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First Impressions: Chroma Squad
I have been a fan of Behold Studios since I bought Knights of Pen and Paper for my iPhone. I also grew up watching Power Rangers so it made sense that I would be excited for Behold’s latest game Chroma Squad. I have been following the development of this game since its Kickstarter was launched last summer. I finally got a chance to play the demo version, and I like what I see so far. The core combat mechanics are solid and fun and the management aspects seem to be heading in the right direction. Check out our playthrough of the demo in the video below.
Chroma Squad combines the mechanics of a turn-based RPG with aspects of a management simulator under the concept of producing your very own Super Sentai show. Each battle takes place over an episode of the show. Like Power Rangers each battle is broken into three different section as you first have to fight the enemy grunts, then fight the boss and then fight the boss in your giant robot. In between episodes, you have to make management decisions that will influence the show’s direction. These tasks include managing the show’s finances, buying and upgrading your character’s equipment and hiring new actors.
The combat gameplay is based on turn-based RPGs like Disgea where you have to move your characters around the map and get them into attack range. After playing the demo levels I like how open the maps are and how many options you have to defeat the enemy. I also like how you don’t start off the battles morphed and instead, you begin each fight in street clothes. In order to morph you must build up enough audience interest through fighting the enemy grunts. There are also additional objectives in each battle that when completed will help to build up your show’s audience.
I really enjoyed how the battles take place on an open map as it allows for additional replayability and adds another layer of depth. It was cool to be able to decide how to fight as you can either fight as one group or you can split up your team and fight on different fronts.
Chroma Squad would not be a Super Sentai inspired game if there wasn’t a battle with a giant robot. In classic Power Rangers fashion, you get to pilot a megazord after you defeat the bad guy in person and the villain grows 50 stories tall. When you pilot your giant mech the combat mechanics switch up but the gameplay is still intense. The mech battles are similar to classic turn-based combat as you don’t move; however; Chroma Squad does have a unique twist to the concept. Basic attacks are supplemented by special attacks and skills. With the basic attack, you start off with a 90% chance of landing a hit and with each successful hit you chance of hitting decreases by 10%. Your turn is over by either missing a blow or by using a skill that ends it. The hit system is cool as the more hits you land, the stronger some of your skills get but also comes with the risk of missing and allowing your opponent to attack you. Also, you can block enemy attacks by pressing the mouse button at the right time in a similar fashion to Costume Quest.
One cool thing about Chroma Squad is the use of actors, as you hire actors to fill specific roles on the Super Sentai team. There are five members in the team, and each member has a specific role. The five roles are leader, scout, assist, techie and assault. The assist is the healer, the techie focuses on long range combat and has the largest pool of special points at their disposal. The scout focuses on moving the around the battlefield quickly and using stuns. The assault focuses on doing as much damage as possible. While the leader ability focuses on improving the performance of their teammates. Another thing that I like so far is that there is a pretty diverse number of characters you can choose from to fill these roles with the stereotypical people you see on shows like Power Rangers to some unique people like a dog named Mr. Beaver. After playing the demo, I liked how each character felt different and how each one had to be used differently in battle. Also each actor has their own unique skill levels and special abilities and also different salary levels.
I am really excited for the final release of Chroma Squad and can’t wait to see how the full game plays out.