Chromatize me, Cap’n! First Impressions of Chroma Squad!

I’m going to preface this post with the following: I grew up with Power Rangers, and, as I grew into an adult, began to randomly pick up and watch other Tokusatsu shows (most recently, Gokaiger and Kamen Rider Wizard). Once I heard the premise of this game, I basically fangasmed and bought it the day it came out.

Time hasn’t been on my side, but I did get about three hours of tinkering with it, and finally snapped some screenshots to make a blog post! (Sorry for the quality; time restrictions and hardware complications kept the quality low!)

More discussion
Transformed and ready for action!

==The Pitch==

Your team of five stunt people get sick of dealing with a jerk of a director decide to run off to start their own studio and make their own show. Your goal is to manage the studio between episodes while making each episode as AWESOME as possible to acquire more fans.

If you are a fan of the classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, you will find connections to the classic series as well as jokes regarding the quality of the episodes. This comes about in the first few minutes, which gives a good idea of what you are getting into.

==The Gameplay==

There are two parts to the game: recording the episode and managing the studio. We’ll start with the latter part first.

Running the studio is a simple affair. After each episode, you gain money, which can be spent in a variety of ways. One of which is upgrading the studio itself to give you benefits, like upgraded cameras for more fans, or “Health Insurance” to raise the health of your characters.

Studio
The studio screen.

As you add more to the studio, it does change; the cameras on the left, for example, aren’t there when you start, nor are the doors with the red cross plaque on the right. Cerebro, the thing int he center, is always there for you, though!

In addition to tweaking your studio, you can shop for equipment for your characters (with a selection that changes every season). The items stay true with the gimmick of being made from cardboard and they “look better on VHS”, which is brilliant.

See the beds in the corner? It's like my CRT all over again! Ah, the good old days. . .
See the bends in the corner and sides? It’s like my CRT all over again!
Ah, the good old days. . .

You also get the ability to craft items. As you slay enemies, instead of dropping money, they have a chance to drop materials like cotton or duct tape, which will allow you to make new items for your cast. These items have random abilities, so they can be better or worse than what you get.

One of the other challenges is Marketing. This may sound extremely boring, so they took care of it for you: you choose a marketing group, and each group has their own flat bonuses and special unlocks, like increasing revenue or raising the number of fans.

Now if only dating were this easy. . .
Now if only dating were this easy. . .

Finally, you can tweak minor things like your studio name, your finishing move and the like here.

Now that the boring part is done, jump into the action!

Episode Synopsis
Episode Synopsis

After you hit the “REC” button on the corner, the magic begins. You get to choose an episode from a list, each giving criteria to help increase the number of fans. Some of these are pretty tough, like not letting anyone die or winning in four rounds, so they are best saved for later if you need fans.

Once you hit start, you’ll get some introductory information about the episode or about the characters themselves (like having dentist appointments), introduce the monster(s), and the battle begins.

Combat is taken care of like any other strategy RPG, in which your character can move, attack, or perform another action before the end of their turn. Actions range from “Teamwork” (which allows team attacks or help characters move further), normal attacks, a second move, or special attacks, normally based on the weapon the character has.

There’s also a button to transform into your battle forms, which is always a hoot.

Nope, haven't been watching Toku shows lately, not at all. . .
Nope, haven’t been watching Toku shows lately, not at all. . . Bad quality shot of transforming.

You need to transform to access your weapons and special moves, but it’s best to time it since it does reset the board a bit (and gives you all of your HP back!). In the above example, I had the guy entirely surrounded, but you see what happened here.

As you take actions in the fight, you can fans. Doing acrobatics via Teamwork nets more fans, but performing a finishing move and not killing the boss with it actually makes you LOSE fans. It’s an interesting dynamic to be sure!

Finally, at the end of the first season, you get access to your mecha, which unlocks a whole new way to fight.

DoomBot Awakens!
DoomBot Awakens!

When you pilot the mecha, combat changes a smidge. You have a number of abilities, but you can chain them together continually until you miss, with special moves that finish the chain but become more powerful depending on how large the chain is.

When the opponent attacks you, it becomes a Quick Time Event (QTE), allowing you to take less damage by hitting it at just the right time.

And that’s all there is to the game!

==The Story==

You start off as a group of five stunt people working on the set of a show. The characters disagree with the director about how things should be done, quit, and run off to prove they can do better.

After pooling money together and borrowing a warehouse from a character’s uncle (as well as Cerebro, which just so happened to be in the warehouse), you get started on your quest to make a better show with a strong fanbase.

Of course, the evil director from your previous show still lurks around and tries to make things that much worse for you.

==The Good==

I love how this game doesn’t take itself seriously. For example, in one episode, a final monster teleports in early, gets scolded, apologizes, then leaves. The monsters also make comments like “Nerf Please” when attacked by a group attack. One early episode even has the villain arguing about the costume that he wants to wear, whether the group likes it or not! Plenty of humor to be had!

This game also scratches that need of a tactical, turn-based game. Anyone who’s loved games like Shining Force, Project X Zone or Final Fantasy Tactics should be able to dig right into this, as it’s a simplified version of the above. It’s not quite an RPG (since you don’t have “levels” to worry about just upgrades), but it’s still fun.

If you are an old-guard gamer or Power Rangers fan, you’ll notice old-school sound effects that go along rather well with the retro-style graphics as well as get the jokes regarding the materials used for the equipment and the poor script writing.

==The Bad==

I haven’t run into any major issues. . .yet.

I can’t take screenshots when it’s in fullscreen for some reason, so I had to resort to windowed mode (probably one of the reasons why my screenshots here are so horrid).

There is a bit of a concern regarding repetition (some of the tasks the “Director” gives fall into that category), and I haven’t seen a problem with not fulfilling them.

Money seems to be really tight in Season 1, so I am hoping that changes in Season 2. I’m also guessing there are only 5 seasons, so if that’s the case, and at my current rate of play (even forgetting the game is up while doing other things), I’m looking at maybe 15 hours for a tactical game. That’s…a bit short, honestly. Not complaining too much, but unexpected, as even XCOM: Enemy Unknown took me a good 30 hours to beat.

==Current Verdict==

So far, the game has been entertaining for me, mostly because of nostalgia. It won’t be great for everyone (due to the theme), but if you do like the first generation of Power Rangers and need that itch scratched in game form, look no further. Otherwise, move along.

 

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