Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle Review (XONE)

Giant robot dinosaurs that combine into an even bigger giant robot to fight giant monsters.  That’s the core concept of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” TV series and it is just as appealing to 33-year old me as it was to 10-year old me back when watching the show was a daily ritual before school.  As you can guess, I approached this new MMPR: Mega Battle beat-em-up for Xbox One with a fair bit of excitement and I'm pleased to say I came away mostly satisfied.  It isn’t a masterpiece by any means, but having a love of co-op beat-em-ups and any nostalgia whatsoever for the classic Power Rangers can make it pretty enjoyable overall.  See all of the details here in my full Might Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle review.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Developer: Bamtang Games
  • ESRB Rating: “E10” for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Beat-Em-Up
  • Pros: Fun gameplay; local co-op; awesome music; wonderfully nostalgic
  • Cons: Terrible Megazord battles; kinda boring solo; no online co-op
  • MSRP: $15

Featuring key storylines from the first two seasons of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, MMPR: Mega Battle includes cartoon look-alikes of the original teenagers with attitude as well as the baddies we all know and love like Rita Repulsa, Goldar, and Lord Zedd.  I have to admit that I don’t really remember the specific stories / episodes referenced in the game, but I definitely remember the characters and they really nailed them here.  The dialogue is corny, the plotlines are flimsy, bullies Bulk and Skull are still doofy – everything is perfect. 

In terms of gameplay, MMPR Mega Battle is a pretty standard beat-em-up.  In normal scrawny teenager mode your attack options are more limited, but when you transform into a Power Ranger you have standard attacks, weapon attacks (each Ranger has their own distinct weapon), and projectiles.  By using different combinations of attacks you execute different combo moves and you can also juggle enemies in the air.  The different enemy types all have unique weaknesses and attack patterns and the game does a good job of throwing different enemies at you to keep you on your toes.  The gameplay isn’t new or different or spectacular compared to any beat-em-ups that came before it, but it is solid and can be quite fun.

Most of the game is played on foot as a normal Power Ranger using martial arts to beat up enemies, but there are also a handful of boss fights where you get to use the Megazord giant robot and kick some giant monster butt.  Unfortunately, the way these fights are presented is pretty much the dumbest way they possibly could have done it.  Rather than awesome battles where you have full control of your crazy awesome robot these fights are broken down into glorified quick time events.  In the first stage you just shoot targets on the enemy monster with a cursor and then in the second stage you input onscreen button prompts and the game does all the cool stuff for you.  The boss fights are easy and lame and totally awful, which is a major disappointment considering that the giant freaking robots are the coolest part of the franchise.  Sigh.

Also disappointing is that the game is clearly designed for co-op, which means solo play is kind of boring and can also be surprisingly difficult at times.  If you have friends to play with the experience is much, much better, but even here there’s a distinct problem.  Unlike another recent beat-em-up RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, which had online co-op but not local, MMPR: Mega Battle has the opposite problem – only local co-op but no online.  This isn’t a deal breaker, and I’d rather have local than online anyway, but come on devs / publishers!  You really need to have both online and local multi if you’re going to make a co-op game! 

The presentation is pretty good overall with bright and colorful graphics that match the original series surprisingly well.  The visuals are a little simple, but the big bold colors of the Power Rangers and the distinct enemies make up the bland backgrounds.  The sound is excellent with great use of the music from the show.

All in all, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle is a fun dose of nostalgia for gamers who grew up with the franchise.  I wish the Megazord battles were better – a lot better – but the core beat-em-up gameplay is solid and the game is a blast to play in co-op with other fans of the show.  If you love beat-em-ups and have fond memories of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, give MMPR: Mega Battle a look.  
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.