four turtles to play with each other at any time. DotEmu

In The Shredder’s Revenge, you won’t have to tackle the bad guys alone. With up to four players in co-op online or locally, the four turtles can team up to fight crime and eat pizza. According to Jean-François Major, CEO of Tribute Games, you will even be able to play locally and online simultaneously, which will give you great freedom to enjoy the game with your friends. For example, you and a friend can play together on the couch alongside two other turtles online. This multiplayer component isn’t very common in games like these, but it’s a welcome addition.

Another great component is the game’s co-op progression system. A player who joins a host’s game will always progress towards their own save, which is a nice touch. For example, if you started a brand new game and join a player who is on stage five, you will still earn credits for completing that level (although you still need to progress through stages one through five). It’s yet another example of building on the classics in a meaningful way.

Finally, Major tells Reverse that some sort of cross-play functionality will be added, but that the team will “share more details closer to release”. It’s likely there will be cross-play within the same family, like the PS4 and PS5, but it’s unclear if it will expand beyond that.

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge will launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC in summer 2022.