Recently, I decided to buy Knights of Pen & Paper +1. This is an RPG that pays homage to the tradition of playing Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinders. It’s a super charming game, and there is a sequel coming out soon. Sadly, the sequel is not being made by the original team at Behold Studios. So, what is this small team of developers working on? Well, they have been busy with the “Power Rangers”-inspired Chroma Squad for PC. This is a tactical RPG, that, like I said, is being made by Behold Studios, the team behind Knights of Pen & Paper +1. I got to meet the team during the SXSW event back in March in Austin, Texas, and was able to get a review code for the game. So, how does this Kickstarter success story pan out? Does it reach to the stars and hit a home run? Or should backers start feeling some buyer’s remorse?
The story revolves around a group of five stuntmen (and women depending on who you choose in your party), who work for a big time “Power Rangers”-style show. Unfortunately, the stuntmen get sick and tired of their boss being a crabby sally, and quit to start their own show. After one of the characters’ uncle lends them this huge abandoned warehouse, they start making their own show called Chroma Squad! Can they make the show a hit? Will the show’s villains turn out to be real? Well, you will have to play the game to find out! The story is very corny. It’s full of puns, references, and in-jokes. If you love silly style humor and references to “Power Rangers” and other shows, then you will love the humor. The characters are basically stereotypes and are not fully interesting, but it’s probably intentional that they are the kinds of characters you see on shows like, well, “Power Rangers.”
Chroma Squad is a tactical RPG where you get to create your own team of five radical dudes/ladies as you play on traditional grid-based battles. You will have five different classes, including the lead, assault, techie, scout, and so on. You can select the five different cast members that have their own stats, like stronger attacks or the ability to move further across the battlefield. Your main forms of attacks are punches and kicks. Your weapons that you can equip to your characters are more like your special attacks, and can cause massive damage. There are a few gimmicks to this tactical RPG that make it stand out. When you start off in battle, you are your normal/everyday-looking teens with attitude. However, once you fill up a bar on the bottom screen, you can transform into the Chroma Squad! You will get improved movement range and attack power. This is when you will be able to use your abilities. The main goal is to beat down some evil minions, and then beat down a “monster of the week” villain. Since this is paying homage to one of the biggest multi-media franchises of all time, you get to fight the villains as they become gigantic, and you get to be inside a giant robot! You will then get a list of commands for attacks, defending, and a bar with a specific point to click on to defend yourself from enemy attacks. There are also small side-goals within each battle that you should complete to get more viewers (your experience points), and money. Outside of the main combat, you have your upgrades, and a sort of business simulator element. Since you are a small indie studio making a show, you will need advertisers that will offer benefits to you, like more money and viewers. This way, you can upgrade your items and your studio to give you permanent upgradable perks. One of the more charming elements to this game is the crafting. It kind of reminds me of Earthbound, where the crafting materials are actual items like tape, buckets, clay, wood, cardboard, and etc. Overall, it took me 11 hours to play through the game once. There are multiple areas in the game where you can go off the beaten path and fight a different villain. It will definitely give you reasons to replay through the game to see the different monsters.
Graphically, Chroma Squad has good looking sprite work. Sure, it might not be as complex looking as the upcoming Aegis Defenders, but if you like the look of games like the upcoming Star Mazer, then you will like the sprite work in this game. It’s bright, colorful, and the graphical presentation has a lot of personality. It’s cute when you are fighting baddies, but you see camera men and guys holding mics on the sidelines. The music is one of the best elements in the game. Super-catchy and full of tunes to make you feel pumped up fighting guys in giant rubber outfits! The humor is also another highlight. I mean, it is for me. I can understand the hate for puns and references, but since I grew up on stuff like “Ultraman” and “Power Rangers,” I like the humor!
So, what are the negatives about Chroma Squad? I only have a few of them. I ran into a couple of different glitches that wouldn’t allow me to complete certain side-objectives and one major glitch that caused everyone on the grid to vanish. I also found that the little bar that you use to defend yourself when you are in the giant robot to lag sometimes, and it caused me to take damage. I also felt that near the end of the game, it started to slightly overstay its welcome. I like that it took 11 hours to beat and there is plenty of replay value, but I think if they cut out a few lines or sped up the process of when enemies appear on screen in a future patch, then the game will be a lot smoother to enjoy.
So, there is my review of Chroma Squad for the PC. I really liked this game. It is definitely one of my favorite games of the year, which happens to be another indie Kickstarter success story. It’s a charming tactical RPG that was fun to play. I highly recommend you check this game out. It has a few problems, but if you love tactical RPGs, and want another good Kickstarter game to add to your library for 2015, then you should definitely get the duct tape and your favorite colored-jumpsuit and get this game!
This game gets an 8 out of 10.