The opening to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run [$3.99], an endless runner based on Nickelodeon's reboot of the popular '90s cartoon, is almost as awesome as the game itself. We open on a shot of our four heroes in a half-shell lounging around the sewer den playing video games. A very young and spunky April O'Neil comes bursting into the room, shouting at the love-struck mutant teenagers to turn on the news, which shows alien invaders descending on New York City.

Boggled at the nerve of the alien riffraff, the heroes rush up to the surface, spout a lot of talk about kicking some alien butt--and immediately set off running when the alien ship swoops in from above and gives chase. My heroes.

Humorous as it may be to see those turtle tough guys turn tail, I'm glad they did, because the resulting adventure makes for one of the more creative runners on the App Store. After choosing a turtle, your hero sets off at a dash, leaving you to tap the screen to leap gaps between buildings and ninja-kick Foot soldiers and aliens in your path. As you run, you'll need to collect green orbs to keep the glowing meter at the top of the screen from draining. Should it deplete, the ship beams you up and, one presumes, the crew dines on turtle soup.

The controls are as responsive as they are intuitive, and that's good, since flubbed jumps and getting cold-cocked makes you stumble, giving the alien ship time to gain ground. Jump from the lip of a rooftop, however, and you'll hit the ground running. The same goes for attacking. Tap the screen when your turtle brushes shoulders with a Foot and you'll perform a strike that clobbers the bad guy and boosts you forward. Spiky traps, pits, and enemy soldiers appear in increasing quantities as you run along. Tap without missing a beat and your chosen turtle will vault smoothly along, providing excellent visual feedback.

Those ooze orbs you gulp down along the way do more than increase your speed. Collecting enough orbs to fill your speed meter triggers Turtle Time, a combat mini-game where you tap the screen to put the hurtin' on Foot soldiers. The novelty wears off once you realize you're participating in a glorified quick time event, but it switches up the usual runner formula nicely.

As expertly as plucking all the bells of a target dummy without making a sound, you pick the pocket of every Foot soldier you clobber, earning coins you can use to buy gear, costumes, and weapons. You can also save up thousands upon thousands of coins to unlock extra characters--including the other Ninja Turtles. Yes, after a few rounds running with my homeboy Raphael, I went back to the sewer only to find that Master Splinter had changed the locks. All four turtles are available when the game begins, but the three you left behind cost over 3,000 coins each when you return to the lair.

Even my longest runs only netted around 200 coins, but some of the more expert players in our forums are racking up earnings in the thousands of coins, so your mileage may vary. There's a grind here for sure, but it's not insurmountable by any means. Completing three Turtle Times in a row opens up a boss fight, and KO'ing these heavy hitters earns you tons of coins, but decking out a single turtle with tricked-out gear such as slower energy loss and cyber weapons requires a hefty time investment.

Offering all four Hero Turtles (I just dropped a culture bomb) only to lock away three of them when your back's turned is irritating, but far from a deal breaker. TMNT Rooftop Run makes for a rollicking good time, especially if you enjoy runners but crave a recipe with some spice.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • garret44

    No offense to the new reviewers at touch arcade but I feel like you guys are giving away high ratings.

    I mean 4.5 for a tmnt runner?

    I could see it if it was an adventure tmnt game with a story.

    I dunno

    • http://twitter.com/davidlcraddock David L Craddock

      I've been reviewing games for TA for over a year, so I know my way around the ratings system well enough. ;) I stand behind the 4.5. The game feels great, looks great, and throws a few wrenches in the runner formula to satisfying result. I enjoy runners so tend to highlight unique ones that deviate from the cookie-cutter mold.

      • MidianGTX

        I still can't get past that screenshot of Mike. Doesn't even look half way to being "great" in my opinion. It looks like they gave the model and texture job to a temp who can't stand TMNT.

      • Wizard_Mike

        Looks like someone doesn't watch the new turtles series. The graphics follow the new series, and they are spot on. You may not like the art style of the new series (I didn't at first, but it grew on me), but you can't fault the game for that.

      • MidianGTX

        That's not what I'm talking about. Scroll up, click the screenshot with Mike, then fullsize the image. That, my friend... is atrocious. It's absolutely nothing like the new TMNT at all, which I think looks fine. It's just a terrible 3D model.

      • Wizard_Mike

        It's just an awkward screenshot. You're looking at a still-shot of something in motion. Since you haven't actually played this game, you don't know that when the game starts, Mikey almost gets shot by the kraang saucer, so he has that worried, small-mouthed expression on his face (which he has had in the series when he's scared).

        You can't judge a game by its screenshots. If you like the new series and you even remotely enjoy runners, then you'll definitely enjoy this one.

      • MidianGTX

        My comment had nothing to do with the game as a whole in the first place. It was just a note on the dreadful assets. It still stands, I don't need to play the game to recognise bad model design and texture work, they're right there, ready to be viewed by anyone.

      • Wizard_Mike

        Oh, my mistake. I thought when you said "Doesn't even look half way to being 'great' in my opinion," you were talking about the game. How silly of me! (I'm being sarcastic, of course, because that's exactly what you meant.)

        Anyways, I still stand by what I said. You can't judge accurately until you actually see the game in motion. The assets are just fine. I can take a screenshot of any game in history and pick apart the assets, but those same assets in motion during game play are what really counts. I don't know how many fps this game runs at, but I'm confident it's a lot more than the single frame screenshot you are basing your assessment on. ;) 3D video game models are designed for game play, not still photos.

        But hey, why take the word of someone who has actually seen the game in motion, right? Pssh, who needs that when you have a screenshot!

      • http://twitter.com/Magnulus Magnus S H

        I had a look at that screenshot, and I have no idea how it ended up looking like that, because the game doesn't feel like that at all. The screen looks like an awkward frame grab exacerbated by horrible compression. The models aren't Infinity Blade quality, but they're good enough that the game feels pretty high quality. The animation is the best part of it, with the lighting engine (simple but stylish) a close second.

      • Benegesserit

        A grind and boring quick time events. Doesn't sound like only docking half a star to me.

  • troyster

    Bad rating, not a 4.5

  • Santiago Ontanon

    This is totally my personal impression. But 3D graphics in games that essentially have 2D gameplay are a lose-lose: a) 3d graphics look worse for these kind of games (come on, even the classic TMNT arcade graphics depicted the turtles better than these rag-doll cheap 3d ones!), b) the game uses more resources, battery, etc.

    So, 3D graphics only for games with 3D gameplay, thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/davidlcraddock David L Craddock

      The TMNT arcade game is my favorite beat-em-up ever, so I can't disagree with your opinion. But I do think 3D graphics serve this game just fine. The game moves along smoothly and all movements--attacks, jumps, climbing up rooftops, and so on--is animated well.

      And, you're welcome.

  • toxiccheese

    So let me get this right... There is no pizza in the game? At all??? How can there be a TMNT game without pizzas? Or did I miss something somewhere?

    • http://twitter.com/davidlcraddock David L Craddock

      Sure there's pizza! You can find slices of pie that let you play a Wheel of Fortune-style minigame to win coins and such. I didn't mention the pizza because it didn't factor into the gameplay, really.

      • catharsis6163

        I think the game is great. Normally I don't enjoy the endless runners but I dig the turtles so I gave it a chance. Aside from the character lock I think it's a gem. 4.5 in my book.

  • wigzisonfire

    Dude you are a disgrace. 4.5 stars for a greedy IAP focused endless runner!

    This ain't no turtles game. This is a shallow attempt at using nostalgia to suck more dollar out of 90s gamers.

    Touch arcade needs I sort out its reviewers. You seem so far detached from the forum members opinion!

    • wigzisonfire

      I never thought I'd say this but I'm starting to use pocket gamer as my main stop for iOS news now. At least thy still seem to get greedy uninspired IAP games.

    • Wizard_Mike

      This isn't as iap focused as you think, to be honest. By the time you unlock the final boost for your chosen turtle, you'll be well versed enough in the game to be taking down kraang ships each game. You'll be raking in coins so fast that unlocking everything isn't much of a grind at all. I actually wonder if the iap coin purchase feature was an added afterthought, because the game seems to be completely balanced as if there was no iap.

    • http://twitter.com/davidlcraddock David L Craddock

      If you think TMNT Rooftop Run is greedy and IAP focused, then you haven't played many mobile games. No upgrade or character unlock is mandatory. All optional. User discretion. Understand?

      And why should I see eye-to-eye with forum users? You want reviews that echo what the forums say? That's... that's not how reviews work. Next time I'll copy-and-paste popular opinion from the forums into a document and call it a review.

    • Cheeseball

      Yet another moron who hasn't even played the game.

    • PureRumble

      For f•ck sake are u an eight year old that just learned the word disgrace and is throwing it round like piss?

      Stop calling people disgraces! Something wrong with u?!? U didnt get proper lessons in manners and being an adult by ur parents?

  • http://www.facebook.com/timothymartinbungeroth Timothy Martin Bungeroth

    Dudes. This review is SPOT ON. It's a very unique combat heavy runner that, believe it or not, perfectly captures the spirit of some of the older TMNT games. Remember the "Bonus" levels from Turtles in Time? Where you're on a surfboard? Sewer Surfing anyone? That's what this whole game is...except you're on foot, and there are essentially three levels of rooftop to race through. Frankly its a formula that could be a masterpiece if only it had more levels and multiple unique boss fights...and if Mikey rode a skateboard. But there's always updates! I just hope you can buy Splinter down the road. That would be INTENSE. Booyakasha!

  • Clashingskulls

    Hey David,

    I totally agree with you. I tend to download several games of the same genre and pick a favorite. At this time my two favorite are Sonic Dash and TMNT Rooftop Run (leaning towards TMNT). My only negative remark about this game is that while the iPhone version runs seamless, the iPad version seems to crash just after the character selection is made and I hit run. Did you or any of your fellow reviewers come across this problem? I've downloaded it on a buddies iPad and I get the same problem. Am I the only one? I looked through the reviews that other purchasers left in the App Store and it seems like there's quite a few. I've contacted Nickelodeon Games after a few days and have not received a response. I am sure they are aware at this time. Only wondering if you guys had this problem.

    Thanks!

    P.S. I love you guys at Touch Arcade! My number 1 (and only) stop for the best news and reviews on all things iOS games.

    • Wizard_Mike

      If you're talking iPad 1, then yeah, it won't run on it. I have to steal my wife's iPad 2 when I want to play this, heh.

    • http://twitter.com/davidlcraddock David L Craddock

      Thanks for the feedback! To answer your question, I think Wizard_Mike has the right of it below. I didn't even try to run the game on my iPad 1; I stuck to my phone.

      • Clashingskulls

        Thanks for the response! I'm using the iPad mini. I deleted the app > reinstalled > nothing.

      • troyster

        You blew it on this one, sorry. 4.5 is a hair away from a perfect game.

  • the9quad

    Dudes practically every game at TA is at least 4 stars, they defend this by saying they don't review bad games. Never mind they review the same games everyone else does, these guys know gaming! Just look at a perfect gem like pixel people, so much game play to be had! Just never commit the sin of making a game that A. Isn't a runner or B. doesn't have pixel art or C. Has actual gameplay or D. Isn't magic the gathering and your guaranteed 4 stars minimum. Whoa to those who violate the TA 4 commandments of awesome gaming. Unless of course you play the repetitive IAP infested big budget game card, that's an instant 5 star!

  • MrSHakerEsq

    First the removal of Coming Tonight and now 4.5 stars for a runner? Absolutely ridiculous.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Mayer/709955662 Bob Mayer

      Shouldn't games be reviewed for what they are? Runners should be reviewed and scored by how good/fun a runner it is, not knocked simply because it's a runner. That's ridiculous.

      • MrSHakerEsq

        That's a ridiculous assertion. Games have never been reviewed simply on category as there are many deep interwoven facets that should make up a 5, or in this case a 4.5, star game. Based on category?!? Ridiculous indeed.

      • Wizard_Mike

        You misunderstood what he said. He didn't say a game should be based only by its category, he said it shouldn't be knocked down because of its category. What a game sets out to deliver should definitely be a major part of the review process. You can't review an endless runner game and say "Well, there's way too much running in this game," or "Lack of tactical turn-based combat makes this game too frenetic."

        Imagine a reviewer tasked with reviewing both Skyrim and Pacman CEDX. Does he knock 2-3 stars off of pacman right off the bat, simply because it's not anywhere near as in-depth or as visually impressive as Skyrim? No. That wouldn't make any sense, because that's not what Pacman sets out to be. He rates each game for what they are based on their own merits.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fleshman1992 Laszlo Tuss

    2 star, or 2 and half...

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewGeczy Andrew Geczy

    Wow, when did the community on this site turn so mean? People used to be nice here, now it's like IGN for iOS.

    I love the new Ninja Turtles cartoon. ANyone who considers themselves a Turtles fan and hasn't watched the new cartoon series starring Jason Biggs and Sean Astin are missing out on what I think is the best depiction of the characters. Those people also have no right dissing this game for sticking to the show's aesthetic, and people who haven't played the game should stop judging the reviewer just because they assume every endless runner released has to be a bad game.

    • the9quad

      Andrew its not people being mean, it's people being honest. Everything on this site is reviewed high, it is the very very rare exception that they give something a low score. Often when they do give a low score it's because of something they forgive other titles for. Seriously about two months ago they had a title they said had absolutely horrible controls, what was the score they gave it? 5 stars, because it was artsy. Wtf really?

  • http://twitter.com/phonecats phonecats

    Humor me and look at the IAP.

    You get 3600 for $1.
    or 10,500 for $4.

    The devs think you're an idiot.

    • Wizard_Mike

      Humor me and actually play the game. You can get 3600 in a single run...

      • http://twitter.com/phonecats phonecats

        i played man.
        boring unlocks.
        insulting IAP.
        $1 = 3600
        $4 = 10500 -> $1 = 2625
        they rip you off for trying to buy more coins.

        its a pathetic cash grab.

      • detourne

        I call shenanigans on 3600 in a single run. This game blows

      • Wizard_Mike

        You get 2500 just for beating a kraang ship. Since you obviously didn't play it long enough to get that far, you probably didn't unlock the bonus coin booster either. Earning 1000 coins in a single run is actually not that difficult. Take down a kraang ship and you're up to 3500. So yeah, you can get 3600 in a single run. It's not shenanigans at all. You just gave up too quickly to get far enough. Heck, there's even a guy on the forums who posted a screenshot of a run that netted him something like 30k coins.

      • April

        I just started this game. Is there a save point because after I hit the second Rooftop and I die they put me back on the first one

  • detourne

    Is anybody else having the problem where the game crashes consistently? It's unplayable on my 4S. Injustice, DH4, and Iron Man 3.... No issues. But this endless runner? It's about as disappointing as the usagi yojimbo game. No more instabuys based on franchise alone for me.

    • detourne

      Honestly... Am I the only one that gets crashes EVERY SINGLE TIME I try to play the game? I've tried deleting it, redownloading it, syncing it and unsyncing it with iTunes. I'm playing on a 4s here, and play MUCH more demanding games easily.

  • RunningWild

    With nothing against the excellent TouchArcade or the opinions of its writers, I have to disagree with this review. I'm a big fan of TMNT and plonked the $$$ down but I'm really getting sick of the forced grind most of these games push on people. I never minded putting a few dollars towards games like Jetpack Joyride which made it fun to play along, but the 'formula' for such titles is getting far more restrictive which makes the term "game" sound more and more misconstrued as time goes on. I've gone and deleted this game along with many others that are mere constructs with little gameplay value that serve as mere money spinners and treat us like cattle.

    Enough insults. I will vote to abolish cattle ware with my wallet like many others here pledge. Looking forward to a great TMNT title that is made with true love. The upcoming downloadable PSN / XBL title looks really promising.

    • Wizard_Mike

      There's no forced grind at all. It's a simple, fun game that lets you unlock stuff the more you play, adding replay value. Imagine if everything was unlocked from the beginning. People would complain that there's nothing to do once you take down a kraang ship and that there's no replay value. Besides, by the time you finish getting all the boosts for your first turtle (which you should do first, since the final boost is a coin multiplier), you'll be pulling in tons of coins and unlocking stuff so fast you'll wonder why they even have iap.

      Be honest with yourself: you just don't like the game. That's fine, nothing wrong with that. That doesn't make it a bad game, though.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      I don't understand this argument. I hear people say similar things about Nimble Quest: that it's too much of a grind. But, I don't understand what that means.
      Is the goal of the game for you just to fill up whatever available experience bars there are and buy all the items in a shop? Because to me that's just a portion that complements the actual game itself. I play Nimble Quest because it's a fun Snake-like game, I play this game because it's a fun runner with a neat level structure and boss fights. I play these games to play the game parts of them, not to fill up experience bars. That's just a side bonus of playing the game and keeps it feeling fresh in the long term as you eventually unlock new stuff.

      The alternative is like Wizard Mike says: everything is unlocked from the beginning. From my experience, that makes games kind of suck. It's more fun to slowly unlock new things and new levels. It's been a part of game design for decades. Yes, you can pay real money to buy all of that progression faster, but IMO that just takes the fun out of it. Also, you don't HAVE to buy anything at all ever, so if you don't like it just don't spend any money.

      Not picking on you in particular, this is just something that's bothered me for a while. People complain about a "grind" but I never heard people make those complaints about games before the days of IAP.

      • nightc1

        The grind is something to complain about when it's only thing to do in a game. To play the same areas over and over and over with the main goal to buy something with an in game currency so you can grind some more with no variation in the levels. Nimble Quest for instance has no overall goal. You only play the same 8 levels over and over and over. The only difference is that each level has 15 more enemies than the last. After the 8th level (or really skin) the game loops. There's no point in pushing forward because the game spews so many enemies during the 2nd set of levels and especially the third that even with a full roster of level 3's you'll hit a wall that's only surmountable if you get the bug that lets you use coins to progress past levels you have never even played.

        My main concern over this specific TMNT runner game is that the serious gamers here report consistent crashing once you get deeper into a long run. I guess the reviewer was on a non affected old non-retina device or just never got good enough at the game to discover what actual gamers found the first day the game was out. I'll never understand this overwhelming forgiveness for bug filled games. Same for reviewing games without fully testing them or seeing all the mass of bug reports in this very community. Cant we work together? Yes bugs will be fixed most likely but people have such low expectations with games these days actually working that it just amazes me how forgiving they are of one so broken as this.

  • catharsis6163

    Honestly, before reading this forum I didn't even know there was IAP in the game. That's how well they integrate it. That's how the IAP option should be in all games. GameLoft could take a lesson from these guys.

  • RunningWild

    nightc1 hits the nail on the head. When I say "grind", that's exactly what I refer to. A game that doesn't deviate from a simple task and uses a currency system to afford simple visual or shortcut items that contribute to the same goal. I agree there were no complaints about games before IAP. The reason is because games had (and still do have) diverse gameplay that wasn't only such a tedious simple task repeated as nauseum. I think cattleware adopts this system in order to target a wider (spending) audience. What this degrades is the heart and soul of the game, which is what made them fun to begin with.

    Look at games like Sword & Sorcery, Ridiculous Fishing, World of Goo, Nyx' Quest, Tilt to Live.. true games that feature artistic expression and don't ask for more than the price of admission to enjoy them. I'd hate for them to be a thing of the past..

    • wigzisonfire

      The first person to speak sense. Keep kidding yourselves that these IAP driven grind fests are actually games. I personally will stick to the artform of games that have been created with love simply with the goal to please and test the skill of the gamer. Games like zelda would simply not exist in a world of IAPs.

    • Wizard_Mike

      So you don't like simple games? That's ok. To each his own. That doesn't make those games bad, though. It simply means you don't like them.

      Have you ever played Pac-Man? How about Galaga? Both are classic games that people still play today. Heck, people still pay $.25 a pop to play them on arcade machines. Would you say you hate those games, also? They fit the "tedious, simple task ad nauseum" that you seem to be so vehemently against. Are those games also a grind? No, because the goal is simply to see how far you can go, see how high of a score you can get. Runners are the same. They simply have upgrades and bonuses you can unlock over time as you play to make it more interesting. If they made a pac-man game, exactly as it already is, but added upgrades you could purchase with all the pellets you eat in the game, would that somehow change the game from all-time classic to utter crap (even if nothing of the game changes if you choose to ignore the upgrades)?

      I find it completely ridiculous that someone picks up an endless runner, and then complains about a lack of gameplay diversity. If you knew you didn't like simple games like this and you bought it anyways, that's on you, not the developers.

  • timbungeroth

    Has anyone received a push notification for this game? I got one today and I could have sworn it said "New Missions Added." Anyone else get this PN?

  • http://www.facebook.com/toben Toben Alexander

    I gotta say it, this game is BOGUS! So I finally was able to install a version of the game on my 4s that didn't crash every time I opened it. and well, Underwhelming is an overstatement. I've never played a game that actually loses functionality after the first time you play it. Being locked into one turtle after given the choice in the beginning is a BS move on the developers part to get the users to grind. The best runs I got netted me about 300 coins. So, in theory I would need to do 25 of my best runs in order to open up the other turtles.... that is to say I would need to make 25 solid runs to get the game back to the functionality it had in the beginning. Not cool.

    and who knows what the hell the boosts or power-ups do, i'm afraid they are all one-time use things and they are so prohibitively expensive, i'm working on getting my bros back first.

    and one-button gameplay? for a 700meg game. garbage.

    • Wizard_Mike

      The boosts tell you exactly what they do when you hit the "buy" button (it brings up a description where you can confirm or cancel the boost purchase). The final boost for all characters increases how much coins you pull in, so you should go for that before unlocking the other characters.

      And once you get good at the game and start taking down kraang ships, you'll be pulling in way more coins than you do now. Taking down a kraang ship gives you a bonus 2500. That means you can unlock a boost (2700 coins) every round you play if you take down a kraang ship (you'll have gathered more than 200 coins just reaching the kraang ship). It's even quite possible to pull in 3600 on a single run, so once you max out your first turtle, you can unlock the other three in just a few runs.

  • Goat76

    Defiance

  • April

    is there a save point in the beginning because when I die on the second roof run I'm placed back at the beginning of the first

  • April

    is there a way to save the game? when I die in the beginning on the second rooftop it puts me back to the first one

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run Reviewed by David Craddock on . Rating: 4.5