Nickelodeon’s 2010 Ninja Turtles series bridged the heated nostalgia for the late ’80s/early ’90s cartoon and a contemporary animation of these rather asinine-in-concept heroes. Portal Power goes so far as to twist the existence of the Turtles into their cornball late generation toy forms. They don skater gear, knight suits, space suits, samurai; a chunk of these are sold for $2 each, as with the absurd “we’re out of ideas” series of action figures before.
The difference is these figures don’t exist. They’re digital. And, Portal Power’s finger scribbling action offers nothing tactile like a physical toy. Kids are meant to swipe across their miniature LCD screen to warp one of the Turtles to a foe to attack, motions devoid of sensation or weight. Power Portal plays itself. Hands off, fingers on, while covering up a chunk of the image which adds a pleasing cel look to the derivative TV stylings.
Say what one will for the sprite-based, elderly Ninja Turtles arcade games. At their lowest, they needed (at minimum) an activation of the brain’s reactionary core. They had move sets and challenges and timing requirements. Portal Power’s limp and falsely enthusiastic levels are a series of bland, disconnected boxes. Foot Soldiers, Krang, or Triceratons appear, then disappear because a finger told Turtles where to go. Portal Power casts players not in the role of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that agitated finger in beat-em-ups when you weren’t moving fast enough.