While I checked out many titles across the four days of PAX East 2022, there were a number of standout games that I just could not get out of my head. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge and Cult of The Lamb were two of them.
These are from different developers. One is a throwback to ’90s action games and pop culture and the other is a quirky and charming roguelike. Both were captivating experiences I wanted more of as soon as I stopped playing.
I was incredibly excited to try out this game developed by Tribute Games and published by Dotemu in partnership with Nickelodeon. It pays homage to classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games like Turtles In Time, and delivers a beautifully realized side-scrolling beat-em-up invoking the Turtles’ legendary 1987 design.
One really cool feature I noted right away was the roster. On top of the fab four of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael the game features a playable April O’Neal and Splinter. This addition of April was one of the biggest things I heard people talking about while they were playing the game or waiting in the massive queue to try it out.
Narrative designer Yannik Belzil chatted with me as I played about the many little things they had added to make the game stand out and be nostalgic yet new and fresh. Team-up attacks, the many little animated activities happening in the background, and the ability to heal your co-op partner by sacrificing your own health were just a few of the cool tweaks.
The game looked amazing, with big colorful characters, fun enemies, huge bosses and really unique actions for each character. Jump attacks vary turtle to turtle to rat to April and even change from a double jump. Slides, grab attacks and special attacks all add a lot of fun as you blast through the level set in a TV station.
Battles against Rocksteady and Beebop were just challenging enough, and it was entertaining to see the large characters and their attack patterns. A glimpse at Shredder in the intro showed he is there in all his ’80s cartoon glory.
Belzil told us that they were getting great support from Nickelodeon and have a few surprises – which he was coy about – planned for the full game. He did tease that if the game was well received they would love to add DLC in the form of new characters (more female options, and I requested fan favorite Casey Jones) and levels.
All in all it was amazing to check out this game at PAX East. The buzz around the booth and demo stations was huge and people wanted to see more and more of TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge. It’s releasing this year (in the nearish future was all I was told) via Steam where it can be wishlisted right now and on Nintendo Switch. I was not told about PlayStation and Xbox releases, but if I were a betting man I would say those will be coming as well.
This game caught my eye right away with its mix of cutesy characters and over-the-top violence and scenarios. Cult of the Lamb by Massive Monster Studios casts players in the role of a possessed lamb saved from annihilation by an ominous stranger. Players must repay their debt by building a loyal following in the stranger’s name. Yeah.
The game features a lamb about to be sacrificed to stave off a banished unnamed Entity from returning. At the last moment they are rescued and given powers to build a cult in the Entity’s name.
The scenario unfolds in a cool macabre way and kicks off into action very quickly. This is a procedurally generated game and each section is full of random rooms containing resources, enemies and generally a new follower to rescue and convert.
These followers go back to the cult HQ and can be given powers as well as tasked to gather resources and built up the cult to support all the followers. As power is gathered the enemy cult leaders are defeated and the Cult of the Lamb grows in power.
The demo was relatively short but I was very impressed with the look and feel of the game as well as how the mechanics all came together. As I mentioned, the game has very cute woodland characters, but they engage in horrible violence and rituals that are just so surreal, and very entertaining.
Gameplay-wise, it feels very Binding of Isaac meets Don’t Starve meets Hades, if that makes any sense. Resources are gathered as rooms are cleared, items and gold found and structures built to sustain the cult as they expand.