The 90s were fucking weird. Rap was on the rise, even if a good ninety percent of it was absolute garbage. The commercials were equal parts terrible and amazing. But most important of all: American kids across the world were introduced to the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers!
Power Rangers is not a thing that should have taken off. The actors were about as good as you’d expect from teenagers with attitude. The dialogue was so cheesy that it made the average bowl of Kraft blush. The action, which was ripped straight from the Japanese show ‘Super Sentai’, was clearly meant only to sell toys. If this show weren’t meant for kids, it wouldn’t have survived even half as long as it did.
But it didn’t just survive. It went on to thrive. The sheer number of spin-off shows and reboots and movies is enough to make my head spin. None of them ever reached the same level of nostalgic clout that the original series did. In fact, they’re often hated by most audiences except for the really little kids.
But to give credit where it’s due: the huge number of characters from a huge number of shows makes for an exciting fighting game roster!
Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid is the video game equivalent of the American Dream. The developers were given a near-microscopic budget to work with. It is an ugly game that started with practically no content. But as time went on and the game became more successful, it started to become something truly amazing!
It may not be a pretty game and it may not have a good story. But in terms of pure gameplay? This game is an absolute treat!
But we’ll get to that in a bit. First, we need to get through the muck. Starting with…
The Plot: Power Rangers, Avengers Edition
From what I’ve heard, this game’s story is an adaptation of a popular Power Rangers comic. People with nostalgia for the series seem to like it. Unfortunately for this game, I have no nostalgia for Power Rangers, nor have I read the comic. So I’m fully prepared to tear this game a new asshole!
In an alternative future, Tommy Oliver destroys the other Rangers and their nemesis, Rita Repulsa, becoming Lord Drakkon. Now, with the help of his evil minions (several of which are mind-controlled), he wages war on the multiverse’s different Ranger teams to steal their powers for himself. Power Rangers from across the multiverse must team up to defeat the fallen Ranger and save The Grid.
This game’s plot is, if I can speak frankly, isn’t very good. None of the characters have any personality beyond one or two character traits, and none of them undergo any meaningful or interesting development. The story goes from one event to another with little threads connecting them. Lord Drakkon as a villain isn’t intimidating, as he forces all of his minions to do the work (none of which are effective or intimidating) and spends all his time maniacally cackling.
Would a kid who loves Power Rangers enjoy this plot? More than likely! I can see that criticizing a Power Rangers game for having a bad story is a pointless endeavor. I mean, for god’s sake, have you ever seen Power Rangers?!
Do I think kids deserve well-made and intelligent media? Yes. Kids are smarter than people think! But if you want something cheesy, stupid and decently fun, especially for your kid, this game’s plot is perfectly fine. Just don’t expect god-tier storytelling.
Visuals: Twenty-Five Cent Budget
This is where the game’s lackluster budget becomes clear. It does run relatively smoothly, which is a must for any fighting game. But everything else is lackluster in comparison.
But to be fair: they have improved it since it launched. Not by much, but it has improved!
If you’re expecting a flashy, visually interesting fighting game, this is not the game for you. The animations are smooth and effective, but they are far from flashy. The characters all look like action figures of varying quality (much like the show, now that I think about it). The stages are decently nice looking, even if very few of them have anything going on in the background.
Everything outside of battles is effective, albeit simple. The loading screens are simple, still screens. The menus are easily navigated, although they aren’t exactly interesting to look at.
The visuals do the job. They aren’t exceptional and likely never will be. But it certainly isn’t the worst looking game out there.
Still looks better than Marvel VS Capcom: Infinite.
Gameplay: The Shine in the Muck
Up to this point in the review, you may be wondering why I bother. I’m clearly not a Power Rangers guy, so the story isn’t for me. The visuals are far from impressive, so it doesn’t have the same spectator appeal that a game like Guilty Gear or Dragon Ball Fighterz has. Why bother with this game?
Easy. Because this is a fantastic, easy-to-get-into and wildly entertaining game!
Battle For The Grid is a 2D 3V3 Tag-Team fighting game, much like the aforementioned Dragon Ball. You select your team of three Rangers from various shows and movies, select your Zord (we’ll get to that in a bit) and leap straight into battle! You can jump around, switch characters, call in your teammates to assist you, so on and so forth.
This is easily the most simple fighting game I have ever played. Do you have making half/quarter circles or charge motions? Have no fear, because Battle For The Grid has none of that! There is a light, medium and heavy attacks along with a special move (which has three variations for each character, depending on if you’re holding back, forward or are remaining in neutral). You can use your super move with the simple press of a button, taking no skill whatsoever.
Combos are super easy to execute in this game! That doesn’t sound all that great on its own, but then you factor in the damage! One full combo can deal upwards of fifty percent of a health bar, which can feel extremely good!
Unless you’re on the receiving end.
This game also has a great comeback mechanic with the Zords. See, when you lose one or more of your team members, you can summon your Zord by pressing both assist buttons. After being activated, the Zord will attack with massive, full-screen blows, which will change depending on which buttons you press. This makes matches a hell of a lot more hectic and exciting, as comebacks are challenging but wholly possible!
Now, it is worth noting that the roster is pretty small. It is being updated with more DLC (some of which is free, which is nice), so it is looking to shape up pretty well. But as it stands as of me writing this review, the roster is very small but very diverse.
This game is super easy to get into! Even if you skip the tutorial (which you shouldn’t do in any fighting game) you can pick it up and succeed extremely quickly! Whether you’re playing on the couch with a friend or online (which is decent, as the netcode is actually pretty good), you can have a ton of fun with this game!
Is it the deepest or most visually interesting fighting game ever? Nope. But it is so much fucking fun that I don’t care! It is super casual friendly while still having enough depth to make exploring combo routes fun and challenging!
Hey EVO! When is this game showing up on the main stage?!
Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid is not the biggest fighting game out there. It doesn’t have the visuals to capture the hearts of spectators, nor does it have the story to truly grip casuals (again, unless you are either a very small child or an adult with the mind of a very small child). But more importantly than anything else: it is fun to play!
If you enjoy fighting games, I’d highly recommend this game! It may not be the nicest to look at, but it is an absolute joy from the moment you pick up a controller! Get your friends, order some pizza and gather around, because this game can provide hours and hours of fun!
AND I HAVEN’T EVEN MENTIONED LORD ZEDD’S SUPER ATTACK, WHICH IS THE BEST THING TO EVER BE PUT IN A VIDEO GAME!!