The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) are one of those enigma licenses. Originally beginning as a black and white, self published, comic book that was anything but family friendly, they went onto several successful cartoon series, a few live action movies and of course, games. Over the years, we have watched the heroes in a half shell play out their battles with the evil Shredder and Kraang and their Foot Clan with only really one “bad” game amongst the bunch. That is a record only challenged by Batman, another comic licensed property.
The latest game to feature the green guys is TMNT: Rooftop Run by Nickelodean for iOS and Android (no word on Windows Phone or 3DS/Vita). First up, a little bit of background on how I played TMNT: Rooftop Run- I play on the JXD S7300 Android Gaming Tablet. This thing has a dual core 1.2 ghz processor and features a gig of RAM coupled with a 7 inch screen. That is probably why I had a pretty smooth experience with this game while others are reporting extremely long load times and random crashes (I experienced a couple during a good 15 hours total playtime).
Back to the game now, TMNT: Rooftop Run is a 2.5D endless running game. What is unique here is that it is a copycat of Mirror’s Edge for most intents and purposes (a game that has yet to be released on Android). This game is graphically impressive, responsive and best of all, fun to play. While not something most gamers will find a lot of enjoyment with, it is fun for short bursts, like when you are waiting at a doctor’s office for example.
Adding some action sequences through a “bullet time” fighting segment (once you collect enough orbs) breaks up the monotony of just running and jumping. Once the green bar on top of the screen is filled, the more personal fighting portion kicks in. The transition to this is not jarring, it is handled well with a lot of flash and prepares the player for something different. Battles here are handled by tapping the circles that pop up before they disappear- as you get farther in these battles, the faster the circles disappear.
Now that we have established this is a fun running game, let’s get down to the bad parts. In App Purchases. Sure, you can play this game without using them and find a fair bit of enjoyment but that is not good enough. Why? Because the game is $4 up front then you have to buy IAP to enjoy much of the game. In some games that have found level playing fields with IAP (Kemco for example) the in game currency you are earning is fairly balanced against what IAP costs. Not here. You may average a few hundred coins per play through while buying additional characters (you only get Leonardo for the purchase price) cost 2,700+ coins (April is over 20,000 coins). Want some cool armor or new weapons to assist you in getting farther in the game? Prepare to play several times without those powerups, just saving money up, to buy them or you can have them immediately by buying coins from the store.
If this game was $1 I would not have nearly as large a problem with the IAP involved. If it was free and this level of IAP it would be even better and would probably reach more players. Instead, the way the game, and the IAP, is priced, getting much fun out of it is out of reach of many players. Great game but severely marred by IAP, sorry Nickelodeon, you are rushing the well WAY too much on this one. Turtles license or not.