Score: 9 out of 10
As someone who grew up in the 90s, one of my favorite and fondest memories was watching five teenagers with attitude transform into Japanese martial artists in full body costumes. Over the years, I’ve played many games based on these Rangers of Power. Which why when I heard about Behold Studio’s Kickstarter for Chroma Squad, a turn based strategy game inspired by Power Rangers, I was excited. Sadly I didn’t kickstart it because I wasn’t backing anything on there yet. Still have only backed four things. Anyway, as a someone who had recently started watching Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, the shows for the footage behind Power Rangers and Masked Rider, I was absolutely going to play this game. Luck for me we get a review code.
Chroma Squad is about a group of stunt actors who got fed up with working for an incompetent director. In a fit of fed-up-withness (its a word now) they quit and decided to start their own studio. Luckily one of the actors’ uncle had an unused warehouse that’s perfect for a studio. Inside the warehouse also just happens to be an extremely large brain in a jar that is connected to a computer with a text to speech function. Strange. Now they have to raise money for better costumes, studio equipment, and prop weapons. You can only use buckets and pretend they are magically helmets for so long. The dialog is pretty funny. The actors constantly break character. Just what is this giant brain in a jar? Where did it come from? Why do some of these monster have some amazing costumes on a low budget show?
After naming all five of the actors and choosing what color each role is going to to be you can start your show. That’s right you can choose the leader not to be red, and you can also have orange, purple, and brown “rangers”. Something that I’ve always wanted, and Orange Ranger. Or maybe you want an all female group. For each of the five actors there are five roles; Leader, Assist, Techie, Assault, and Scout. Each mission is an episode of the tv show. There’s only 5 or 6 episodes per season. After the season premiere you can choose which episode you want to play next. In the mission select you get a brief synopsis of the episode like you would any actual tv show. The mission select will also let you know if the episode features a special guest and/or a giant robot fight. Giant robots in this cause is made out of cardboard. The special guests I assume are named after either kickstarter backers or developers. The only other episode you can’t choose from besides the first episode of the season is of course the season finale. Each mission has director instructions of special things that you need to do to get a fan boost. These instructions could be things like kill the minions before the boss or attack boss each turn or finish boss with finisher. Between missions you can also hire marketing companies to give you fan and income buffs. The marketing company buffs only last 1 or 3 episodes.
The combat is pretty simple. Each actor gets a turn to move a certain number of squares based off their movement stat. After they move they can either attack or move again or set up for a teamwork move, very similar to X-Com. Each role has a different ability. The Assist actor is your healer of the group, your Techie is the one to lower an enemy stats, and so on. There is somewhat of a skill tree but you don’t have to drop any skill points the next tier of abilities unlocks after each season. That means you can change which abilities are active whenever you’d like, as long as it’s not during a mission and it’s within the same tier. After using an ability there is a cooldown period. Some weapons are role specific like the axe can only be used by the Assault role, while other weapons like your basic pistol or sword any one can use. Each person can only carry one weapon, so it’s best to have a role specific weapon on each character because it tends to have the stat boosted needed for that role.
Combat in the giant robot is even easier. There is no movement part of the turn. You click the basic attack button again and again until you either miss, choose to defend, or use a special attack. There is a accuracy percent of your next basic attack that you use to determine when to defend. Each consecutive attack raise your combo. The higher your combo the higher your defence will be when you do click defend or if you have a healing ability. If your health drops below 0 you start using the fans that you gained during the episode as a secondary health. When its the enemy’s turn to attack a bar appears at the bottom of the screen and you have to time your mouse click to maximize the guard.
The teamwork moves that I mentioned earlier are pretty neat. If you are far from an enemy but the director says that you need to attack this turn you can place another character in the path and click teamwork and ends up launching the character that’s moving into range and you’re still able to attack. You can also team up on an enemy by surrounding them with your team and double, triple, or quadruple team them for more damage and fans like that. If you use all five that’s the finisher, but be warned, if you use the finisher and it doesn’t kill the boss that results in negative fans. Having a squad member go down is also negative fans.
There is a crafting system and a shop. Enemies drop items used to craft new equipment and upgrade your cardboard robot. I usually found that the materials needed to craft some of the items just didn’t drop often enough. Even though to can craft material into high end material, not enough drops to really be of use anyway. The shop always has better equipment anyway. The only thing that you can’t upgrade with just money from the shop is the robot. You have to use materials that you earn, craft, or just buy a box of materials that have a chance of having the items you want.
I had a lot of fun playing Chroma Squad. I would highly recommend this to any fan of Power Rangers and Super Sentai. Chroma Squad is $14.99 on Steam. Check out the archive of my live stream below. Also check out our YouTube channel for more videos.
*Code Supplied by Publisher*