Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 27.01.2017

Review for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle on Xbox One

During the 90s, licensed beat 'em ups were all the rage in arcades. Developers such as Capcom and Konami put out several games based off of various multimedia properties. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle is a throwback to that classic era. Rita Repulsa is plotting to take over the Earth. It's up to five teenagers with attitude to put a stop to her machinations. Six chapters of Putty smashing and monster slaying await the Power Rangers.

When designing a beat 'em up, there are a lot of factors to consider. While these games are designed around the simple concept of walking up to someone and punching them repeatedly, there's a lot depth and nuance to take into consideration. There needs to be a good variety of moves for the playable characters, challenging enemies, and satisfying hit mechanics. This game does a good job of grasping that basic concept, while appealing to more modern sensibilities.

Screenshot for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle on Xbox One

Each Ranger is capable of numerous abilities. They can perform quick punches and kicks, or utilise their weapon to deliver powerful blows. There's a nice combo system that allows the heroes to launch enemies into the air and juggle them further. By accruing experience, they can learn new abilities as well as boost their health and defence. One noteworthy quality is how agile everything feels. It's easy to assault the enemy from nearly any direction or dodge their counterattacks.

The most common foe is the putty. These foot soldiers are mostly fodder, but slapping them around can still be entertaining. The other enemies tend to require specific strategies, or are only vulnerable to counterattacks. For example, the tengu put up a nice defensive front by blocking practically everything, but that leaves them open to getting grabbed and tossed. All enemies have a "tell" that indicates when they're about to attack. This is really helpful in the chaos of battle, since it gives the heroes enough of a warning to avoid taking a hit.

Screenshot for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle on Xbox One

As is expected of the genre, each chapter ends with a boss fight. These monsters employ a multitude of attacks, though they have a habit of tiring themselves out. This leads to encounters that are more about recognising and dealing with patterns, rather than a straight-up brawl. It's a nice break from the sometimes-monotonous action, though the fights themselves are lacking in challenge. After the initial fight, the monster will grow in size, forcing the Power Rangers to summon the Megazord to combat this gigantic threat. These battles are entirely different, relying exclusively on firing bullets at weak points and QTE button presses. They're pretty lacklustre, especially when compared to the 16-bit console releases. Their climatic battles were decided using controls similar to fighting games. Pressing a string of buttons isn't nearly as thrilling.

Another common element of beat 'em ups is that they're multiplayer centric. This title delivers in that regard, allowing for up to four players at once, provided they're sharing a couch or floor together. Yes, there's no online cooperative mode. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons. Not only is this game less fun without friends (or even strangers), it also tends to be far more difficult. Although experience is harder to come by, players can revive one another if they lose all of their health. This isn't a major factor in story mode, due to a prevalence of healing items. However, it's pretty much a necessity to make any real progress in Rita's Tower, the survival mode that unlocks after completing the story. A number of special moves also require more than one player to perform.

Screenshot for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle on Xbox One

A serious missed opportunity is that the sizable cast of playable characters doesn't really mean anything, because they all have practically the same moves. Granted, they wield their own weapons, but in terms of combos and special attacks, there really isn't anything that differentiates them. This really cuts into the replay value. More unique abilities as well as pronounced strengths and weaknesses would have gone a long way towards making each Power Ranger fun and challenging to learn.

This game also suffers from numerous glitches and bugs. The most noticeable one tends to be the bad hit detection. Even if it looks like the hero is just out of range of a shockwave, they're still liable to get knocked down. If a witch swings her claw and the Ranger dodges it, they shouldn't rush in too quickly to punish, because they'll get hit…somehow. Even if a boss looks defenceless after throwing a few projectiles, there's a slight possibility that they could still inexplicably damage someone. For whatever reason, the controls can also lock after performing a bunch of attacks, forcing the player to release the control stick in order to move again. The strangest bug is that if a Ranger reaches the maximum experience level when they complete the story, they'll level down to six. Thankfully, upgrades aren't lost, but it still doesn't make any sense.

Screenshot for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle hits the right nostalgic notes, but it's a clearly rushed affair. The most important elements are in place, the fighting system is solid and pretty fun, and the campaign is suitably lengthy. However, the lack of polish just buries it. The wonky hit detection and control issues are a constant nuisance. Support for up to four players is appreciated, but there aren't any online modes, which is just plain baffling. Altogether, this makes for a game that's just not as tightly designed as it could be. Another few months of development time could've made a big difference.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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