I didn’t know a whole lot about 8-Colors Star Guardians + before I went in. I had seen the beautiful art-work that utilised the titular 8 colours, but other than that it just seemed like it was going to be a straightforward turn-based RPG. As someone who isn’t exactly a huge fan of either, I kinda forgot about it soon after seeing the e-shop listing.

But then I stumbled across a preview of the game, and everything changed. This wasn’t really an RPG at all, despite its appearances. In fact, it actually draws more from the Mega Man games with their acquirable upgrades and theoretical boss orders.

And if there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s a Mega Man inspired game.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.

Despite the similarities to Capcom’s classic, especially the initial boss selection screen that places each of the eight selectable villains in  a circular formation, our five anime heroines – Rhea, V’iri, Juni, Bree, and Dua – are actually more like cosmic Power Rangers. Garbed in multicoloured suits, With each girl garbed in a different coloured body with white extremities, they use their own unique powers to take down the monstrous beasts before it’s too late. With all eight attacking at once, however, only three will be able to take down a boss at a time since the others will be needed to help hold back the rest. 


Much like the wonderful aesthetic, which harkens back to the glaringly bright colour scheme of the ZX Spectrum, the story also opts for a rather simple foundation that is effective in its execution. There’s very little in the way of exposition and you start off knowing almost nothing about the five leads; however, between each fight you will be drip fed details through brief conversations that help you build up the background for both the characters and the creatures that are attacking. You’ll even learn more about being defeated, as the tips given to you after a loss also feed into the overall lore as well. It’s an approach that may not appeal to everyone, but by the end of the second chapter you should have a pretty good understanding of everything going on and why.

Speaking of the chapters, there are two in the game and the first is more of a taster of what’s yet to come. This initial storyline started as a Game Jam, which explains its overall simplicity in comparison, and is also far more restricted as a result. This is where you need to choose the characters carefully and work out the ideal order of attack. Given the very small movesets the characters start out with, there’s certainly an ideal approach to each one and many can only be defeated a certain way; for example, the Shark-like Bramba is weak to electric, which the (obviously yellow) suited character, Juni, specializes in. However, some of the others may require a move that has to be unlocked first and may even be unwinnable otherwise. It feels more like a puzzle than a strategy game at time, but the aforementioned hint system at least gives you a fair shot at winning the next time.


Once the credits roll, after a mere hour or so of playtime, you’ll unlock the second chapter – a continuation of the story and where the true meat lies. This time, things play out differently as you are able to fight with all of the characters at once using all the moves you unlocked in the first chapter. At this point, you should be familiar with the characters and boss fights, so the game cranks the difficulty up a notch by making things substantially more difficult. This time fights are sequential, but the remixed nature of most of the fights makes each one a pleasant surprise. Will the next fight be a mutated version of an old foe, will it have multiple together, or will it be someone else entirely? Either way, fights feel very different and you’ll need to use your previously acquired knowledge to try and overcome them. There’s a lot more freedom his time due to the expanded roster and movesets, but there’s still some of that previous puzzle element too as you try and exploit their weaknesses.

It’s a thrilling shift in format to the first chapter and really helps to keep the game feeling fresh. Whilst this second chapter also isn’t incredibly long, it also offers far more things for you to do: from extended story elements, secret bosses, and unlockable costumes, this second chapter is worth the price of admission on its own. There is an arcade mode too where you can tweak some of the game’s elements and opt for a different kind of challenge, although this will likely appeal most to the people still eager for more after rolling the second batch of credits.

8-Colors Star Guardians + is quite unlike any other game I’ve played before. It’s a huge mixing pot filled with Mega Man, Power Rangers, and perhaps something like Final Fantasy brewed up and poured into a ZX Spectrum style tape. It’s hard to say that it will appeal to everyone, but there’s so much charm here for such a cheap price that I’d still recommend giving it a punt regardless. You may just end up falling in love with it, like I did!