teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles_797809194_ipad_01.jpgThe Game Bakers have done it again. For those of you reading the site, you are more than likely familiar with their roster of incredibly well-done mobile games like the Squids series and more recently, the retro-inspired beat-’em-up Combo Crew.

You also are undoubtedly aware of the 2014 reboot of the theatrical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which has both invigorated the property but also divided fans into incredibly polarized camps.

Now take the new Turtles and Combo Crew and mix them up until you get a nice frothy paste, then spread that all over your iOS device. That’s this game.

First let’s get this out of the way; the TMNT have a combination of cel shaded cartoon style which has been clearly inspired by the new film’s take on the characters. Some people like the new turtles, while others claim the more-realistic turtles in the film make them want to gouge their eyeballs out. I think the combination of cel shading and new style is actually refreshing and works out pretty well in this format.

The object of the game is to stop the foot clan from ruining or stealing pizza, I guess? It feels like because the turtles dig pizza, the foot clan decided to steal pizza to be petty little buggers rather than do anything actually threatening.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles_797809194_ipad_04.jpgYou accomplish your pizza-obsessed vengeance by swiping and tapping the screen at different points, again much like combo crew. Swiping up, down, left and right will execute your turtle’s moves and by stringing together combos you turtle will increase his combo meter and increase your score, and also charge the assist ability where your turtle brethren (aka your ‘bros’) will pop in and help you at your request in a little mini-game that can seriously help your scores.

For me the most appealing feature is the snack-sized gameplay that is offered whenever you pick up the game. You can play a stage or two in a few minutes, including loading screens.

This is the kind of thing that keeps me coming back for more. The reasonable install size (~232 megs installed) means it won’t be the first game I remove when I need extra space for the ever-growing install size of most other new games.

If you are looking for a longer sit-down with the game, Survival mode keeps throwing waves of baddies at you while you only have one life bar. The game plays the same, and even has the same loading between waves as if you were playing a normal level, but it is a nice distraction from the main game and great for farming more gems and coins.

Difficulty-wise, the game is a bit easier than Combo Crew was, but I think that is due to the lack of dual-finger swiping. While multi-finger gestures are fine on the iPad, most of my gaming is done on my iPhone 5, and multi-finger gestures make things more tricky than they need to be.

This was a welcome addition.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles_797809194_ipad_02.jpgThere is a significant amount of replayability in unlocking all the upgrades for the four turtles, which is done by collecting gems and coins. You know where this is going, yep – In-App Purchases.

Now, most of our readers know my view, I don’t mind them unless I am forced to buy them or the game is significantly hindered. If I get a cool bonus for paying some cash, I am fine with that. Just don’t handicap the game or make it unreasonably difficult to proceed unless I drop down some real money. TMNT does alright in this case. While I would prefer coins to drop at a better rate, it isn’t annoying enough to really hurt the game. I am never hounded by “BUY SOME GEMS PLEASE PARTY DUDE?” or anything similarly cool but rude statement intended to get me to buy gems/coins.

I could see spending some money to upgrade the other turtles for future playthroughs, but they come at a steady enough pace that it feels to be an option rather than a necessity.

If you power through the game, you could breeze through the levels in about 3 hours for your first turtle, maybe a bit less after, but the survival mode should keep you occupied.

In Conclusion

This seems to be more of an upgrade to the Combo Crew formula than a simple re-skin. I played them one after the other and I have to say I prefer this version. It just looks and feels better, but I doubt that this game will have the longevity and community that Combo Crew has.

Time will tell. Until then, Cowabunga!

For those wondering, I enjoyed the new movie quite a bit with my 6-year old son. The movie was what I expected, entertaining and an hour and a half of summer movie fun. It had turtles which were ninja mutants and also teenagers. It had a great Arrested Development reference for the Wil Arnett fans in the audience. Sadly though it didn’t have cricket or crumpets. (You have to know what a crumpet is to play cricket!)