Because the arcade days, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been synonymous with one online game style: beat-em-ups. Even when builders take a brand new stab on the IP, we are inclined to see the turtles in 2D side-scrolling motion that calls again to retro classics like Turtles in Time — simply have a look at final 12 months’s Shredder’s Revenge. Developer Tremendous Evil Megacorp is altering that pattern, although, with its newest sport, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splintered Destiny.
The Apple Arcade unique cellular title, which surprise-launched immediately, places the turtles in a top-down roguelite that pulls inspiration from Hades. It’s a wholly completely different method for the franchise, however one which feels spiritually linked to its wealthy gaming historical past. It’s nonetheless an motion sport that helps four-player co-op, and there’s definitely no scarcity of robots and ninjas to beat up. That makes for one thing that looks like a logical evolution of the turtles’ gaming careers, in addition to a step ahead for the roguelite style.
Forward of its shock launch, I attempted my hand at a run. What I discovered in that point is a surprisingly deep cellular roguelite that lets gamers make a number of selections throughout a run, consists of some agency development hooks, and goes all-in on narrative with a narrative that unfolds whether or not you win or fail. It’s a promising new addition to each the Turtles online game profession and the Apple Arcade library.
At first look, the comparisons to Hades are unmistakable. Splintered Destiny has a really comparable tilted top-down perspective as that sport, has a equally colourful artwork type, and even drops into momentary sluggish movement when the final enemy in a room is killed. The builders at Tremendous Evil Megacorp weren’t shy about that comparability, noting that Hades was a direct inspiration for the title. Builders readily available on the press occasion additionally cited video games like Returnal and Useless Cells as touchstones for the undertaking.
Regardless of the inspirations, Tremendous Evil Megacorp needed to ensure its sport was including to the style reasonably than borrowing from it. That begins with using the Turtles IP. Splintered Destiny has a robust narrative focus, with a narrative co-written with Tom Waltz, one of many writers behind the collection’ IDW comics. Within the story, Splinter goes lacking and it’s as much as the brothers to search out him. The crew refers back to the story as an “evolving narrative,” as extra items of the thriller are layered in between runs no matter whether or not or not gamers are profitable. That’s one other space the place the crew invokes Hades and its comparable method to storytelling.
The sport itself will look acquainted to followers of the style. Gamers select a turtle and bounce right into a roguelite run the place they need to clear room after room of enemies, gaining power-ups and forex alongside the way in which. It may be performed with as much as 4 gamers cooperatively, and the turtles are designed round that concept. Donatello, as an illustration, is a little bit of a tank who can take a variety of hits whereas delivering sluggish, heavy assaults.
For my run, I’d select Raphael, a quick offense character with some distinctive talents. Along with his fundamental slash, I may press one button to ship a particular flurry of slashes and one other to shoot out a number of chains and drag enemies towards me (these particular talents function on a brief cooldown). With no tutorial obligatory, I received the hold of the motion quick. Every enviornment battle is quick-paced, as I sprint away from ninja slashes. It’s not the deepest fight system when enjoying solo, however I can see how every turtle’s particular powers may synergize in co-op.
Whereas runs aren’t totally procedurally generated, lots can change between them. Room layouts can change, completely different climate can hit phases, and mini-bosses shuffle round every time. Every biome — there are 4 at launch — culminates in a boss battle with some acquainted foes. On the finish of the primary degree, I’d go face to face with Leatherhead, who I’d need to evade as he slid throughout the sewer enviornment. I’d ultimately fall to the boss of the second stage, Karai, who throws knives in a “bullet hell” style.
Loss of life wasn’t an excessive amount of of a setback, although, due to some everlasting development hooks. After every run, collected assets might be spent to buff each character’s stats in addition to unlock some character-specific perks. There’s a good quantity of development inside every run too, as I get the power to decide on a perk or forex every time I clear a room. Throughout my run, I’d closely buff up my sprint and water harm, in addition to scale back my cooldowns and improve my max well being (with pizza, clearly). At first look, it looks as if character talents stay considerably static, which has me questioning about its longevity. Even so, there’s sufficient decision-making and development right here that ought to assist construct some gradual energy progress every run.
Whereas I solely received a brief run in, I’m already keen to leap again in and see how a lot additional the roguelite goes. The fight is satisfyingly quick-paced and I already get the sense that finishing a run received’t be an excessively monumental process. I’m notably excited, although, to see extra of its writing, because the slice I performed was already full of TMNT lore and the gang’s signature humor. All of that makes Splintered Destiny really feel like an evolution of the franchise’s beat-em-up roots with out throwing away what makes the characters so radical.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splintered Destiny is obtainable on Apple units solely through Apple Arcade.