At the end of the year, various outlets talk about the best games to come out in that particular year. Xbox Enthusiast plans on making GOTY lists as well, but the staff also decided to take a look at some underrated games or “hidden gems” that Xbox One owners may have overlooked. Over the next few days, be on the lookout as we will be highlighting a handful of excellent, but not necessarily well known titles.
There are few games that come along in a year and totally knock my socks off. In 2017 that game was Chroma Squad. Not to spend too much time on my personal history, but I grew up a huge nerd and one of my deep loves growing up was Power Rangers. Even as an Adult I still follow the series, just not as intensely as I once did. There were a handful of Power Rangers video games, most of them of the “Beat’em Up” variety, but even as a kid I never felt the lived up to the vibe and structure of the show. Chroma Squad turns the formula into a turn based strategy game and totally nails the tone.
If you are unfamiliar, Power Rangers is an American TV Series for kids where teenagers morph into color clad superheroes to fight monsters with their awesome teamwork and ninja skills. Eventually, the monsters grow to Godzilla size and the Rangers pilot mechs which form their famous Megazord in which to battle the giant enemies. This series is actually based on a long-running Japanese series called, “Super Sentai”. Chroma Squad is a love letter to this series and the history that dates back now over 40 years.
The game opens with 5 stunt men and women for a popular Power Ranger-esque show deciding to start their own studio. The player acts as the unseen overseer. You hire, and name, the cast. In my case, each one was named after some of my favorite Power Rangers like Andros, Wes, Kimberly, and Tommy. The team starts with lower grade, crappy costumes and weapons and a very budget set. Each battle is played out like an episode of a TV show where the show picks up views and earns better ratings. More views and better ratings brings in more money to upgrade your team and studio.
The gameplay is a tile-based, turn by turn, tactical strategy game. Think Fire Emblem or Tactics Ogre and you will be on the right track. The players start, like the real show, in civilian clothes. At any time during the battle, you can “morph” or change into your super form. This can be a tactical advantage because when you morph your health is replenished, so fighting some as a civilian can be key to winning the battle. Once in your powered up form, you have access to your power weapons which can help with area damage or debuffs. Defeat the foot soldiers and then the boss monster and the episode wraps. You do eventually unlock Megazord or Mechs that can be used for giant battles. The gameplay is easy to pick up but has a lot of strategy that can turn the tide in any episode.
The fighting is only one half of what makes Chroma Squad so much fun. The other is the management aspect. You can fire and hire new actors at any time. This can affect team chemistry and stats. You can upgrade your studio like buying new lights or cameras to actually expanding the studio space and adding a green screen, buy new suits and weapons so that your team can become stronger and, let’s be honest, look cooler, gather resources like tape and cardboard so you can upgrade your Mech’s parts, and even add marketing to bring in new views to watch the show. I spend just as much time trying to match the suits and weapons and market to the right audience as I do ninja kicking monsters.
In a year as amazing as 2017 has been, it’s easy to have missed a game or two along the way. Turn-based strategy games are one of my favorite genres, so I’m always looking for new games. This is a genre that is not served very well on Xbox One so to have Chroma Squad come out was exciting. The game being theme it around one of my favorite TV brands was just icing on the cake. Chroma Squad made my Top 5 Games of 2017 list and I would highly recommend it for any strategy game fan.
Is there a game in 2017 that you loved but no one is talking about? Let us know about it in the comments.
Chris is a full time geek, father of 4, and self proclaimed Jedi Master. An IT Professional by day and Freelance Writer by night just doing his part in raising the next generation of Geeks.