I have had the pleasure of playing this game in store, a couple of days before release and I was initially pleasantly surprised - TMNT does only 2 things: platforming & fighting - but if you judge it on its own merits as a platform-hopper with a dash of semi-imaginative combat thrown in, then it's a fine game.
Think of this game as Prince of Persia for the kiddie set. Based on the upcoming movie, it plays like the most recent Prince of Persia games, but with the difficulty of the various jumps lessened -presumably to make it playable for the younger audience that its aimed for? Yet still the game is far more frustrating than it ought to be, due to a faulty camera system and sometimes unreasonable controls.
As the game is basically a platforming & fighting game - let's look at those 2 elements;
The platforming sequences (that make up roughly two-thirds of the game from what i could tell) are laid out in such a fashion as to force you to jump, double jump, wall jump, wall run, flip, and monkey bar your way through. Some of the stages are quite elaborate, relying on a lot of quickly timed movements and jumps that are reminiscent of what the recent Prince of Persia games have been all about. Some areas are built for specific Turtles to navigate, like walls that Raphael can climb using his sai and longer jumps that require Michelangelo to use his nun-chuks like helicopter blades to float over. All in all, there's a surprising amount of intricacy to the level designs in TMNT. It is a shame then for the adult gamer that the relative difficulty of these levels has been scaled back significantly, and none of the stages take more than 10 or 15 minutes to get through.
In contrast, the fighting aspect has been scaled back to the point of making it incredibly dull. You really only have one main attack button, as well as a jump-kick button that operates independently of the primary combo system. Each Turtle only has one combo to speak of. It's typically a lengthy combo, but it's the same combo again and again. There are special tag-team moves that come into play from time to time, where by holding down a button, you can call in a fellow Turtle to pull off some flip-happy, electrifying attack that takes out a bunch of bad guys at once. This is basically the game's way of making up for the fact that there are no computer-controlled Turtles onscreen with you while you play, and it's not an altogether bad methodology. The problem with it mostly stems from the enemies you fight being so utterly inept. Throughout the game, you fight wave after wave of nameless thugs and ninjas who seem content to just swipe in your general direction from time to time. All you've got to do is mash endlessly on the attack buttons and pull together the occasional tag-team move, and you're pretty much never going to die.
As tends to be the case with movie-licensed games, TMNT is out on a lot of home gaming platforms, but once again it feels like they have hopelessly tacked on some motion sensor controls. All you do is wiggle the Wii Remote back and forth when you want to do a primary attack and jerk the Nunchuk in one direction or another to kick. These mechanics get extremely tiresome very quickly.
Between the overly simplistic combat and the occasionally fun platforming sequences, TMNT is a curious game ; Younger audiences are likely to give up at some of the more frustrating elements of the platforming, and older players are going to be bored to tears by the effortless fighting mechanics. The moments when I found myself actually having fun with TMNT were just frequent enough to maybe warrant renting, but for everyone else, TMNT is one you can safely pass on.