They say the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, and if that’s truly the case then Ubisoft and Game Arts sure have a thing for Nintendo, as this latest outing of the shelled crime fighters is about as blatant a Smash Bros rip off as you’re ever likely to see. I mean come on; even the name is practically the same!
Starring the renaissance-themed ninja amphibians, Smash-Up is, to put it as bluntly as possible, Super Smash Bros with 80s cartoon characters and none of Nintendo’s skill or style.
Imagine, if you will, taking Super Smash Bros and cutting out all of the tons of extras that came with the game – the masses of characters, story mode, level editor, sticker-power ups, and so on, and leave in only the bare minimum content and, voila! You have Turtles Smash-Up.
Picking one of the Turtles, or allies April O’Neil, Casey Jones or Splinter, you can opt to fight through the game’s various modes, including Arcade, Tournament, Practise, Swap Out (winner stays on), Battle Royal (free for all) and Survival (defeat as many opponents as you can with one life). That’s quite a few modes, to be fair, but none are really that interesting.
Arcade has a wafer thin story element and is woefully short, although on completion you can choose a reward, such as unlocking one of the secret characters, which is nice. The other modes are all clearly geared solely toward multiplayer. This isn’t a major issue; after all, Super Smash Bros was heavily multiplayer-focused, but sadly, whilst Nintendo’s tour de force has the gameplay and depth to back things up, here that’s just not the case.
Once you have your fighter and you’re in battle, the shortcomings soon hit. While the basic combat is decent enough, it’s just not really all that entertaining and the combat mechanics are basic at best. Each character has a range of moves, but these aren’t as inspired or impressive as you’d expect, especially considering this is a TMNT title, and the kind of strategy and deep combat Smash Bros fans will expect isn’t here.
The levels featured are largely dull, although there are some highlights, such as the arctic cruise ship stage. But many are boring, bland arenas, and are nothing to write home about. Some do make use of the Wii remote, though, and by pointing and firing at the screen you can trigger events such as a sewer flood, which is a good way to tip the balance in your favour, but this smacks of hurried inclusion of the Wii remote, and less of a genuine gameplay element.
There are some other nice touches, such as the off the wall attacks and some helpful power ups, which can be shot at with the remote to change the current pick up to another, more useful one, but sadly, there’s nothing here to even scratch the surface of Smash Bros. And, for a game so clearly trying to compete, this is a big problem, and it simply can’t escape the shadow of its muse.
The level of polish and balance Nintendo managed is sorely missing, and whilst each character in Smash Bros could take weeks to truly master, here you’ll have a handle on all the characters in a couple of days.
TMNT Smash-Up tries to be a decent Smash Bros clone, and for players who can’t get enough of the Smash Bros formula, or huge fans of the green foursome, then this may be a worthy purchase. For most, this isn’t the case, and the lack of any real major content and overly slender gameplay will be a big turn off.
Let’s face it; the Wii is hardly well endowed when it comes to truly great, real games, and any game taking on such a highly praised title as Nintendo’s brawler with such a half-baked effort that screams cash-in, isn’t going to reap the praise.
Turtles Smash-Up up looks average, plays average and has less depth than a thin and crisp pizza. If you really must get a Turtles fix, go find a SNES and a copy of Turtles Tournament Fighters instead; you’ll have far more fun.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up is out now.