Chroma Squad is everything I wanted from a Power Rangers/Sentai game. Blending fantastic strategy RPG and business simulator gameplay with an incomparably meta sense of humor, Chroma Squad overcomes its overlong stages with mighty morphin’ colors.
Developer: Behold Studios, Bandai Namco
Platforms:PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 copy for review.
After the disappointing Power Rangers Mega Battle was released earlier this year, I began to worry that no game would ever truly capture the Sentai spirit that made shows like Power Rangers so special. The over-the-top silliness and ridiculous focus on friendship and teamwork has a certain endearing quality to it, one that seemed difficult to adapt into a game. When I started Chroma Squad however, I was amazed at how wrong I was. Perfectly adapting the Sentai spirit while paying homage to the legacy of such franchises, Chroma Squad is the game tokusatsu fans truly deserve.
The story of Chroma Squad is as charming as it is silly. You choose from a bunch of tokusatsu actors, ranging from the standard cool guy leader to an actual beaver, as they leave their old production company to pursue their dreams of making their own Sentai show. As you film episodes and manage your fledgling company, you’re given the responsibility of managing your finances so that you can afford better equipment and sets. This sounds monotonous, but it’s actually a rather in-depth and entertaining system that fleshes out the parts of Chroma Squad that take place outside of battles. The management system will be old hat to anyone who’s played a Tycoon or Dev Simulator game, as it’s a matter of dividing up your episodic revenue to make it grow further as time goes on. If anything, it’s a way to improve your stats and audience numbers in the background while you battle traffic-light monsters and obese aliens.
The combat of Chroma Squad is far deeper than I imagined going into the game. As with many strategy games, you move your units around the level each turn, pursuing enemies and setting up tactical plays. Each mission has its own objective such as killing a certain enemy or surviving for a set amount of turns. Doing these missions correctly while fulfilling extra conditions nets you more “fans”, which leads to more money, and better units. It’s amazing to see how much detail there is in Chroma Squad‘s different mechanics, as you find yourself focusing on battle and fiscal gain at the same time, a feat few games could make interesting.
The actual tactics in Chroma Squad are orchestrated in a unique way, as there’s no obvious grid or blocks to move on. Rather, your characters move in steps segmented to more rounded panels, which makes the movement feel more free. There are also plenty of minor features that influence combat to make it more active than in most tactics-based games. Hitting enemies can make them fly backwards in the direction you hit them, meaning you can alter enemy position to further your strategies. These minor additions make combat in Chroma Squad feel dynamic, in a way few turn-based games are.
While you start most battles outside of your Sentai suit, you can choose to morph into your Ranger form at any time in the battle. This restores your health and gathers your units in one area, making in a tactical choice in and of itself. There are also “Teamwork” moves that highlight the tokusatsu spirit on display in Chroma Squad, as these moves let your teammates flip over one another, and perform combo attacks and unique finishing moves. They’re as flashy and corny as the shows they’re inspired by, in ways that make Chroma Squad fun and challenging to play.
Visually, Chroma Squad is a work of sprite-based art. Every character is designed in a way that is both visually appealing, and easy to point out on the screen. The Rangers look like the perfect mix of cheaply-made and cool, which nails the low-budget tone old tokusatsu shows had. The settings and enemies are great as well, with plenty of designs that feel as though they could have come straight from the original Mighty Morphin’ season of Power Rangers. Practically every aspect of Chroma Rangers pays homage to the Sentai shows that inspired it, so it’s only logical that the visuals would follow suit.
Chroma Squad‘s music and sound effects are fitting, though the music is typically hit or miss. Some tracks prove to be truly memorable and full of fanfare, while others are short enough to become tiresome rather quickly. The sound effects are great though, with plenty of explosive action sounds and zany comedic sounds. They tie together the gameplay well, adding yet another layer to the painstakingly designed silliness of Chroma Squad.
The Final Word
Chroma Squad is the Power Rangers game the world has deserved for so long. The strong and dynamic tactical gameplay perfectly blends with top-notch writing that balances meta humour and a genuine compassion for tokusatsu is the game’s strongest feature, cementing it as a title that all Sentai fans should have on their digital shelf.
-MonsterVine Rating: 4.5 out of 5 – Great