It’s a shaky start, but this TMNT game finally captures the quickness and agility missing from previous games.

User Rating: 6.5 | TMNT X360
While no one was surprised to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles make a return to video games, it might have shocked some to see them outside the brawler genre. While TMNT does have its share of ninja fighting action, this is primarily a platformer, and for the most part, it works.

Manufactured by some of the same folks that worked on the Prince of Persia series, TMNT plays like a simpler, faster version of Ubisoft’s hit franchise. The turtles can run on walls, flip up cracks, swing on poles and more, all at blistering speed. Pulling off these acrobatic moves is easy almost to a fault. Simply pushing against a wall will send your turtle into a horizontal sprint, which can lead to a few accidental deaths. The simple controls have good intentions, but it might have been easier to go with the Prince of Persia style and require a button to activate acrobatic moves.

Though the controls have some problems, the camera will kill you the most. It has a terrible habit of getting caught on corners or showing too little of the environment. This wouldn’t be a problem if the levels weren’t strictly linear, but since there is never more than one way to go, it’s frustrating when the camera fails to point you onward.

It seems the only things meant to kill you in the game never will, as the enemy AI and combat controls are brain dead. Instead of sprinkling foes throughout a level, TMNT segregates the combat and platforming. As soon as you reach a clearing, a “FIGHT!” sign will flash across the screen and you must dispatch a group of enemies before you’re allowed to move on. The simplicity of the platforming spills into combat. Defeating most foes in the game only requires the use of a single button. There are a few flashy team moves and some fancy jump kicks, but they very rarely need to be used. Instead you can mash on the attack button until all the enemies are on their backs and continue your sprint through the level.

You’d think with the accidental deaths from the controls and the camera, and the lame fighting action this game wouldn’t be any fun. Fortunately, TMNT manages to rise above its flaws and provide an entertaining, albeit short experience. The speed and fluidity of the turtle’s movement make them a joy to watch as they scamper over rooftops and shimmy around ledges. Unlike the plodding and planning that goes into making dangerous jumps in the Prince of Persia series, the depth defying leaps of TMNT require no thinking. Sure the levels are linear, but it’s a great deal of fun to blaze through them without stopping to think about where to go next. If anything, TMNT finally captures the quickness and agility missing from previous ‘Turtles’ games. The four brothers move about the level as one would expect a mutant ninja turtle would.

The graphics aren’t going to win any awards, but for a licensed multiplatform release, they aren’t bad. The turtles themselves look like their movie counterparts and their surroundings match the gritty New York presented in the film. Some of the textures are a bit bland and muddy, and enemies repeat a little too often, but because the game moves so fast, you won’t be sticking around to look at them for long. The trailing effects on the turtles are nice additions, and the Sin City inspired Raphael levels are fun.

The story is presented through animated comic panels, which only look ok and aren’t near as neat as the film. As with every TMNT game to date, expect the turtles to spout repetitive one-liners until your ears bleed.

TMNT is a short game, and though there are a few virtual missions to run through, there isn’t much replay value. The game does boast some easy achievements, and unlike other easy achievement games, gaining them isn’t pure agony.

TMNT lays down a good foundation for future iterations. With a few key improvements, this could be a series to look forward to, for both fans and non-fans. Until Assassin’s Creed comes out, this is as close as you’ll get to the crazy acrobatics of the Prince of Persia series.

No. This game is too short and too easy to warrant a purchase. Though it might be fun to rent the game and the movie and have yourself a ‘Turtles’ weekend.