Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a 3D action game based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. It draws inspiration from the contemporary Nickelodeon cartoon series, but also references the older comics, the original TV series and the films. Players get to control the four ninja turtles Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael as they fight to save New York City from mutants, with familiar adversaries such as Foot and Shredder.
The game takes the player through a set of linear levels where various types of enemies need to be defeated. The game is always played with the group of four turtles and it is possible to switch between them on the fly. Up to four players can have a go simultaneously in multiplayer and when less than four are playing it is still possible for anyone to switch between the available turtles not controlled by a player. Each turtle has its trademark weapon, a secondary weapon and a specific fighting style. Switching between turtles is also a game mechanic to string together large combos as in a tag style fighting system. Next to combat the turtles can move through the environment by jumping over objects, climbing on top of them or for instance grind rails. A stealth mode can be entered to move around and kill quietly. In this crouched stance the active turtle can also ask the others to stay put and not follow. Downed turtles can be revived by providing pizza to them, available in limited quantity.
The game offers four game modes: Campaign, Arcade Mode, Challenge Mode and Dojo Training. While playing, additional smaller objectives often appear such as reaching a certain combo or doing a stealth KO, to gain more experience points. Certain areas in the game are blocked off and need to be opened by hacking terminals through a boardgame-like puzzle game to rewrite the circuit. In the workshop, part of their sewer hideout, different types of weapons can be equipped and unlocked. These can also be upgraded through several levels. Each character has four statistics: health, damage, toughness and speed. Ability points are used to unlock individual upgrades such as attacks, defence, finishers, leadership skills, general combat abilities, team attacks and specials.