Some game premises are simply built for success. Chroma Squad is a strategy RPG that is clearly inspired by Mighty Morphin Power Rangers so let's see if this combination adds up to a morphin' good time.
Chroma Squad tells the story of five stuntmen who quit their job working on a show that's similar to Power Rangers in order to form their own studio and make a show by themselves. It's such a fun premise for a story and it will keep a smile on your face as you slowly gain fans and turn your independent show into a pop culture phenomenon. Thankfully, the sense of humour and goofy miniature pixel-perfect characters add a layer of enjoyment to the journey. The only negative thing I can say about the presentation is that many of the environments are very plain and include large uninteresting sections that make them feel empty. That being said, the audio is fantastic as it features a bouncy toe-tapping soundtrack and satisfying yet subdued sound effects that fit the onscreen action perfectly.
If you've played a turn-based strategy game before then you'll know the basics of Chroma Squad's battles right off the bat. You basically control each of your teammates during your turn in order to cause as much damage as possible to your foes while ensuring they can't do devastating damage when it's their turn. However, there are many complexities that are truly innovative and will get you thinking up strategies in clever new ways. The coolest system is the teamwork dynamic. By entering this teamwork mode, a character can provide boosts to their buddies by allowing them to travel a bit further. Also, you can heal each other and team up to perform powerful attacks with multiple members. The ultimate move is accomplished by having four units surround an enemy in team mode then get a fifth to attack which unleashes a Chroma Fusion finishing move. It's so satisfying. Oh, and there's a secondary Kaiju / Mecha combat mode that involves timing button presses. It all comes together to make one enjoyable and entertaining battle system.
Between battles, you can manage your party as well as your studio. For starters, you can craft and purchase weapons and armour pieces for each squad member as well as your mech. Next, there's a whole simulation aspect as you manage contracts, reply to emails, and upgrade your studio. Doing so impacts your performance in battle a great deal by providing stat boosts and the like. As you gain fans and earn bigger paycheques, you're more capable of utilizing a larger selection of resources thus opening up additional options for character growth. It's such a satisfying system that'll keep you hooked just so you can see what kind of cool things will unlock next.
There isn't much to discuss when it comes to Chroma Squad's downsides but here I go. Considering the campaign is based on being a simulation of growing your show, you'll find that you're pushed along with only the ability to select which episode to film next. In other words, there are no additional modes to take on besides simply playing through the campaign. As a result, the replay value relies primarily on playing the campaign from start to finish over and over again. Thankfully, there are multiple endings but you may not find that obtaining them will be worth the effort. Along the same lines, the battles themselves sure don't feature much variety. You do get little missions to accomplish from the director but they don't change the fact that you're basically just fighting off hordes of enemies again and again. In the end, I wish there were more intricacies and innovative primary objectives.
Chroma Squad is not only a worthy tribute to Power Rangers; it's also one of the best indie SRPGs ever created. The enjoyable mix of strategy and simulation elements is addictive enough to make it a go-to title whenever you want some lighthearted RPG fun.
- + Enjoyable SRPG gameplay with many innovative strategic aspects
- + Super-rewarding character growth
- + Great premise and fun story
- - The only replay value involves playing the campaign all over again
- - Battles could use more variety
- - Environments are rather plain