Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled

The original Turtles in Time is regarded as one of the best beat-em-ups of its time, and after the success of the previous XBLA TMNT game and re-releasing the most popular of the Turtles games from their heyday seemed like an obvious choice to both the consumer and the companies involved.

Less obvious is the decision to completely remake the game graphically when for many fans a mere port with online play would’ve sufficed. Even stranger than this is the decision to base this remake off the inferior, less popular Arcade version rather than the SNES version that had grabbed the hearts of so many.

An entire stage is gone, as are several characters, and the sections where on the SNES primitive Mode-7 gave us a glimpse at 3D are gone too, with few of the crazy camera-twisting maneuvers Mode-7 enabled in the game.

The gameplay is solid, but there's just something missing.

The gameplay is solid, but there's just something missing.

It’s not all bad – the game is in true 3D and additions such as 8-way attacking instantly makes the controls more refined. Online multiplayer is in, and all the basic, fun gameplay elements that made the original a smash are in place.

In spite of still having solid game mechanics and controls, Turtles in Time Re-Shelled seems to lack something. The graphical overhaul in particular feels charmless compared to the original sprites, and through that the nostalgia factor is gone.

With the fan service gone, all that Turtles in Time Re-Shelled has going for it is its gameplay, which while serviceable now feels tired and outdated.

- 6 / 10

Trials HD

Trials HD is a difficult game to describe, but here goes – it’s a physics-based motorbike racing and stunt game that draws its addictive qualities from leaderboards where the game challenges to beat out those on your Xbox Live Friends List.

In a nutshell, that’s this game – out of the box you’ll have over 50 tracks and you’ll be challenged to get from one end to the other as fast as possible without breaking any bones, setting yourself on fire or generally causing the rider any damage.

Not that it matters for the poor driver – he gets totaled at the end of every level anyway. A nice touch.

Each level will likely take several attempts to complete and again it’s clear how long each level took and how many respawns everybody used on the leaderboards – everything is tracked here. You can even see your progress against others whilst playing via a handy meter at the top of the screen, so you know if you can afford to slow down or if you need to put your foot down.

There are bronze, silver and gold medals for every level – merely surviving will net a bronze, but silver and gold are significantly more difficult to get. Stuck players can watch replays of the top 500 people on each task’s leaderboard and see exactly what buttons they pressed and when via icons on the screen.

Sometimes frustrating - but great.

Sometimes frustrating - but great.

Sometimes the game can be frustrating, but the feeling of accomplishment when you pull off an incredible jump or a death-defying stunt far outweighs the anger you felt when you failed it 50 times prior.

The addition of several fun challenge modes and a level editor further increases the value of the game and makes it one of the more condensed but complete experiences in XBLA. Levels can be shared with friends and everything – everything – is leaderboarded to foster competitive driving.

All of Trials HD is meticulously designed and well presented. The game also has controls as tight as they come – important for a game like this. While I found myself wishing for more options in game and some sort of actual online game mode, there’s still a fair amount of depth here.

It’s a great example of how to integrate Xbox Live without gameplay actually being online, and it’s a master class in how to create a very simple, condensed but stunningly addictive game.

- 9 / 10

Categories: Xbox 360 News

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