Power Rangers Super Megaforce Review
If you grew up in the era I did, you may have fond memories of the back rooms of bowling alleys, and of feeding quarter after quarter into arcade games like X-Men, The Simpsons or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The side-scrolling beat 'em up has fallen from grace since those glory days, with only a few released here and there. And of that small number, the bad ones outnumber the good ones; for every Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystaria or Senran Kagura Burst, there are 10 abysmal titles that should be lost and wiped from the history of the collective gaming mind. One of those latter titles is Power Rangers Super Megaforce. No amount of nostalgia for the property, of appreciation for the newer show this game is based on, can save this one from the pit of "why did I buy this?!"
One look at Power Rangers Super Megaforce should be all you need to deter you from dropping the money for it, but we'll go over all the low points anyway. First of all, the game looks atrocious. This doesn't apply to the graphics as much as it does the animations. Sure, there isn't much detail to the levels and the enemies all seem to be palette swaps of a handful of models, but you could argue that the visuals are about on par with a high end DS or low end 3DS game. The way everything is animated here is just painful. The Power Rangers' movements and attacks are herky jerky, suggesting the lack of about half the normal frames of movement. The animation for the special attack and knockback from enemy hits are suspiciously similar, and the enemies repeat the same attack animations over and over and over. Even the giant Megazord boss battles look like a stuttering educational filmstrip from the 1950's (Hi, I'm Try McClure! You might remember me from such educational films as Locker Room Towel Fights: The Blinding of Larry Driscoll or Fuzzy Bunny's Guide to You-Know-What.) Seriously, there are NES games with smoother animation than this one. And on top of all that, the entire game, from the title and menu screens to the gameplay itself, has a bizarre washed-out look. It's like a dying rear projection TV that has begun displaying colors that are still pretty close to correct, just not 100 percent.
Find the A button and the D-pad on your 3DS. Found them? Good. Those are the only two inputs you'll need to get through most of Power Rangers Super Megaforce. While you have access to long range and mid-air attacks, blocks and super moves, all you really need to do to win is walk up to an enemy and start swinging. None of your other attacks, even the specials, seem to do more damage than straight up button mashing swipes and stabs. Once you realize the other moves are a joke, you'll need to hit A as fast as possible until you see the end credits. This gets boring before you hit even the end of the first part of the first level. I do realize that the beat 'em ups I mentioned in my first paragraph are button-mashy as well, but at least they had some subtle nuances or rewards systems that made them fun. This game has an in-game store to buy new moves and stats too, but with all but the standard attack being useless this feels like wasted effort.
The game tries to make the Megazord battles more interesting, but even these less frequent boss fights quickly get as old as the "punch and walk to the right" routine. Unlike the on-for battles, these happen on a 2D plain and actually require you to dodge and block attacks. The pace is so slow, however, it kind of kills any challenge that would have been presented by giving the player more to do than mash attack. Like the Power Rangers show, every boss eventually falls to your giant sword which prompts the questions, "Why did we waste all that time duking it out when I could have killed (insert ridiculous bad guy here) with a single sword swipe?" I can't really knock the game for this as it is the modus operandi for the entire show and all the spin-offs, but it does some somehow more irritating in game form.
As with the previous Power Rangers 3DS game, Power Rangers Megaforce (you can read my review here), Super Megaforce makes use of Power Ranger "keys," little cards that can be scanned to open up new characters in the game. As a big Skylanders fan, I always enjoy seeing this kind of thing implemented, but here it, again, is wasted effort. All the Rangers play similarly, making it pointless to buy a toy and card for a simple costume change on one standard Power Ranger. Why even bother?
I'd like to see more effort put into the Power Ranger license. This is a show that countless adults grew up with, and new spins on the series continue to gain fans to this day. To see games like Power Rangers Super Megaforce come along and suck out any fun that the franchise could have provided is disheartening. And having the beat 'em up genre dragged further down with the latest in a long line of blah games is even worse. Skip this game and keep your fingers crossed that the next one will be better.
Final Rating: 30%. Not so super.