Title: Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
Available on: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, PC
Developer: nWay Inc.
Official Site: Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
Release Date: March 25, 2019
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a nostalgic throwback to the classic television show from the 90s. While the original release of the game may not have been a polished masterpiece, developer nWay Inc. outdid themselves by updating it with a complete storyline, voice acting, and new characters. It’s fun, quick, and sets itself apart from other familiar fighting games.
Fights see players taking control of three different characters from the Power Rangers universe. Every Ranger or fighter has access to heavy attacks, quick attacks, and specials, which is the norm in just about every fighting game released. The button mapping is clear, precise, and doesn’t leave you fiddling about with pressing random combinations to figure out a fantastic move. It’s easy to figure out what buttons lead to new maneuvers to bring down opponents. And if you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing there are tutorials to guide even the newest Ranger on the team.
Fighters also have access to their unique ultimate ability that features their spin on attacks. For instance, if you play Green Ranger Tommy Oliver, he’ll bust out the dragon dagger and summon the Dragonzord for a short time. Other characters can call the Megazord and even Mega Goldar to smackdown on their opponent.
Rangers such as Jason focus more on quick attacks and thrusts with his sword, while Gia uses range to her advantage, striking out with her chained daggers. Players can also choose to go for a more brute-forced fighter like Magan Defender or Goldar.
Before the update included voice acting, a story, and new art, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid wasn’t anything special to look at. It was that old gaming cabinet that collected dust in the corner of the arcade; just another generic fighting game that just happened to include the Power Rangers. Now, it’s fresh, exciting, and engaging. While the voice-over work may be lackluster and feels rushed, it at least exists. It’s enjoyable to hear the original actors lend their voices to the game. It’s a Power Rangers game for crying out loud, fans want to hear the familiar voices of Tommy and Kimberly as they battle out their teenage angst in the Grid.
The storyline plays out like a comic book. Lord Drakkon is hopping through the Grid hunting or recruiting Rangers to his mission. The gameplay shifts when he or one of his hunters begins a fight with another fighter. However, while it may provide a more entertaining approach than just defeating enemy after enemy, it’s highly monotonous. Thankfully, fighters are switched out often to keep the flow more interesting and fluid. The plot is similar to that from the original TV series, but it’s a lot more adult. It’s gritty, dark, and mysterious and this is a fighting game we are talking about. I was left wanting to know what happens next.
One of the other drawbacks of the game as a whole is the level selection is bland. There aren’t that many choices and the ones given don’t feature a wide variety of things to look at. The most exciting map to fight on includes the Megazord fighting giant Goldar, but their fight is so obviously routine that it takes a few seconds for them to start over and begin the fight from the beginning.
Online multiplayer also needs some tender love and care. Connecting to matches online was met with frequently dropped connections or laggy games. Even finding a match with a friend was near impossible. I never got the chance to fully delve into the online play due to the number of times I got kicked off or the other player quit the match.
Cast of Characters
Battle for the Grid also doesn’t offer a lot to choose from. Originally, the game launched with nine playable characters but the developers released several others with time, bringing the current ranking to 20. However, for the longest time, the list of characters was the same amount featured in Super Smash Bros. 64, a game that was released in 1999. By that time, the Power Rangers had gone through five series and included way more characters. Thankfully, the developers are adding more to the roster.
Verdict: Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid contains plenty of highpoints for the fighting game genre but lacks in just a few places. The backdrops to the few levels to pick from are dull and while the cast of characters is fun, including the entirety of the original group or some other characters would improve it. The voiceover is drab but it’s a nice touch to include it at all. It’s a classic arcade fighting game but needs some improvements to stand up to today’s releases.