There's a worrying trend starting to develop in games aimed at the younger end of the market these day. Back in the day, the idea of even saving your progress in a game was an alien concept but today, ever since Lego Star Wars did it, developers seem to think its okay to churn out games in which you can't actually die. The only thing this can ever test is patience, which is no good thing. And with its oh-so-frequent checkpoints in case you fall off a building (which will happen a lot through no fault of your own) and unique 'press A to get up with full life after being killed in battle' system, Turtles is the latest such offender. Oddly, though, this is pretty much the least of the game's worries.
Considering that UbiSoft Montreal is responsible for this movie tie-in, similarities to the Prince Of Persia games sort of make sense but while Turtles might follow the same recipe, it sure as hell doesn't use the right ingredients. Each of the sixteen levels is effectively an obstacle course with fights triggered at certain locations but seeing as how each of those two elements is deeply flawed, you can probably already see why Turtles isn't exactly 'must-play' material.
But before we lay bare the game's faults, it's probably best to set the scene. TMNT uses the style and locations from the new film but follows a rather different narrative, a cheap series of flashbacks narrated by the green chaps themselves as you play through. Cut scenes attempt to tie it together between each stage, but just end up making excuses as to why the game is single player only - a fact made even more ridiculous by the game's constant reminders of the importance of working together. Looks like somebody should have taken their own advice.
Now to punish the two main aspects of the game. First up, platforming. Every genre staple makes it into this one - double jumps, wall runs, pole spins and so on - but the fundamental flaw here is that unlike Prince Of Persia, everything is overly simplified to the point where you get zero satisfaction out of even the most complex acrobatic runs. To make matters worse, the whole affair is way too twitchy, with turtles often electing to wall run to their doom rather than double jump or failing to make the simplest of leaps because they don't seem to want to put the effort in. Fighting is somehow even worse, and although each character has their own 'style', the extent of combo potential here is mashing on B a lot. Not that you'll even need to do that. So broken is the combat that by holding and releasing B, you can unleash an invincible ninja dash attack that hits up to five foes in sequence. You can do this whenever you want and you won't need any other move to get past anyone except some of the infrequent bosses. Weak.
GamerScore whores take note, though, for TMNT may be the quickest and easiest set of points on the 360 so far. If this sounds good to you, pick it up first thing in the morning and by lunchtime, you'll be a thousand GamerPoints richer and ready to take it back to the shop, play the good old 'My Mum Bought Me The Wrong Thing' card and exchange it for something that isn't quite so awful. Just remember that the world will forever be able to see that you completed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Chances are, though, if you're that bonkers for GamerPoints, you'll already have the likes of King Kong, Eragon and any number of EA Sports games on that list so this will be no time to be worrying about lost pride.
Throw into the mix the fact that the whole game lasts about four hours and you've got yourself one of the most unnecessary video games of the year. Invisible walls aplenty? Check. Woefully linear design with a trail of coins holding your hand every step of the way just in case? Check. Fixed camera that seems as though it was designed to intentionally give no idea of distance or perspective? Check.
If you like the sound of a game which feels a lot like playing an extremely early build of Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time on a broken television then go ahead and drop forty notes on this abomination. Lack of multiplayer in a Turtles game is a joke and though it may have looked for a while like the days of the cynical movie license cash-in were coming to a close, thank God for titles like X-Men and Turtles for keeping the dream alive and making every other game out there look a whole lot better by comparison.