Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid from nWay Games is the next addition to the recent surge of arcade fighters, only this piece is unlikely to stand out from the rest.
I was excited by the nostalgia of revisiting Power Rangers, a series I grew up with. Being a 90’s kid, I couldn’t help but adore the TV show and play pretend with countless action figures, making them fight one another. Battle for the Grid allowed me to do that for real, pitting some of the series most popular characters against others.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid focuses more on the fundamentals of a fighting game, opting with being a 3-on-3 tag fighter with only a four-button combat system using light, medium, heavy and special attacks. There are few combo moves and so there is little input required to pull off the special moves. Instead, every move is performed by pressing a direction and an action. Being left with a simple combat system means all players are able to pick up at entry level without having to button bash their way through fights – the avid players can still have their fun however, utilising the more complex tag mechanics that offer an array of special moves. This version does have the ‘comeback’ feature so, perfectly in line with the Power Rangers forte, once a tag team’s player is downed, they have the option once per battle to bring forth the Dino Megazord, The Dragonzord or Mega Goldar for a brief moment to help turn the tide of battle.
Battle for the Grid could easily be a demo or an unfinished product, by that I mean it offers very little in the way of battle stages and character roster. With only five stages, albeit one being the infamous and nostalgic ‘Command centre’ featuring an expressionless Zordon, the novelty of background scenery wears off quickly and, unlike fighters such as Injustice, the stages have no interactive pieces. Only 9 characters are available to players, ranging from the series more established characters Tommy Oliver (MMPR’s Green Ranger) and Jason Scott (MMPR’s Red Ranger) to more recent heroes in the series such as Kat Manx and Gia Moran. Each character has its own style, Tommy and Jason are both good all-rounders, Mastodon Sentry and Ranger Slayer are better zoning, and then you have your big hitters Magna Defender and the original bad guy Goldar, both being slower but dealing huge damage in just a few successful hits. The Comic book villain and alternate universe villain Lord Drakkon is the final character. Having such a small roster does limit the variety and with so many characters in the ‘Power Rangers’ universe it feels a shame that there are not many more at the player’s disposal.
Aside from its simply satisfying combat system, everything else is lacking. As well as the lack of stages and character choice, there is a repetitive soundtrack and next to no voice work besides the announcer to each fight. Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid offers little in game modes, players can choose from playing online with ranked and/or causal matches, which contribute towards your player level. Offline players can utilise the training mode or enjoy playing versus against CPU or (local) friends. In terms of single-player campaign, there is only more disappointment; arcade mode has a 7-stage long path for every character, consisting of increasingly difficult matches. However, these stages are all the same for each character and so give very little excitement once you have done it the first time due to the lack of story.
Battle for the Grid is clearly built for an online community and its success will surely depend on how it fairs with its online popularity, but I struggled numerous times to find a match online, suggesting it’s online community is already dwindling or perhaps never was. As a budget game, currently around £15.99 on Playstation Network, its value for money isn’t so questionable. I was after an easy to pick up, nostalgic Power Rangers game and I got that. Players can buy the season pass which promises to deliver more characters – first up is the 2017 movie’s Blue Ranger, Dragon Armour Trini from the MMPR comics, and Udonna, the mystic force white ranger. Though at a cost of £11.99 for a season pass, giving only a few skins and 3 extra characters to an already small roster, it is undeniably poor value.
For anyone that has already experienced Power Rangers: Legacy Wars for mobile, then you can assume this is an upgraded graphics version of that with significantly less character and stage choice.
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