The turtles are back for another round of relentless old-school beat’em up, now with the bonus of dimension leaping. Fighting for justice but also for the award of the longest title ever, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge – Dimension Shellshock is the new expansion for the acclaimed original launched in 2022 by Dotemu (read our review of that here). With a focus on roguelike elements and single-screen battles, this release is both about hitting the enemies and the leaderboards, aided by two new appealing playable characters.
The new Survival mode is the highlight of the DLC, as you jump between dimensions in this multiverse threatened by the turtles’ good old buddy, Shredder. You can play solo or with friends, with the latter being the best choice both for fun and progress, as going in alone will prove complicated – this mode is designed to be intentionally difficult, rewarding persistence and progress as you get crushed during the initial playthroughs until you unlock permanent bonuses giving you an extra edge. This is roguelike design at its finest, keeping you engaged and challenged until you learn the intricacies of every enemy, perk, and randomizer, progressing just that little bit each time.
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Collecting crystal shards is the way to go, upgrading your character and consequently the challenge. After a certain number of shards, a full-blown crystal is crafted, potentially unlocking welcome permanent upgrades, and opening new dimensions to you. Perks such as additional hit points and lives, even a dimension skip option are available to balance the odds. Crystals also unlock new color palettes for your heroes, giving them different combinations and even some monochrome hues to pay homage to the classic era.
Crystal unlocks are bound to the character you have earned them with. This ends up encouraging further runs with different characters, adopting new tactics to see which fighter is most suited to your skills, and ultimately extending the playtime and enjoyment of the Survival mode.
A full run shouldn’t take much longer than 30 minutes, but it’s successfully achieving this that is the main issue, as the challenge isn’t easy and the path is far from a linear one. Completing each screen will offer you two choices, two temporary bonuses forcing you to pick wisely, getting you to your next battle alongside the reward that you have chosen. Some of these double your attack power but also your damage, spawn sushi plates for combo attacks, and more interestingly, morph you into a different character, giving you an additional health line for as long as it is active.
Each stage may have some randomizers at work, again turning everything on its head and requiring you to adapt to the changes that they bring into the battle. Low gravity, faster enemies, or missiles raining down on you are just a few of the events that you may stumble upon.
Not everything is perfect though, with some issues inherited from the base game. The dimensions may have holes in the ground or smaller arenas where collisions don’t really work to its fullest, as if the characters are walking on thin air or over bottomless pits. It’s not flawless, not very enjoyable to see, and takes some getting used to.
Two New Contenders Enter the Arena
The other big feature of Dimension Shellshock is the introduction of two new playable characters, rabbit samurai Miyamoto Usagi and ninja Karai. With different moves and feel, it’s worth experimenting and finding out if they are better in your hands than the original cast. Personally, I found Karai to be a very interesting and fast fighter, with some great moves such as the rising kick, and an ultimate that unleashes a flurry of attacks to both sides. Combining characters and discovering combos is all part of the fun, as the combat system allows for some clever team moves.
Dimension Shellshock doesn’t break any new ground nor it even attempts to, but as an unexpensive ($7.99) addition to a great old-school brawler, it’s hard to pass on the opportunity. It’s more of a good thing, significantly different from the main course while still faithful to what made the original fun and challenging, so it ends up being a refreshing update for all fans of the mythical pizza-loving turtles.
- Survival mode is a great time sink with plenty of replayability
- Two new fighters are nice additions to the roster
- Some problems inherited from the base game, such as collision issues
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge – Dimension Shellshock review code was provided by the publisher. You can read MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here.