Chroma Squad is a neat little strategy RPG where you move your characters on a grid to fight enemies, like Fire Emblem, Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics. Inspired strongly by the Power Rangers, it follows a team of actors as they progress doing their own show, growing their studio and equipment from nothing to having a ton of fans, great gear and even a giant robot they can fight with. I enjoyed the core gameplay of the game although I feel that there is too much stuff on the edges that ultimately prevented me from having a great time.

The core gameplay of Chroma Squad is pretty simple stuff; You have a team of characters that have two actions per turn, one of which has to be a movement action. You move them a certain number of squares, and then you can use special skills and items to gain extra actions, or you can attack normally. Skills have cooldowns - and it's really unclear how much they're shortened when you have cooldown reduction items and passive abilities - and can do various things like move enemies or deal damage. You use these powers to defeat enemies and follow various directions (like side-quests) to increase... something. These sidequests are kind of difficult to get right, and you can't reset fights if you fail at them, and I'm not even sure what they increase if you manage to complete them, but I really worked on completing them, and it added a neat layer on the game.

Between battles, you answer emails, upgrade your studio, characters, marketing and gear. You do that by spending money you get from missions (based on the number of fans you have) and materials (gained from defeated enemies). There is just too much to do here and I'm sure they could have gotten rid of at least one system - the crafting one, perhaps - and the game would've feel more streamlined. As it is, you have a list of studio upgrades that improve your party, marketing firms that you choose and give bonuses to your team based on 'fan power' that you gain and spend, gear that can be bought and crafted, also deconstructed - with minuscule odds of gleaming you back the material - skill trees on every character and a robot you can upgrade. I kind of wish there was no gear to equip (there are way too many stats to care about, and it's hard to see what they actually do) and that your characters would only level with experience and get stronger that way.

The game still has a lot of Power Rangers flair. Your characters can do team actions, like allowing others to jump on them and do combo attacks (you get the strongest combos if all your team is working together to do it) and there are giant robot fights against bigger enemies. The robot fights are pretty cool, although they feel a bit out of place. They're mostly timing-based and involve combos. Everything is seeped in an atmosphere of crafty DIY studio trying to make their show, and it's a nice atmosphere for the game.

I liked Chroma Squad, but there were a few flaws here and there that turned me away from it. There seemed to be too much stuff to do between the actual fights, and the fights themselves were too long and involved side-quests with intangible rewards that felt frustrating when I couldn't complete them (and couldn't reset, I just could abandon the mission). It's clearly a love letter to Power Rangers-like shows and strategy games. Try it if that seems like your cup of tea.

AuthorJérémie Tessier