Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai - Game Review

Hey, It Could Be Worse

Power Rangers Samurai
Like this scenery? Expect to see it over and over again. Namco Bandai

I don’t hate Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai, although I probably should. Cheap looking and repetitive, with cheesy live-action scenes and static, text-based stories, the game is a typical example of a TV-series-licensed game designed only to appeal to its rabid fans; one that makes little attempt to go beyond cookie-cutter gameplay.

And yet, I really don’t hate the game. Instead, I find it vaguely likable, like that sort of boring guy at work who you won’t go out of your way to talk to but who never really annoys you.

  • Developed and Published by: Bandai Namco
  • Genre: Action
  • For ages: 10 and up
  • Platform: Wii
  • Release Date: Nov. 22, 2011


Story: Excruciating

The game is derived from a children’s live-action TV series about teenagers with special powers who fight evil. It’s one of those nutty Japanese series that you have to be pretty young to tolerate.

The game has an episodic series told in a weird and cheap manner. Generally you will see a photograph or drawing of a scene and read text relaying a dull, fairly pointless story. If you want to skip these scenes, which I highly recommend, press the plus button.

The plus button also came in handy during endlessly repeated scenes of the Power Rangers transforming into their costumes and pulling out swords and such while shouting things like “MEGA BLADE ACTIVE!”

The Gameplay: Generic Combat

Missions virtually all have the same structure.

You choose a Power Ranger from those available and are then asked to perform some slashes with the Wii remote to create the Japanese character representing that Power Ranger (one of only two places in the game that use gesture controls).

You then run along paths where bad guys lie in wait. You can attack them with a light A button attack or a heavy B button attack, the latter of which will let you vanquish foes quickly but which requires some power which occasionally runs out.

Power is also used for a couple of more elaborate attacks that will do things like incinerate enemies.

Some of these powers are useful, some generally misfire. From time to time a fallen enemy will drop a disk; when you’ve collected a few of these you’ll be able to perform a super attack.

The paths you travel along are sometimes blocked, and you might need to use an explosive barrel or a whirling machine to break through. Some paths have spikes that rise up when you step on them, others have speed pads that let you run so fast that enemies die when you run into them. Some areas can only be opened through the power of a specific Power Ranger. At times you get a choice of paths, offering some value in replaying a level (although I never bothered to do so).

Eventually you reach an end point where you are thrust into a boss battle. These are where those disks you collected come in handy, as they can cut your boss’s life bar in half. Bosses are sometimes somewhat challenging but lack variety.

After that you will often be engaged in a monster battle. My best guess, as someone who doesn’t know the series, is that all the Power Rangers combine into a monster, or maybe one Ranger uses the power of all the Rangers to turn themselves into a monster, or maybe the Rangers have pet monsters. I don’t know and honestly I don’t care.

These monster battles have completely different gameplay. You see two Godzilla-ish monsters and a bar between them in which pictures of a Wii remote float in from the left and pictures of a nunchuk float in from the right. The goal is to shake the appropriate device just as it reaches the midpoint, with the remote attacking and the nunchuk defending. If you shake at somewhere near the midpoint you will succeed, although you’ll get a stronger attack or a defense with a counter-attack for shaking at the exact middle. The pictures float in unpredictably at different speeds, and while it’s not difficult, I did find these short battles rather entertaining.

The Defense: I've Seen Worse

That’s pretty much it. Action is repetitive, scenery is constantly recycled and the live-action clips from the TV show are replayed endlessly.

And yet, I didn’t really mind it. Yes, the game doesn’t look particularly good, characters move stiffly, and you really couldn’t mistake this for a good game, yet it is somehow comfortable to play. It offers enough challenge to keep you from being completely bored, it occasionally adds a new feature, it rarely frustrates you, its cheesy rock soundtrack is kind of amusing, and, like a mediocre movie on TV on a Sunday afternoon, there doesn’t seem to be a strong reason to give up on it. While some games are offensively bad, like Rango or Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, Power Rangers Samurai is just harmlessly mediocre. And hey, I wasn’t expecting a lot to begin with.

The Verdict: Maybe, If It's In a $10 Budget Bin

The only really offensive thing about the game is the $40 price tag on a game that screams out “budget title.” It’s completely unreasonable, especially since missions are quite short and there aren’t a lot of them. But since as a reviewer I got the game for free, I can’t call forth the sort of fury I would feel if I’d actually blown $40 on the game.

So no, I really don’t hate Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai. I don’t recommend it, unless you are just obsessed with collecting every Power Rangers product in the world, but I don’t hate it.

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