Under a new name, more dedicated attitude, and in the confines of the same office, we have made our triumphant return.  In my first review for Peeridium, I figured I’d tackle a game that has occupied the bulk of my time over the last few days; Bandai Namco’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle!  Surely, nobody was paying attention when this passed the “is it easy to say” inspection, but if you say you’re playing a Power Rangers video game, I’m confident people will figure you didn’t dust off the old Sega Genesis and that a new title has surfaced.

Despite countless variations of the Power Rangers, it was a smart choice for Bandai Namco to choose the most memorable, the OG Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Given that BOOM! Studios began pumping out an ongoing MMPR comic series in recent time, and with the new film hitting theaters this March, a new Power Rangers-related video game feels like it was necessary.  As necessary as it may or may not have been, this game feels like a breath of fresh air since similar titles usually are lucky to even reach a level of mediocrity.  Enough beating around the bush.  This game is a lot of fun.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle is a standard-fare beat-em-up title for the Xbox One and Playstation 4.  You can play as all of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and the game supports single-player to four-player local co-op.  Getting behind the wheel of this game felt reminiscent of my days as a wee lad pumping hours into classic games from this genre like Streets of Rage, Maximum Carnage, and, of course, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  The game has 6 levels that are broken down into three separate segments.  Each level has 2 regular sections where you’re smacking people around, followed by a boss battle where generally there are 3 phases:  on foot, in the Dinozord (on-rails style shooting), and wrap it up with a Megazord battle (button combination 2D fighting).  In total, the game clocked me at just under 4 hours to beat through the campaign, but there’s more fun to be had beyond that.  Given that this is a beat-em-up, the game is really designed for multiple playthroughs.  While there aren’t many differences between the characters, there is a leveling system and each character has a skill tree that can be maxed out.  Characters level up to 11 and then the tree starts over.  I am unsure what the benefits are to going up the ranks again, but I was able to max out the Blue Ranger in my first play through (I did do a couple segments over because I died.  Go ahead, laugh it up), and I can confirm that you max out the skill tree at max level.  Upon completing the story, you unlock some extra modes as well, like Rita’s Tower, which is a wave-based mode where you kick, punch, and shoot your way up to the highest level you can achieve.  For a $14.99 USD price tag, I felt like this was a better experience than most games in the same range, and this is a game that I will continue to get hours and hours of enjoyment out of as time goes on.

The art design of this game boasts some really vibrant colors.  Trying to go back and watch the low quality of the original MMPR can’t compare, but this does feel really heavily inspired by the similar colors you would find in the aforementioned Mighty Morphin comic (Which is a great read.  Go check it out).  The character animations are smooth, but I did notice a bit of lag at points, which didn’t feel welcome in a game that doesn’t really have a huge amount on-screen at any given time.  The backgrounds and settings don’t offer a huge amount of interaction, but I did notice myself often looking to see what was going on behind the action in the forefront.  The “cut-scenes” in this game are pretty plain.  There’s not a huge amount of dialogue.  Mostly you’ll get a few sound effects and some text dialogue, but to me it felt like this was justified by the fact that this game is somewhat of a revival of games from an era where official cut-scenes weren’t even obtainable.  I almost feel as if this game had any type of live action or cartoon footage in between segments it likely would have felt out of place.

Piggybacking off of the visuals, the sound is solid.  The music is either ripped or heavily inspired by the original series, and it feels like the type of music you’d want playing in the background of a game like this.  The sound effects when hits connect isn’t the most polished, but are you really playing this game for AAA-quality sound effects?  I will say that there was a point in the 3rd or 4th level of this game where there was seemingly no background music at all, and I definitely noticed.  It wasn’t for a very lengthy bit, but the sound certainly felt empty because, well, it wasn’t exactly present.  This may have been a glitch, but the sound effects from battle were still alive and well, and the BGM returned once I hit the next part of the level.

Being a game that I was skeptical of at first, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle has few faults.  The lag I mentioned earlier in this review is certainly the closest thing to a game-breaking problem that it has.  This didn’t follow a pattern, and seemed to not necessarily be triggered by an overload of action, but rather it just happened.  There are a couple times at the end of boss encounters where there’s slowdown and that feels like intentional slow motion, but there were other times where myself and Stingray (my co-op partner) were going about our business when there was just a random slowdown.  The game never froze on us, and it happened for no more than 2-3 seconds per instance, but it was enough to notice.  The missing Background music on one level may have been a glitch and this game has a pretty solid soundtrack/sound effects to it, so I’m not going to dock it for something like that.  My only other gripe is about the Achievements on the Xbox One version of this game.  This may or may not apply to the Playstation 4 version of this title.  Only the primary Gamertag that is logged in when this game is launched will receive Achievements.  This is hopefully something that will get patched very soon because I am nearing the 1000G mark and my son, Stingray, has a lovely 0G for this game that he invested hours in playing.  I have reached out to Bandai Namco regarding this and, thus far, have not received a response.  I will update this review if I do.

As I mentioned, MMPR: Mega Battle is a great time.  It’s not the greatest beat-em-up game I ever played, but it took me back to my video game roots for a few hours thus far, and more hours to come.  This game looks like a modern title, but has the feel of a classic beat-em-up that many gamers grew up playing.  The short campaign combined with the fun co-op, skill trees, and extra content like Rita’s wave-based Tower provide a fun experience that will encourage you to pick up a controller with a friend from time to time and give it another go.  Sadly, this game only includes local co-op, so if you’re somebody who doesn’t have somebody at the ready to share a couch and a few hours of time with you, this might be a game worth passing on or waiting for a sale.  However, if you have even one person who can help you save Angel Grove as the mightiest, morphin-est Power Rangers around, grab this game immediately.

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