TMNT - Portal Power

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
TMNT - Portal Power App Poster Image
Familiar characters fight; kids have minimal control.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Clear tutorials that walk kids through how to play, though getting the hang of it can still take some time.

Violence

The entire point of the game is to fight invading enemies until they're down. There are abundant ninja weapons such as swords and nunchucks. But there's no blood or gore; defeated enemies simply disappear.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

In-app purchases offer additional costumes, but they're not necessary. Also a tie-in and promotion for the larger Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Icon on the home screen advertises more apps from the same developer; access is not protected by any parental gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that TMNT - Portal Power is a fighting game that pits the four turtles against a slew of enemies across multiple "portals" or settings. The whole game is about fighting, and there are plenty of ninja-type weapons: Though some enemies react to being hit, there is no blood or gore, which downplays the realism of the violence. Purchasing the app gives kids access to most of the app's features, but there are also additional costumes -- which give the turtles special powers -- available through in-app purchases. This app is, of course, yet another offer from the massive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Read the app's detailed privacy policy for information on the kinds of information collected.

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What's it about?

In TMNT - PORTAL POWER, the Turtles battle a handful of bad guys. There are four "portals," each of which has nine levels. In early levels, thorough tutorials teach how to drag and hold one or more of the Turtles to an enemy to launch an attack. Once you've dragged the turtle(s) to the enemy, the fighting happens automatically. Hit enemies enough to knock them down before they deplete your health meter. Extras include costumes with special powers (some are uncovered throughout the levels, others are in-app purchases), pizza slices, and more.

Is it any good?

This classic fighting game has some cool features and great graphics but uses an awkward setup for the actual fighting. Turtles fans will appreciate the opportunity to take control and may even like the cheesy dialogue. Creative enemies, different portals, and special powers add a nice touch of excitement for fans of fighting games. Yet all players have to do to battle an enemy is tap and drag one or more turtle to where the enemy is standing -- the fighting happens automatically. Add to that tapping and dragging more tapping to activate special powers, and gameplay feels like a bunch of frantic tapping, dragging, and releasing without really any feel of control over the battle. Still, the features and graphics -- and the turtles' star power -- will likely win over fans looking for another way to enter the ninja world. Kids who are already fans, or who simply like fighting games, will probably enjoy it; for other kids, this app has little to offer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in the game. Here, fighting is cartoonish and does not present any negative consequences. What is it like in real life?

  • What do kids think about franchising and branding? If this game featured generic do-gooders fighting evil -- without the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brand -- would it be as appealing? Why, or why not?

  • For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans: How does this game tie in with the story? What stories can you tell about their adventures?

App details

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