Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I couldn’t help but feel like there were a lot of martial-arts based television shows that were inspired by Japan. One of the most popular had to be Saban’s Power Rangers, which took much of its footage from the Japanese live-action show, Super Sentai. Chroma Squad is a strategy RPG that pays homage to the Power Rangers series by allowing players to manage their own team of superheroes as they complete multiple seasons of their hit television show. But it turns out, a simple TV show slowly becomes something more as actual aliens begin to invade earth. Lucky for us, Chroma Squad is a refreshing strategy RPG mixed with a studio simulator to create a unique RPG experience that makes saving the world fun.
Chroma Squad’s tutorial tells the story of five stuntmen who are tirelessly overworked and underappreciated by their director and studio, so they take off to form their own studio to create a new television series. Players can choose from a host of pre-determined characters, including some inspired by pop culture figures like Bruce Lee, Scarlett Johansson and Michonne from The Walking Dead, plus a few Kickstarter backers. The selection was pretty varied and I was able to easily find my ideal squad in no time.
Once I selected my squad, I was given access to an old warehouse that would serve as a makeshift studio at first, and through completing each season, I was given access to additional gear to help improve my shows. Purchasing Health Care for my actors would boost their HP, lamps would decrease the odds of enemies dodging and countering my squad’s attacks, and buying a decent green screen would help boost my Global Audience gain.
Just like in real life, the Chroma Squad can’t succeed unless they have an audience to watch its shows. The audience plays a very important role as nearly all of the action taking place during battle results in a gain in the episode’s overall audience meter. Things like defeating enemies and performing team-up attacks helped improve the meter. The Director’s Instructions is also a surefire way to gain a boost in audience with objectives changing every episode. At the end of each episode, the audience meter will be tallied and converted into cash and fans. Cash is used to purchase new gear, materials, upgrades to your studio, while Fans are required in order to gain marketing power. As I played, I felt like I needed to do as much as possible to get the audience meter up, and I often succeeded. Once it was filled, it was pretty much smooth sailing to the end of each episode, as long as none of my squad members were downed.
I’m aware this may all seem confusing, but Chroma Squad eased me into its intricate mechanics easy enough that I didn’t feel overwhelmed with how much I had to do to prepare for each episode. I could have just started an episode once I was done with my last one, but making sure my squad and mech had the best gear, improving my studio, and selecting my marketing projects helped me achieve success easily. I also became quite fond of the random emails my studio would receive from random fans, supposed celebrities, and vengeful ex-directors who would threaten me with legal action for stealing my previous employer’s ideas.
Super Sentai Saikou!
Chroma Squad has a number of RPG elements to it as you’ll be in charge of improving the stats of your team through gear-based upgrades, which will in turn, improve their performance on set. Combat takes place on an isometric grid across a variety of locations with each character able to move a certain amount of spaces based on their stats. My team was able to fight enemies using melee attacks, weapon-based attacks, and special moves that required a cooldown period after each use. Characters can also be equipped with passive abilities, such as a permanent boost to health. While some squad members were able to deal out a nice amount of damage, I found others to be best used as support through healing, stunning enemies, or slowing their movements.
When my final season of Chroma Squad came to an end, I found myself completely enamoured with all of the work Behold Studios put into it. From the constant breaking of the fourth wall, to the bosses that felt like they’d actually be included in an episode of Power Rangers, like a boxing cardboard box or a Teletubbie-like character called TV Teddy. Chromas Squad scratches both my nostalgia and strategy RPG itch in places that have long been left unscratched, and it’s a game I hope Behold Studios has plans to make more of.
This review is based on a PC download code provided by the Behold Studios. Chroma Squad is available on Steam for $14.99. The game is rated E10+.
- 16-bit video game art style
- Unique story with unexpected twists
- Power Rangers feel
- Strategy RPG combat
- Lack of variety in minions
- Confusion between what's real and show
Daniel Perez posted a new article, Chroma Squad Review: It's Morphin' Time