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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge Is The Perfect Game Pass Game

There are some games that are just made for Game Pass, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is a perfect example. That sounds like a back-handed compliment, but let me explain myself. First off, and most importantly, it kicks ass. Or shell, I guess. It's a pure, unfiltered, straight from the spring, capital letters Video Game. It has an infectious sense of fun, the pixel art is absolutely pristine, the combat feels wonderfully crunchy, the music is sublime, and the good-vibes-o-meter is always full. It's one of my favourite games of the year, in fact. I loved every kicky, punchy, nostalgia-laden moment of it.

I usually find side-scrolling style beat-'em-ups too repetitive to stick with for long, but Shredder's Revenge is so alive with detail and full of character that I was always itching to see what the developer would throw at me next. It also helps that beating up Foot Soldiers feels immensely satisfying. Every second of the game is hand-crafted, and the art is unbelievably crisp and colourful. It's one of those games that just oozes joy, and it's both a pitch-perfect homage to the classic SNES-era Turtles games and a zingy, fresh-feeling brawler.

But would I have felt the same if I paid money for it? I'm not so sure. I played through the campaign twice: once as Donatello, once as Casey Jones. But I doubt I'll go through it again, because I feel like in those 6-or-so hours I'd squeezed every bit of enjoyment out of it I could. Someone who plays co-op with buddies or tries harder difficulty modes might get additional enjoyment out of it, but for me the journey was over the second time I beat Shredder and the credits rolled. It was a brief love affair, and we had some good times, but it's over.

That's why I think it's such a nice fit for Game Pass. It's a perfect game to download one lazy afternoon, blast through in one or two sittings, then immediately delete from your console. I don't think I'll ever feel the itch to play it again. I've seen all the levels, all the bosses, and all those neat Foot Soldier slapstick gags two times over, and that's enough. I'm ready to move on with my life. There are a lot of games like Shredder's Revenge that I like the sound of, and think look great, but I know deep down that I probably won't get my money's worth out of them.

However, when it's on Game Pass the risk is removed and I'll happily hand over a few hours of my life. But then guilt creeps in. I feel like the guy who goes into a magazine store, reads an issue cover to cover, then leaves. A lot of love has clearly gone into Shredder's Revenge, and I want the artist, musicians, designers, and everyone else to be rewarded. I suppose I could just buy it if that's the case, but I'm not made of money. I have to pick and choose what I splash the cash on, and like I said, I feel like I wouldn't quite get $25 of fun out of it.

But what do I know: perhaps Microsoft gave the developer/publisher a fat wad of cash for appearing on Game Pass. Enough to make a sequel, maybe? If that's the case, I rescind my guilt. I hope Tribute Games has been amply rewarded for its work on the game, because it really is brilliant. If Game Pass is a positive, sustainable thing, and developers aren't secretly getting stiffed by it, then long may it continue. It's a great way to dip in and out of smaller, shorter games without having to ache over whether to buy it or not. In, out, easy.

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