Hey gang, Valkor here. And I'm about to throwdown with the latest Namco/Bandai beat em up gone straight to handheld – Power Rangers Megaforce on the Nintendo 3DS. I haven't been a fan of the series since Dino Thunder, which saw the return of Jason David Frank (The One Warrior). However my youngest nephew loves this new series. And while the kid in him will get a kick out of this game, the adult in me thinks it's just so-so.
In Power Rangers Megaforce, you'll battle Vrak, his army of Loogies and a handful of monsters, who're capable of growing into ginormous proportions. His goal is to capture humans to steal their energy. They've also stolen the power cards, which you'll need to retrieve that will also help you in battle. Thankfully you've got the power of the Megaforce Rangers on your side and you're able to select one of the five to kick things off. Each Ranger follows the same attack/jump/mega blaster button combo, but they differ as each brings their own signature fighting style to the front, plus they also have a different feel about them such as the Pink Ranger can jump higher and the Blue Ranger mixes it up with his Shark Bowgun. But before you dive into the fight, you'll use the 3DS's front-facing camera to take a pic of yourself, which will then be used in the morphing animation of the Ranger you've selected prior to battle. And then it's go time! Finally during stage three and onward, you'll be able to play as Robo Knight, unfortunately you won't get to use his Zord or any of the other Rangers for that matter. However, Robo Knight is quite agile and powerful enough that he can handle things on his own.
Once you begin, you'll fight left to right on a 2D plane in five stages each broken down into six levels; you'll take on Loogies, monsters, environmental hazards, collect cards (especially the power cards), Gosei coins and health pods. Find special power cards (fire, lightning, confusion, slo-mo, and mega blaster) and it'll be added to your arsenal, which you can access on the lower touch screen. These special cards can be used in battle or they can be used to can past certain obstacles. If you're Ranger is taking too much of a beating, you can swap out from the remaining four at any given time. And as your character is sidelined, he (or she) will slowly regain their energy. As you dish out the pain against the Loogies, your remaining Rangers will "heat up" and one will quickly jump in and out of battle, clearing out mobs or give you some breathing room against a boss.
At certain points in the game, you'll be given a challenge that must be completed in order to move on such as collect a set number of Gosei coins, defeat a set number of enemies, retrieve a stolen power card or survive one minute against an onslaught of Loogies. This breaks up the monotony of simply going from left to right, adding a new layer of depth to the title. Once you reach the sixth level of any stage, you'll jump into your Megazord and fight a giant monster, which you can use either the control pad and touch screen combo or control pad and button combo. Once the enemy's energy has been depleted, a symbol will materialize on the touch screen, prompting you to press it repeatedly to finish off the giant creature.
There's one other thing that needs mentioning – this is the chattiest game I've ever played. Once you start a level, up until you reach the end, the remaining Rangers will comment throughout, offering support and advice while you progress through the level. I assume this was supposed to give the game that feeling of being in an episode, however dialogue gets broken and others constantly repeat. It even happens with Robo Knight, which thankfully you only have to hear Gosei. Still…
After you're done with the main game, there's still more to do such as play through secret stages, view a photo gallery of stills from the show, snap some pics using the Megaforce photo frames, and more. And because you're graded by how well you defeat each stage, you can go back and try for a better score or to retrieve a card you might have missed. In the end, Power Rangers Megaforce is a simple beat em up, which fans of the series, young and old, can easily dive into and play. But would they really want to? Let's find out in the TOV Breakdown.
Power Rangers Megaforce is a total throwback to classic 2D beat em ups from the 8/16bit era, but with smoother visuals. And I'll admit it was fun romp. Now I'm more of a fan of the Japanese Sentai Rangers as opposed to the American Power Rangers, and since the game doesn't use actual faces from the show, you can turn the volume down and go either way. The plot mixed in with the corny dialogue is total cheese, but if you're used to it from the series (pick one, they all have cheesy dialogue) then you're well at home here. The moves are simple and can be pulled off with ease, which is great for the little ones and as for the adults it turns the game into a total time killer. The entire game can be finished in a couple of hours and even the extras will only hold your attention for so long. But this is a game meant for fans of the current run of the series and as such, it does not disappoint much as you'll find a decent beat em up, with a nice bunch of extras that's fun and entertaining.
The main game is rather repetitive; the same three, four backdrops are used repeatedly with the only difference are the placement of items or certain level designs. And the colors are pretty drab with the only thing that truly stands out are the colors of the Ranger's suits and the different colored Loogies. Speaking of which, you fight a small variation of Vrak's minions, with the only difference is in color and attack pattern. And given how much power you have, even the strongest Loogies go down with ease. It would have been nice to have more moves and combos to play with rather than repeating the same moves again and again. Oh and there are no Zord battles or even a transformation into the Megazord, which is the best part of the show (in my opinion). This is like an opportunity missed for Namco/Bandai. Why? Has anyone ever played Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance? I was surprised by how much voice and cinematics were squeezed onto that cart. With this game, we could have gotten so much more - Zord battles, animated cinematics, maybe some clips from the show, Zord transformation into the Megazord, etc,. That may seem like a lot, but it's something that would complete the overall experience that you're a part of the show. But that's all moot compared to what really irks me about the game – that damn constant Ranger chatter as you play the main game! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Literally, every move you make, these guys have something to say - about everything. All that talk might work on the show, but in the game? Come on! I even tried to tune it out. Nope! If you're a parent who's interested in purchasing this game for your child, then do yourself a favor and super glue the volume off before passing it on to your kid! You'll thank me later. I didn't last one minute before I shut the volume off and popped in my Power Rangers: The Movie Soundtrack to play along with this game.
Power Rangers Megaforce is available now and if you can get past the boring backdrops and the worst chatter known to man, then you might find a fairly decent brawler, though repetitive, it still has its moments of Ranger bliss that fans can appreciate. And out of TOV 5 stars, Power Rangers Megaforce on the Nintendo 3DS gets a 2.5.