9 beat 'em ups to play if you like TMNT: Shredder's Revenge

Still feeling punchy after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, but want to change it up? We've got some delightful beat 'em up games to sate your fists.

Image via Dotemu

If you’re like us here at Shacknews, you might not have shut up about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge since it came out. It is a masterpiece of pixel art, music, co-op gameplay (both online and off), and so much more after all. The most unfortunate thing about Shredder’s Revenge is that it eventually comes to an end. So, what do you do then? Well, if you’re still itching for a fight, perhaps alongside a friend, and against a whole bunch baddies, we might have just the thing for you. In celebration of the TLC Shredder’s Revenge brings to the beat ‘em up genre, we pulled together a list of further brawlers you can jump into right now if you want. Check it out!

Streets of Rage 4

I get the feeling that it's going to be an ongoing conversation about which is better between Streets of Rage 4 and TMNT: Shredder's Revenge. Both are published by Dotemu and both are highly fantastic games. It might truly be a matter of preference, but Streets of Rage 4 is most certainly worth any beat 'em up fan's time. Not only is it an impeccable combination of art style, music, gameplay, and great follow-up DLC (I'd argue Mr. X Nightmare is practically a must as a companion purchase to this), but it's also just a great nod to all of the things that made Streets of Rage a legendary franchise in the first place. If you like Shredder's Revenge and have not taken a chance on Streets of Rage 4, you're downright silly.

~TJ Denzer

Capcom Beat Em Up Bundle

[Image via Capcom]

If you've been enjoying the remakes and the remasters, you might be interested in checking out some of the brawlers from yesteryear. Capcom hasn't "remade" their old beat 'em ups like Final Fight or Knights of the Round in the same way that Dotemu has gone HAM on TMNT and Streets of Rage. However, the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle is still a value worth checking out, just because the publisher has injected every title with major quality-of-life improvements, including online play in most cases.

These glorious arcade titles are a time capsule for a simpler age, one where games would mercilessly munch your quarters. You can play each of these games as you remember them or you can make adjustments to enjoy them however you want. Many of these games have stood the test of time and are just as fun today as they were back in their heyday. Consider picking up this collection from Capcom, back when they were the masters of this genre.

~Ozzie Mejia


[Image via HypeTrain Digital]

Tunche stands out as an overlooked indie gem, one that blends together elements of several different genres. At its core, however, it's a charming beat 'em up brawler that takes players through the dangerous Peruvian jungles. Pounding baddies is as satisfying as ever, but the process is made that much more satisfying by a Devil May Cry-style combo meter, which just goes higher and higher the longer I'm able to juggle foes.

Don't let the dazzling, hand-drawn visuals fool you. Tunche pulls no punches, featuring roguelike elements that mean once a character dies, they're gone for the rest of that run. That makes the boss battles that much more intimidating and challenging. It's possible to jump into this game with three other friends, but that makes the character pool a little more shallow. Your approach to this game will vary when you're approaching it solo, with a friend, or with three other friends, and that honestly makes Tunche an intriguing experience and a unique entry into the beat 'em up genre.

~Ozzie Mejia

Castle Crashers

[Image via The Behemoth]
[Image via The Behemoth]

One of the most iconic modern brawlers of all time didn't exactly come from the likes of Konami, Capcom, Sega, or a reinvention of anything they'd already done. Castle Crashers was a passion project from Newgrounds-adjacent game developer The Behemoth, and what a fine job they did. Between making characters that were varied and fun to play with various weapons and levelable stats, Castle Crashers was a funny romp through a troubled land of fantasy fiction and very poopy deer. Add in some of the downright easiest drop-in-drop-out online and local co-op play around and this game was just an all-around feast for brawling fans. It's kind of amazing that as much as everyone loves this game, there hasn't been any sign of a Castle Crashers sequel coming anytime soon.

~TJ Denzer

River City Girls

[Image via Arc System Works]

Arc System Works has the interesting position of being stewards of the River City/Kunio franchise these days, and I do believe they'd do well if they wanted to make their own brawler given the pedigree behind games like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. That said, they're happy to give that spotlight to other passionate developers like Shantae star studio Wayforward. We're happy with it too because River City Girls is an absolute treat. We couldn't have imagined that making Kunio and Riki's girlfriends Kyoko and Misako the star of a brawler would play out so well, but it sure does, and does it in style. Elbow drops, spin kicks, and power dabs were good enough as we punked thugs throughout the city, but running into Double Dragon characters like the wonderfully redesigned Marian was a cherry on top. We can't wait to play more in River City Girls 2.

~TJ Denzer

Full Metal Furies

Cellar Door Games is known more for helping refine the roguelike with the Rogue Legacy games. Don't overlook the team's sophomore effort, the class-based Full Metal Furies. This uses more of an overhead perspective and features occasional Contra/Metal Slug style bullet hell, but when it comes time to throw down, it holds up as well as any other brawler on this list. This is especially true when larger enemies come on screen and require an arcade beat 'em up approach to take down.

If you're more into story, RPG stat balancing, weapon variety, and loadouts, you'll find a lot to love with Full Metal Furies.

~Ozzie Mejia

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game

[Image via Ubisoft]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge wasn't Tribute Games' first rodeo. The team has a catalogue of fantastic retro-inspired games under its belt, including Mercenary Kings and Panzer Paladin. However, before they were even Tribute Games, they worked with Ubisoft on another modern classic: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. This video game spinoff of the movie and comic of the same name is absolutely a River City knockoff, but that's okay because it does all the things those games do right. More than that, it properly adapts most of the elements of the movie and comics into the game to make it a genuine delight if you like Scott Pilgrim in general. The Complete Edition that came out more recently brought Scott Pilgrim to modern consoles with online play, so this game is not only accessible, but improved in most of the ways you could want it to be.\

~TJ Denzer

Kung Fu

[Image via Nintendo]

Kung Fu is a classic NES/arcade brawler that many of you darned kids probably missed out on. Well, there is still time to fix this. Kung Fu had some minimal gameplay mechanics, but was very difficult. The game also has a jazzy 8-bit soundtrack that will haunt you for decades. Ever wanted to know what it felt like to be Bruce Lee? Play Kung Fu. Before there were ninja turtles, there was Kung Fu.

~Asif Khan

Final Vendetta

[Image via Numskull Games]

We haven't had a new Final Fight in a long time unless you count Capcom packing it into its Beat 'Em Up Bundle. That's great and all, but Streets of Rage 4 has us sometimes jonesing for new versions of the good stuff we loved on the arcades and consoles of yesteryear. Thankfully, Bitmap Bureau and Numskull Games know what we crave, and while they might not have the licenses to the original Final Fight, Final Vendetta is a pretty great imitator. Playing as one of three heroes, you battle your way through a city of thugs and lay the smackdown with a variety of moves. Final Vendetta has some incredible looks and feel to it. In lieu of the fact that a new Final Fight feels out of reach, we certainly won't complain about having Final Vendetta instead.

~TJ Denzer

And that covers our full run of fine brawling beat ‘em ups to check out if you liked TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge. Want to get even more caught up in punchy gaming goodness? Be sure to check out our previous feature in which we opine on what classic beat 'em up franchises we’d love to see Dotemu revive next.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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