Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Chroma Squad [official site] was a wonderful surprise when I first played it. Maybe I was being narrowminded, but an RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics overlaid with Power Rangers satire only turned my head because I thought that it all sounded really dumb. But Chroma Squad is actually incredibly smart, and I wish more video games would brave the kind of meta-satire that Chroma Squad so effortlessly pulls off.
The idea that you’re a group of actors filming a knock-off version of Power Rangers who in turn end up becoming Power Rangers themselves is kind of genius in a way. But more importantly, it’s fun. Like, I’m talking Saturday morning cartoons fun. There really wasn’t a single hour of Chroma Squad where I felt disengaged by what was happening on the screen. Instead I was totally wrapped up in its goofy way of breaking the fourth wall while simultaneously riffing on “super sentai” shows as if they were even still relevant to begin with. The tactical grid-based combat is just icing on the karate-cake, but more importantly it ended up being a great vessel to deliver even more winks to Power Rangers, like coordinating martial arts manoeuvres or setting your heroes up for an epic coup de grâce.
I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t even know Chroma Squad exists, but now that you do you should probably spare some time for it. I never had any particular affinity for Power Rangers (mostly because my parents refused to let it in the house), but Chroma Squad is like that friend who makes you feel welcome anyway.