Also On: Xbox One, Switch, PC
Publisher: nWay Games
Developer: nWay Games
First thing I want to mention with this review for Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is that I don?t really have much affinity for Power Rangers as a franchise. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show released in 1993, which honestly should have been prime-time for 13-year old me to get into it, but outside of a few episodes I never really gave it a chance. However, about a year or so ago I saw a lot of people praising the comic books series from publisher BOOM! Studios, particularly the Shattered Grid arc. I gave that series a shot and really, really enjoyed it. So maybe it is kind of fitting that I?m now checking out the fighting game that pulls almost exclusively from that particular storyline.
If you?re not familiar with the story, it?s basically evil future Green Ranger Tommy becomes the villainous Lord Drakkon, hell-bent on stealing and absorbing morphers from other Power Rangers. Not content with dominating his own reality, he starts to expand to other realities, bringing in alternate forms of Power Rangers and allies from all over. It?s a neat reality-bending storyline with a lot of cool alternate character concepts, and perhaps unsurprisingly, lends itself pretty well to the framework for a solid fighting game.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid has gone through some changes since it?s initial release early in 2019. There have been a number of additional characters added via two season passes, lobbies for online play, a new story mode voiced by the original cast, and the most recent 2.0 patch allows for crossplay across all available platforms. While the initial release felt a little light in the way of content, the current iteration of the game feels pretty fleshed out overall. The online play is handled really well, honestly putting to shame the netcode of other, pricier fighters on the market. And the story mode is a pretty great way to introduce new players to the larger roster, running you through a series of chapters where control will switch between both heroes and villains.
As far as what kind of fighting game Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is, I?d say the quick and easy comparison is to Capcom?s popular Marvel vs. Capcom series. Power Rangers isn?t quite as chaotic in my opinion, but it does borrow some ideas, particularly the dedicated launcher to send your foe into the air with an option for quick follow-up air combos. It?s also a tag fighter, allowing you to select a team of three that you can tag between mid-fight or bring in for assists. It?s very focused on stringing together long-chain combo?s with flashy supers and special moves, but with some simple command inputs that won?t be too taxing to learn for new players.
If I had any real complaint to level at Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, it?s that I wish the tutorial system was a little more robust. There?s a basic tutorial you can run through that will teach you the basics, so how to dash, air launch, basic attacks, and so on. But at the onset of the game, especially if you?re not all that familiar with fighting games, you?re likely going to pull off 6 or 7 hit combos without really understanding how to extend your move set further. You can absolutely seek out more info online, but I?d love to see fighters focus a little more on exposing advanced techniques to newcomers, and I feel like we?ve started to see that trend a little more in the genre over the past couple of years. And when you have a game built upon a popular franchise like this one, I think it?s safe to assume you?ll be pulling in fans that aren?t entirely familiar with fighting game mechanics as a whole. I?m not going to penalize Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid too much in this regard, but it?d be nice to see the tutorial expanded upon somewhere down the road.
Still, for the initial purchase price of $20, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a really great fighting game, and can easily hold it?s own with other popular 2D style fighters on the market. Even if you don?t have a great deal of love for Power Rangers as a franchise, like myself, I think you can still appreciate how solid the mechanics are here. The season passes are also reasonably priced for the amount of characters they provide, and again the netcode for online play has been near flawless for me so far. So if you haven?t checked out the game yet, I?d absolutely urge you to do so.
Note: nWay Games provided us with Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid base game, season pass 1, and season pass 2 PS4 codes for review purposes.