Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
Power Rangers holds a place near and dear to my heart. Growing up with the original Mighty Morphin power rangers series, I would beg for all of the merch and watch the show religiously. While I have stopped watching the series, I still do loosely follow what’s going on with the franchise. So when It was announced that Power Rangers was getting a fighting game I was ecstatic. Not only was a franchise I enjoyed getting a new game but it was in one of, if not, my favorite genre of games. Let’s hope the Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid on Nintendo switch isn’t doubly disappointing.
Power Rangers: Battle for the grid was developed by nWay games, the devs behind the mobile game. This was a fighting game on a budget and boy does it show, but more on that later. It’s a 3 versus 3 fighting game centered around rangers from different eras. From the original Mighty Morphin all the way up to Megaforce. Even characters from the comic series, yes there is a comic series, show up in this game. It is every Power Rangers fan’s dream.
There is no type of story mode in this game. The only thing that gives you some sort of story is the arcade mode and even that is bare bones. It mostly is there to help you familiarize yourself with your chosen team and to give you a little pushback when practicing combos. You simply pick up your 3 rangers, jump in and beat down everyone in your path until you get to Goldar and then finally Lord Drakkon. Upon beating them down you don’t get any sort of unlocks. Just a nifty little checkmark by the lead characters name telling you that you went through their particular arcade mode.
There are ONLY 9 characters in this game. For a 3 versus 3 fighter that is paltry and limits variety in teams. 5 of the characters are even from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. Now I know that was and still is the most popular team, however, with 25 years worth of characters you couldn’t diversify a little more? No Zeo? No wild force? Heck, not even any turbo? You could have made the entire roster Tommy Oliver and still been more diverse than this. Again, I know this game was on a budget and they were using what they had on hand but man does it sting a little thinking of what could have been.
The gameplay itself is great. It takes A LOT from Marvel vs Capcom 2 for better and for worse. Everyone does an insane amount of damage and when you dig into the mechanics of each character, many if not all, have a one-touch death combo. This leads to some really fast fights and when you add in the Zords, you can go through matches within a couple of minutes.
Where the Battle for the Grid really shines is in its approachability. There are no standard fighting game motions in this game. All special moves and specials are done with the press of a button or combination of buttons. No quarter or half circle motions needed. Just press a direction and the special attack button and you are in there. You also have your usual light, medium, and heavy attacks to mix up your opponent.
When you get deeper into the gameplay, you can do all sorts of fun things like character swap ins and cross-ups using your teammates. This added layer of depth is for fighting game veterans who are looking for something more in this game. Which is delivered in spades. This game was developed by fighting game fans for fighting game fans. All of the core gameplay is solid, controls are responsive, and there were very few times where I would input something and something else would come out.
Being a 3 versus 3 fighting game, you can switch between your characters at will. Characters in reserve will regenerate their blue health unless they are snapped back in. Upon which they lose the blue health they had. Swapping characters in and out at the wrong time can also lead to a happy birthday or a merry Christmas. Basically, fighting game terminology for when two characters or your entire team get caught in a combo. These situations can wrap up a match quick, fast, and in a hurry. Getting either of these feels amazing and make you want to get better just to be able to take out two characters or a team in one fell swoop.
Each character fills some sort of fighting game archetype which helps fill out the game and ensures that anyone who picks it up will find a character that they enjoy. Jason is the based shoto character, Green Ranger and lord Drakkon are rushdown, Mastodon Sentry is more zoning, ranger slayer is keep away, etc. No matter how you enjoy playing you will find a character that you like and feels comfortable.
The net code for this game is solid as a rock. There have been very few times I have experienced lag or the match has dropped. As of writing, I have had one drop and one laggy match out of at least 60. You will usually find matches quickly both in ranked and casual. Pulling off cool combos is a breeze simply because the net code is so good. I was astonished by just how smooth and enjoyable my experience was. The game even has cross-play between PC, Xbox One, and switch, although the PC version has yet to release. This is amazing for such a small and budgeted title and will help keep the game alive.
Visually… the game is just okay. Again this is a low budget game so its not too surprising. Most, if not all, of the character models look to be ripped straight from the mobile game run by the developers. Each model is almost 1 for 1 with their mobile counterparts and each of the characters that are in the console game are also in the mobile one. The models have been improved, however, you can clearly tell that they were pre-existing and reused.
The stages are pretty static and not much is going on in them. There also aren’t that many of them. Only 5 in total with each showing off well-known places. From the Mighty Morphin Base to Lord Drakkons throne room, you get your basic smattering of diverse levels. However, again, out of all the lore and places to pull from not having at least 10 is disappointing.
This is where the game really falls apart. There aren’t many tracks at all in this game. Honestly, even though I’ve played this game almost religiously since it came out, only the main theme comes to mind when thinking about the game’s music. Even that is weak and unmemorable. The tracklist is forgettable and underwhelming. Not much else can be said about it. Hopefully, as they add characters they’ll also improve upon the music of the game as hype music gets you pumped up and wanting to do cool combos. Also, it makes not only playing but watching all the more fun and interesting.