Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Mega Battle Review – Nostalgia Hole (PS4)
When the Power Rangers reboot movie was announced back in 2014, it wasn’t a surprise that at least one game developer would also begin work on a Power Rangers game in an attempt to ride the excitement and anticipation for the movie. And last October, Bandai Namco and Bamtang Games announced Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Mega Battle, a modern take on a classic 2D side scrolling beat-’em-up that’s based on the original TV show and ostensibly targeted at kids and fans of the ’90s show. Sadly, Bandai Namco and Bamtang Games have dropped the ball with this latest attempt at a Power Rangers game as, in spite all its inherent nostalgia, it just falls short at almost every corner.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle is a relatively short game, featuring only six chapters with three levels each. The chapters are based on some of the TV show’s classic episodes and feature some of the game’s iconic characters and villains including Zordon, Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, the Putties, and more. You can play as one of the six Rangers (including Tommy as either the Green or White Ranger) and can play with up to three friends in co-op. You’ll have to find friends to play with you at home though as the surprisingly game doesn’t offer online co-op, something that would have suited a game like this in 2017 where most multiplayer games are played online.
Not as Bossy as You’d Think
Each of the game’s levels mostly feature classic beat-’em-up action against a varying range of opponents and a few additional gameplay elements mixed in. Each chapter then ends in a boss battle which starts in your Ranger form and then transitions into a two-part Zord battle. The Zord battle starts off in the Megazord’s Tank Mode where you basically move a crosshair to shoot key points on the boss. The battle then transitions into an actual Zord battle that looks like a fighting game match but is in actuality just a series of quick-time events (QTE). For what are supposed to be boss battles, the Zord battles are disappointingly the least exciting and challenging part of the game.
Not Much Meat in Its Bones
The actual beat-’em-up combat, which makes up most of the game, isn’t any better. In your human form, which you start most chapters in, you have a basic attack, jump, dodge, and block. When you transform into your Ranger form, which you’ll be able to do pretty quickly, your signature Ranger weapon as well as a laser pistol will be added to your arsenal of abilities. Using your Ranger weapon uses stamina that replenishes automatically in time while your blaster is limited by an energy bar that you replenish by hitting opponents or picking up energy orbs. Stamina and energy conservation isn’t much of an issue as you’ll be using your regular attack during combat most of the time.
All these make it seem you’ll be able to do quite a lot during combat but in actuality combat feels rather lackluster. While landing combos on multiple enemies and knocking them back into more enemies does feel satisfying, it starts to become repetitive rather quickly. There are also enemies that can only be attacked using certain moves so you’re moves are not only further limited but combat becomes even more repetitive. The controls an issue as they are less responsive during combat as movement is pretty much locked whenever you’re in the middle of an attack animation, leaving you open if you whiff an attack.
The game also doesn’t make it easy to keep yourself alive. Blocking is limited to only one attack at a time and it only initiates when your character isn’t doing anything so most attacks will end up going through it. Dodging attacks, either through jumping or the rolling, is the only reliable way of avoiding damage. The only form of mid-level healing comes in the form of health orbs that you pick up by destroying specific objects in the levels (which is also how you pick up energy orbs). If you die in the middle of a level, you are sent right back to its starting point. While this might be a welcome challenge to some, for a game that presents itself to be a casual brawler it just doesn’t quite fit and is one of the most glaringly bad omissions from the game.
The game does have a leveling system which allows you to unlock bonuses on a skill tree to increase your character’s health, energy, or stamina, or gain access to new combat moves and combos. Increasing your Ranger’s level is done by collecting experience orbs gained from defeating enemies but it takes quite a lot of experience to gain a level. The game does make up for it by giving you a few coins when you gain a level so you can sometimes unlock multiple bonuses each time. While some of the unlocked combat moves and abilities are a welcome addition and help deal with the monotony of combat, some of them are team moves that require others players so are useless for solo players.
Repetition Doesn’t Always Lead to Perfection
As you go through the chapters, the game quickly starts to feel repetitive. In spite of the game adding additional goals or objectives such as rescuing hostages from time to time, there really isn’t much else the game has to offer. The game also doesn’t do a very good job at storytelling, although there isn’t much of a story to begin with either way, with only a few cutscenes here and there as well as between chapters and before and after the boss fights. This leaves very little incentive to actually go through all six chapters other than to finish the game for the sake of completion and unlocking three extra game modes.
Mega Battle does feature some decent visuals, and while the decision to have the character models feature enlarged heads may not fit well with some, the game’s general art design is pretty well done in spite the few modifications and deviations from the TV show. The visual effects and animations also fit the game’s art style pretty well. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the audio as the sound effects left a lot to be desired. And while the music is at least interesting due to some of tracks being modern renditions of the TV show’s original score and soundtrack, the voice acting is limited to low quality clips lifted from the show which becomes rather obvious when played with the new music.
As a game that was obviously meant to reinvigorate old fans and introduce new ones to the series during the wake of the reboot movie, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Mega Battle feels more like an afterthought than an actual attempt at making a new and good Power Rangers game. While it may be something old fans of the TV show could enjoy just to scratch that nostalgia itch, as a video game released in 2017 it just fails to hit the mark and is far from being something that could be called a good gaming experience. It can even be said that some of the older games created for the franchise are much better and would be more recommended than this.
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Mega Battle review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.