Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Wrath of the Mutants review: Cow Bung

Wrath of the Mutants is a port of the 2017 arcade game based on the 2012 TV series, but does it have the chops to stand next to recent beat 'em up hits?

Image via GameMill Entertainment

There’s really no saying that we’re lacking for good arcade-style beat ‘em ups anymore. Dotemu has been slaying with the likes of 2020’s Streets of Rage 4 and 2022’s TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge. Even indie studios have contributed, including Bitmap Bureau’s Final Vendetta and NuChallenger’s Treachery in Beatdown City. When the 2017 arcade-exclusive TMNT: Wrath of the Mutants first came out, the genre wasn’t looking so hot and games like this kept it alive, but the home port of this experience feels like it’s come a little too late in 2024. It doesn’t do what these other games I’ve mentioned did to elevate the genre. On the contrary, it feels like it’s simply trying to cash in on TMNT and the beat ‘em up genre’s ongoing hype, but ends up a mediocre offering in its attempt, even if it does bring a little extra content not found in the original arcade release.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Wrath of the Mutants is a home port of the 2017 arcade game produced by Raw Thrills, which is itself an arcade adaptation of the 2012 TV series. Wrath of the Mutants is a fairly typical turtles beat ‘em up. You play as one of the four turtles, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, or Raphael, and you have regular attack combos, throws, area-of-effect attacks, jump attacks, and a super that can be used once you fill a Turtle Power bar. You have two continues and three lives per continue to beat any given stage, which are a collection of the usual spots: New York City, the sewers, an amusement park, the Technodrome, and Dimension X. All of it features boss battles with familiar foes and leads up to a final encounter with the Shredder. This version even features three new stages not found in the arcade with six new boss fights spread between them.

Where I think Wrath of the Turtles starts to go wrong is that it doesn’t do much to polish up or smooth out the all-flash-no-substance of Raw Thrills’ original design. This game could be considered a looker and captures the 2012 show’s aesthetic, but it brings almost all of Raw Thrill’s arcade design with it. For instance, that arcade had an invisible limit built into combos. If you reached it, you literally couldn’t attack until some unseen meter recharged, which was probably designed to help eat quarters in the arcade. Here, it ends up feeling like one of the silliest artificial limitations I’ve ever seen in a beat ‘em up. Who the hell wants to play a beat ‘em up where you have to wait to attack if you attack too much?

Playing as Michelangelo in TMNT: Wrath of the Mutants
Source: GameMill Entertainment

There’s also just the sheer amount of dialogue for every little thing in this game. Get ready to hear combat lines for almost every single attack you do, with a peppering of “Pizza Time!,” “Shell-Shocked!,” “Cowabunga!,” and other such quips just going off at every second of the game. Some lines here and there are cool, and Rob Paulson, Sean Astin, Greg Cripes, and Seth Green reprise their roles from the show, but not even Gilbert Gottfried’s voice coming out of Kraang, funny as that was, could overcome the non-stop barrage of quips and catchphrases. That extends to the music as well. Where Tee Lopes really made the music in Shredder's Revenge feel like a standout identity of every stage, this game's music is generic and forgettable. They even reuse the same boss music for every single boss, which would be fine if the track wasn't boring.

Another lost opportunity picked up by other games here is the utter lack of online co-op support. Wrath of the Mutants is local co-op only, which seems nonsensical considering even 2020’s Streets of Rage had rudimentary online play sorted out and 2022’s Shredder’s Revenge was almost flawless in its online co-op. It makes no sense to me that Wrath of the Mutants would have zero options for online play or crossplay because playing with others is one of the places where this could be a good time.

Four steps forward, one step back

The Ninja Turtles charging at Shredder in TMNT: Wrath of the Mutants.
Source: GameMill Entertainment

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the 2012 TMNT. Bebop being pencil thin, Rocksteady being Russian and saying things like “I will skewer you like boar!!” (bro, your best friend is a warthog), and so much other stuff makes me cringe. Even then, I could look past all of that if this was a good beat ‘em up. It might have been in the arcades, but with so many good games having come out since, its sheen is dulled by the excellence we’ve had in recent years and a bevy of bad design choices that crossed over from the arcade format.

Wrath of the Mutants is a functional beat ‘em up. I’ll give it that. If you liked the 2012 show and want more TMNT beat ‘em up goodness to play, it’s fine if your co-op friends are nearby. Otherwise, there are far better options at similar or cheaper prices, even within this IP.

This review is based on a digital PC version supplied by the publisher. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Wrath of the Mutants comes out on April 23, 2024 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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.

  • Another functional TMNT beat-'em-up
  • Original 2012 voice cast reprises their roles
  • Local co-op
  • Additional content not found in the arcade
  • Frustratingly bad arcade designs ported over
  • Limits on regular attacks (Why?!)
  • No online co-op support
  • Dialogue is ridiculously overused
  • Level and boss music is generic and forgettable
  • Depends heavily on your feelings about the 2012 TV show
From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola