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Chroma Squad is an independent game by Behold Studios, mixing elements of Turn-Based Strategy, Strategy RPG, and management simulation. It's a love-letter to the Japanese Tokusatsu genre, particularly the Super Sentai series— more familiar to westerners by its American adaption, Power Rangers.

You take the role of a new, up-and-coming indie studio, managing a Sentai show. Your goal is to create a show exciting enough to draw in fans. After creating your own custom squad of five heroes in colorful costumes, it's time to begin filming. By staging battles against mooks and monsters (the Turn-Based Strategy segments), your audience will grow, and with it, your revenue. Then, by using the money gained from successful episodes, you can further enhance your show's appeal, buying new costumes, materials, special effects, advertising contracts, and more. Exciting battles, cool special effects, and good costumes will bring in more viewers. But if you slip up and produce a bad episode, expect to lose fans. If the ratings fall too low, your show will be canceled.

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The game was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Its release date was listed as Summer 2014, but the game was subject to several delays and it didn't make the launch window. It was finally released on PC, Mac, and Linux on April 30th 2015, but backers of the campaign could play it a little bit earlier, on April 28th. The official website is here.


Tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of Japanese Tokusatsu.
  • All Your Colors Combined: The finishing move when all characters use Teamwork to attack a single enemy.
  • Anime Theme Song: Power of Love, Chroma Squad!
  • Anime Hair: Gaga has this. It's a wig
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game will let you know when a boss's health is low enough to be finished by a finishing move, which is useful since many boss objectives involve finishing them off in such a way.
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  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Catnigiri calls Assault out on this in his solo chapter. A talking cat fighting by his side shouldn't be surprising when he's just teleported onto an alien spaceship.
  • Arm Cannon: One of the arms you can craft for your mecha is an arm cannon.
  • Astral Finale
  • Badass Bystander: While the Squad is joined by various Toku expies, they are more often joined by random passersby. This holds true even after the threats become real, and one such helper is even a member of the team who preceded the Chroma Squad.
  • Big Bad: Played with. While Lord Gaga is the direct responsible for all the conflicts from Season 3 onwards, (as well as being Tammy's Arch-Enemy) in the end he turns out to be an underling of Villain X, the REAL Big Bad.
  • Book-Ends: One of the first craftable armor items is a Bucket Helmet. One of the last craftable armor items is The Helmet of Infinite Imagination....A bucket Helmet.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: There are actually TWO "fourth walls", that the characters aren't afraid to break at all.
    • The first is the SHOW's fourth wall, with characters openly talking about the lines, the narrator, script, etc during the fights.
    • And the second is the game's fourth wall. Everyone talks about gameplay elements, like how "this boss is too overpowered", "maybe next turn =)" and "nerf this damage!". Sometimes even joking about the localization.
    • You get an email from a fansite telling you to visit their website. The email then says you should check it out outside the game as well, as it is a real site.
  • Brain in a Jar: Cerebro, the central computer and wise mentor of the squad.
  • But Thou Must!: During season 2, you receive an e-mail from someone named Gaga who offers to install a device that will help boost audience numbers for your studio. You cannot refuse this offer.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: You can choose your own transformation catchphrase.
  • Cerebus Syndrome:
    • Starting in season 3 and onwards, the game starts to shift from a light-hearted story about making a Tv show to actually save the planet from a coming monster invasion
    • Season 5 of the Night Driver route has a particularly noticeable shift in tone, with the Squad kidnapped except for the Assault, Tammy's father dying and the Assault having to fight on alone against Lord Gaga's monsters.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One of the first e-mails you receive in a playthrough mentions a cat that hangs around at the studio. The cat actually fought against Lord Gaga before, and assists the Assault in the Night Driver route.
  • Chest Blaster: One of the craftable torsos for your mecha has a laser cannon as a special attack.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Once Lord Gaga's treachery is revealed in the series 3 finale, he takes the Squad out in a single attack before sending some minions to finish them off. The Lead stands up and, through sheer force of will, manages to transform for real.
  • Combination Attack: Characters can use Teamwork to strike a pose, which allows them to team up with an ally for extra damage, or increase the movement range of an ally by tossing them. If the entire squad does a combination attack, you get a Finishing Move.
  • Conversational Troping: While the game's dialogue has its fair share of Lampshade Hanging and Discussed Trope, it also veers into discussing tropes that don't actually occur in the game.
  • Die for Our Ship: In-universe, one fanmail will be from an obsessive fan who's sure that two characters from the show are in love. Go against what she thinks in your reply, and she'll chew you out, even though YOU are the one making the canon of the show.
  • Difficulty Spike: Season 4 is harder than previous seasons. Every mission contains a boss, and generally force you to juggle the boss while completing side objectives and killing enough minions to get your viewer count up. It isn't brutal exactly, but players who had been able to generally max their viewer count in all missions previously may find that to be harder to achieve.
  • Do Not Taunt Colin's Bear: ...not unless you want him to go from Zero-Effort Boss to One-Winged Angel.
  • Dumb Muscle: Lord Gaga's monsters taunt Assault by calling them this in the Night Driver route, as without the rest of the Squad the Assault isn't really able to do much but beat up monsters.
  • Engrish: The narrator software is a bit buggy, as a homage to similar...translation issues.
  • Evolving Music: At first the music starts off sounding 8-bit, however it turns to much more instrumental 16-bit later in the game to match with the production values going up.
  • Ending Theme: Be Brave
  • Five-Man Band: Being based on sentai shows, the five character classes appear to correspond to a slot on the typical Five Man Band.
    • The Leader: The Lead. The leader of the team who inspires the others to victory.
    • The Lancer: The Scout. The agile Fragile Speedster.
    • The Big Guy: The Assault. The main damage dealer. Is more of a second Lancer as Night Driver, trading a conventional weapon attack for increased mobility and more skills, as well as becoming a largely solo hero for a chapter.
    • The Smart Guy: The Techie. A skilled long-ranged combatant that uses items intelligently.
    • The Chick: The Assist. The healer and heart of the team.
  • Flunky Boss: Most bosses are surrounded by minions. The rematch with the plant boss at the end of Act 3 is the first boss to fight you alone (to compensate, he summons pods that explode one turn after being summoned).
  • Foreshadowing: One episode involves someone breaking onto the set and nailing their "lines" perfectly, followed by an address-less e-mail sent telling the team they are in danger. This is the player's first glimpse at the larger plot behind the scenes of the actual sentai TV show.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: One of the fan mail letters you receive is from a Japanese fansubber whose letter is in English, peppered with random Japanese words.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: But of course. There's standard Sixth Ranger characters, as well as non-ranger allies like ones that have shown up in Sentai/PR on occasion. There's also Metal Heroes and a Rider who appears in some episodes. The game even lets you know beforehand if an episode will feature a guest.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In mecha battles, if you accrued a high enough audience score, your health gauge will refill itself if it hits zero, giving you a second chance to win. This is how the Hopeless Final Boss Fight is won: with the power of fans from across the world, not only does your mecha's HP continuously refill, but your hit rate will permanently exceed %1000.
  • Home Base: In the "real" world, it's your studio. In the show, it's Cerebro's chambers.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Subverted in the original release and averted in the Diractor's Cut when it comes to the final battle. Villain X's kaiju form has an immense amount of HP but when it looks like it'll be game over for you, your fans' support revives you with infinite HP and accuracy. The gameplay changes introduced by the Diractor's Cut, however, make it possible to actually kill Villain X fair and square.
  • Humongous Mecha: This is a Sentai show, of course.
  • It's All About Me: In the third season, your team's Leader becomes a self-centered Jerk Ass. This is due to influence from Lord Gaga's Audience Booster.
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: The power of imagination becomes a major plot point, as it's why your props and SFX allow you to actually fight aliens, and you can summon your mech even though it's only made of cardboard.
  • Killed Off for Real: Subverted with Tammy if you fail to save her - while you'll miss out on the chance to recruit her as a proper ranger, The Stinger in the Night Driver route shows that she survived.
  • Level Editor: While it wasn't reached initially in the original kickstarter, one was added in 2018.
  • Missing Main Character: As part of the Rider path. Everyone but the Assault is captured by Gaga, leading to the Assault inheriting the Night Rider's motorcycle and belt, becoming the next Rider.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The explanation used is that the monsters have a "second life" and grow to giant size after being killed, much like Shinkenger/Power Rangers Samurai.
  • Mundane Fantastic: The show you're making is a work of fiction. The battles are staged, teleportation is done with special effects, and the monsters are simply performers in suits... but your actors can include a sapient robot, a talking beaver, and a space alien. But then, by the end of season 3, real monsters start appearing..
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: One of the characters is unsubtly named Gaga. Just take a look at the actors list and how they look, if that's not enough, the default is exactly the same.
  • No Stunt Double: In-Universe, the Squad don't use stunt doubles, since they were stunt doubles before starting their own show and have the martial art training to pull it off.
  • The Power of Friendship and Love: These are brought up many times throughout the series. They become particularly important later in the game, when the exploits of your sentai team turn out to be Real After All.
  • Pungeon Master: Most of the monsters, as well as the Assault.
  • Real After All: Starting from the end of season 3, real monsters start appearing. Though, the narration after the game is completed questions if that was still all part of the show.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: It doesn't matter if your actors are men or women, that makes no difference to the game. In fact, you can even play with a beaver, a robot or an alien and the game doesn't change.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In-Universe. One of the actors has to get to a dentist appointment. So they crew realizes that his/her absence would make for a good kidnapping story.
  • Rooting for the Empire : In-universe. Whenever you finish an episode, you might get the reaction of a fan who constantly complains that the villains never win.
  • Running Gag: The team's Scout is ALWAYS the last to teleport in or out, and often with a second delay.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Before being renamed "Dr. Soap", an e-mail demanding royalties or a court battle comes from Dr. Mi Ah, from his e-mail address nab@s.com, a clear reference to Haim Saban of Saban Brands.
  • Shipping: In-universe, one of the mails you get is from a shipper sending you 32gb of fanfics and asking if Lead/Assist or Assault/Assist is canon. It doesn't matter if those actors have the same sex or aren't even human.
  • Shout-Out: Has it's own page.
  • Simulation Game: You manage the studio, including the purchasing, construction, and improvement of props and costumes. This also includes hiring marketing staff, buying health insurance, and deciding where to focus your advertisement efforts. The newest update even has you write your own episodes!
  • Sixth Ranger: Tammy, the Citrine/Moonstone ranger. Alternately, if you choose not to let her join or fail to rescue her, you can have a Mithril Hero or Rider fill this slot instead.
  • Start My Own: The game begins when a group of unappreciated stunt doubles decide to start their own show.
  • The Stinger: Multiple:
    • If players read through the reams of lines from the narrator after beating the game, they are treated to a special scene where Brain (Cerebro, before being reduced to a Brain in a Jar) sends your predecessors to the final battle with Lord Gaga. Gaga appears in Brain's chamber to destroy him, but not before fighting a sushi cat.
    • If one goes on the Night Driver route, Techie is shown reminiscing on Chroma Squad's impact on the world and how heroism isn't really as they hoped it was, but will keep going to keep the Earth safe. Tammy comes by and invites Techie out for coffee.
  • Story Branching: There are two branches in the storyline.
    • During Season 1, you receive an email from Dr. Soap threatening litigation. The story branches in the next season depending on whether you pay royalties, offer to bring Dr. Soap on as director, or opt to settle the matter in court.
    • In the fourth season finale, there are three ways the story can branch depending on your actions in the final battle. In one branch, you save a brainwashed Tammy and let her on as the Sixth Ranger. In the second, Tammy dies during the final battle, and your Sentai team is joined by a Kamen Rider expy. In the third, Tammy is saved but not brought onto the team, and your Sentai team is joined by a Metal Heroes expy.
  • Strategy RPG: Straddles the line between this and Turn-Based Strategy. While you don't gain experience points or level up, your units do have stats which can be improved by buying them equipment.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: During the Finishing Move, and Teamwork ability.
  • Take That!: Dr. Soap was originally named "Mr. Mi Ah" and is a caricature of Haim Saban of Saban Brands (with whom the developers had some legal issues): an overbearing blowhard who is unpleasant to work with.
  • Title Drop: The title refers to the default name for the Sentai team.
  • Tempting Fate: On a meta-level, the developers. Even after getting into an agreement with Saban over the game, the developers decided to hew so close to existing Sentai properties (even going so far as to cite certain ones) that after it's release, the game wasn't allowed to be distributed in certain regions. Allegedly it's because Toei became involved.
  • Three-Laws Compliant: The actor Asmibot is compliant with only two of the laws, though the game doesn't elaborate on which one he disregards.
  • Throw It In!: In-Universe. One Sixth Ranger is just a guy who walked on set and was able to play his part perfectly.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Leader of the squad becomes something of a self important jerk during the third season due to all the fame going to their head. Really though, they are being mind controlled by Lord Gaga.
  • Wham Episode
    • Season 3 finale: The enemies the team has been fighting during this season were real and Lord Gaga had mind controlled the Team Leader to help him open the portals for his army. Cerebro is also revealed to not be a prop and has chosen the Chroma Squad to be the new defenders of earth
    • Season 4 Finale: Lord Gaga attacks Cerebro's room with a mind-controlled Tammy but the Chroma Squad manage to push him away before being defeated by one of Lord Gaga's monsters. It is revealed sentai/Power Rangers team were real, but Lord Gaga managed to make everyone forget it
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: You receive several e-mails from an unknown sender during the course of the game warning you of imminent danger, but it's never revealed who sent them or set up a pirate antenna to try and interfere with the Audience Booster Lord Gaga set up in your studio.
  • Weapon of Choice: Each unit has a type of weapon they, alone, can use: spears for the Lead, axes for the Assault, rifles for the Techie, daggers for Scouts, and bows for the Support.
  • You Have Failed Me: Right before the final fight, Villain X slays Lord Gaga for (unintentionally) guiding the heroes to his space battleship/homebase.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Actress Mao Shinmei has green hair. Sixth Ranger Tammy has pale blue hair.
  • You Lose at Zero Fans: You need fans for your Sentai show to be a success. Failure to bring in a certain number of fans by the end of the season means contract cancellation.
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