The Power Rangers are back and darker and grittier than ever; a new bunch of “teenagers”, with “attitude”, out to save the world and make a killing off the merchandise. But what if the real stars have had enough, what if the stunt crew want a shot at the lime light? Well then you’d get………………
Chroma Squad is a game about controlling a super sentai style fighting force battling the forces of evil to save the world. Well that’s not quite true because you’re actually running a studio manned by stunt actors from another super squad who have decided to go it alone. Well that’s not quite true because it seems all this evil monsters and beings from beyond the stars is real and your band of actors is all that stands between them and Earth. Well that’s not quite true because you first need to cast some people to play these ex stunt actors fighting evil and running their own t.v studio pretending to be superheroes to cover up the fact that they are superheroes and this is without getting into the e-mails your characters receive warning them that this is all a video game or baddies moaning about game designers putting the NPC’s so far away. Okay let’s start at the beginning.
You’ve got your usual five man band which you need to cast. You’ve got boys, girls, aliens, robots and furries to cast in each of the five roles. Each will have pros and cons, such as buffs, extra abilities or salary cost so there is usually a good choice for each job slot but don’t worry too much about who goes where, as you will see this isn’t some super strict, fastidious tactical rpg for the hardcore crowd. You can rename their character, change their colour and so on all before you begin. Once done you’re into the game proper. Here we find our heroes ditching their swanky outfits and flash sets for a run down warehouse, buckets on their heads and a giant, forgotten, text to speech movie prop known as Cerebro. From here you need to take your pick from script pitches and film this weeks episode.
This will be the main bulk of the game with a fairly standard grid like lay out for combat and wacky escapades. Going in you will have the Directors instructions which will offer bonus xp for things like surviving so many rounds, not letting a team mate fall or performing a certain number of team work specials. See that’s the main thing you have going in to these battles; your friends. Well that and your ability to “morph” into more powerful forms that fully restore your health, allow you access to special abilities, fancy weapons and all round better stats. But other than that your main strength is your team. Generally you can move and then either attack, move again or prepare for some well planned teamwork. This teamwork can either be used to throw a team mate across the battle field greatly expanding on their range or by joining in on any hit next to them. Once done then it’s time to whip out the mecha and go toe to toe with the monster in it’s “second life”.
Once the battle is over it’s time to head back to the studio to choose your level ups, buy new equipment; or make your own, put that growing fan power to good use or upgrade the studio to help you on the battlefield, with health care giving you a health boost and better lighting allowing you to hit easier and so on. You will carry on through each of the episodes until you’ve made up a full season and then carry on till you’ve done all of them trying to best sexist tropes, reverse mermaids and bad dubbing.
Okay so there’s more to the game than this and I won’t bog you down by trying to explain all of it nor try to explain the weird layered meta game it plays with reality. Instead I’ll just say that I loved the game and highly recommend it. Now that being said this as I said isn’t some hard, layered, epic tactical rpg and I’d say this is higher up the list for fans of the sentai genre rather than the tactical rpg genre. That’s not to say it’s bad just that it falls slightly short in regards to stuff like Disgaea. Also the Power Rangers influences are gonna shine through really strong, possibly to the annoyance of anyone who doesn’t look back on it strongly. The plot is the same, it’s gonna slap you down slightly for breaking the rules, such as using your finishing move before the end of the episode and so forth. Likewise some of the plots feel ripped from the nineties with your lead learning an important lesson about team work and friendship after getting too big for their boots.
A must for any Power Rangers fans and probably a decent waste of time for any tactical rpg fans. It’s fun, light and more than a little silly just probably go for one level up on whichever difficulty you typically go for and you’ll get more than you’re money’s worth out of it. Well bearing in mind that it’s about ten quid for about ten or so hours for a standard run through.