As fans of the original Turtles cartoon of the 90's, we couldn't wait to put this turn-based fighter together for Nick. Fight your way across the city to take down mutant henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady!

 

Aims

This project presented an exciting opportunity for us to produce a game for an older audience than usual so we wanted make sure it was challenging enough for its core 5-9 yr old boy demographic. We designed a bold visual style and a quick-and-punchy presentation that felt exciting and responsive to use, as well as making good use of the extra complexity the players could grasp such as in-game currency and advanced battle tactics.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a strong brand full of high-stakes action and irreverent, boy-targeted humor. We worked closely with Nick to make sure our game resonated with these brand values so the players would feel immediately at home with it.

 

Challenges

How would we make this game feel easy and quick to get into, as well as be easy to control on a touch screen device, but still present a depth of gameplay and a difficulty level that would feel high-stakes to the target audience?

One of the core brand values of the Turtles is that of brotherhood and teamwork. How would we work this into a 1-on-1 ‘vs-style’ fighting game? And furthermore, how would we make a game of this style work when we only had access to stock character artwork?

Finally how would we keep players not only engaged for a long-play session, but coming back for more, and playing through multiple times?

 

Results

The result is a turn-based fighting game that only requires simple screen-tap inputs (with no need for complex on-screen controls) married to a simple timing based aiming system. The player gets to choose two turtles to take into every fight (as a tag-team) and fight against two enemies. This helps re-enforce the feeling of brotherhood and using teamwork to fight your way to victory.

To keep players involved we devised an experience-based upgrade system that allowed players to improve the stats of their favourite turtles as well as unlock super-powerful special moves as they played. Enemies get tougher as the game progresses to prepare players for the final showdown with Bebop and Rocksteady.

To keep them coming back for more, we built in multiple routes through the game so it would only be possible to see all the levels by playing through more than once. Furthermore, while its entirely possible to fully upgrade a turtle during a single game, its not possible to reach maximum level with all four, so if players want to see what all the turtles most powerful moves are they will need to play through several times.

Technically there was a requirement for the game to run as both Flash on desktop and HTML5 on mobile devices. We wrote the game in Haxe and used the latest version of the Flambe engine to satisfy this requirement, producing a game that ran smoothly across all target platforms.

The feedback from the game has been really positive and we’re proud to have been in a position to design and build such an intense, fast paced-action game for one of Nick’s top brands, playing a part in bringing the Turtles back to life for a new generation.

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