I’ve been a fan of Power Rangers since the franchise started back in the 90s. Throughout the years, my sons and I have watched countless episodes. We bought the ranger action figures, the giant robot toys, a whole mess of morphers, Halloween costumes, and plenty of video game tie-ins. Upon hearing the news of a new Power Rangers game, a retro-style brawler featuring the original team, we made plans to play through it co-op style together. At first, it went pretty well, but it didn’t take long for the “new shiny” to fade, and we were left with a most un-morphinominal experience.
The first thing you’ll notice about Mega Battle is the art style. All five teenagers with attitude are rendered in a cartoony, super deformed look. Given the superheroic themes of the source material, this comic book style makes lots of sense. It looks great while you are playing. Cut scenes are especially bright and bold, but unfortunately not entirely voiced. The sound effects and music are very reminiscent of the original show, and playing the game feels as if you have stepped into a cartoonized version of the series.
Four local co-op buddies are supported (sadly, there is no online play) and once you pick your Rangers, the action begins. You start in unmorphed, regular teenager mode, but smacking bad guys around earns energy which can be spent to morph into fully costumed glory. Beginning a session of Mega Battle in unmorphed mode matches the source material, but it has some troubling implications. If you quit and come back to the campaign later, you’ll have to save up that energy to morph again. An annoyance at first, but we’ll revisit this issue later on in the review.
Once you’ve morphed into Power Ranger mode, things really start cooking. You’ll take down oodles of minions, starting with lowly Putties, then working your way through tougher foes. As you play, you’ll earn experience, leveling up, and also Ranger points that can be spent to upgrade your abilities. It’s very familiar brawler territory here, but I was honestly surprised at how deep the upgrade system is. There are dozens of ways to spend those Ranger points. You can learn new moves, make yourself stronger or tougher, and even purchase attacks that allow you to team up with your fellow Rangers. Generally speaking, though, you mostly punch and kick your foes, whether you’re on the first level or the last.
After you fight through two levels of minions, a boss fight commences. First the Rangers must fight the boss at normal size (exactly like the show). Following this, the boss grows to colossal size (also exactly like the show) and the Rangers must summon their Zords to take the big bad guy down. First there is a shooting gallery fight with the Megazord in Tank mode (rarely used in the show) and finally you team up to form the giant robot Megazord in order to take the boss down once and for all (again, exactly like the show). Sound fun? Only if you like cooperative quick time events. We found the Megazord fights very easy with two, but when you add in more players, especially those who are younger, these boss fight events are much more difficult. That’s the opposite of what you want to happen in a teamwork-based game, unfortunately. Instead of being a nice change from the minion bashing, boss fights feel more like a chore.
Remember earlier when I said you start every session (even a continue) unmorphed? Good luck getting enough energy to change to Ranger form on the last levels. You don’t have access to your upgraded, fancy attacks in normal form, so you deal little damage and can’t take a hit. For younger or inexperienced players, especially, this can be frustrating, though thankfully there is a revive mechanic that helps.
Mega Battle is extremely repetitive, even when you consider that brawlers tend to be that way anyhow. Fight through tons of boring minions. Endure a simple pattern-based boss fight in Ranger form. Rush through a shooting gallery fight, and follow it up with simultaneous button pressing. That’s the pattern for the first level, and it’s the same on levels two through six, with the only change being that the minions get tougher and take even longer to fight. It’s not that the gameplay is bad, really, it’s just tremendously stale. Mega Battle is a very short game, around three hours to beat the campaign, but it still seems to overstay its welcome.
By the time we had waded through Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Mega Battle, I was more than happy to be done with it. It looks good, and has the classic brawler gameplay that I usually enjoy, but there’s not much meat to it. I wouldn’t say Mega Battle is a bad game, but it certainly isn’t good either. It is merely adequate. By no means is it the worst Power Rangers game I’ve ever played, but that is faint praise indeed. In the end, if you are a big Power Rangers fan, and have a few hours to kill, it might be worth picking up. But if you’re looking for a compelling, modern brawler, Mega Battle is not it.