8 Colors Star Guardians (Switch) Review

Instead of releasing new, retro score-based arcade games like Donut Dodo and Murtop, Flynn’s Arcade has published 8 Colors Star Guardians, a nothing-else-quite-like-it RPG boss rush presented in a retro style. It is loaded with charm, contains helpful and entertaining dialog, and contains die-and-try-again gameplay that doesn’t grow tedious.

Describing Star Guardians actually sounds pretty dumb on paper – fight bosses in an old-school RPG menu style but without leveling up, equipping new gear, or wandering dungeons. However, this straight-to-the-point gameplay is way more entertaining than it has any right to be. It almost feels like a new type of Half Minute Hero (if you remember that PSP cult favorite).

Presented in a blocky, almost Atari 2600 visual style, players can choose to fight the eight bosses in any order like a Mega Man game. Then, three of the five selectable Power Ranger-like heroes are chosen to battle against that invading monster. However, each hero has a unique strength, so it is imperative to find the combo that works for that particular boss. Yes, failure is inevitable but that is the point. With each game over, the player learns the attack pattern of each boss so new tactics can be implemented for next time.

Battles are very short, maybe a minute or two at most, so retrying is an easy and fun pill to swallow. Also, the dialog between the selectable heroes is glue that connects the entire game as they reveal helpful clues on how to take down bosses after death while providing a narrative that makes the player want to see what comes next. I don’t want to spoil anything here but know that the plot has much more charm than the expected “heroes need to beat the invading bad guys.” 

Although the game is presented in a retro RPG menu-based visual style, Star Guardians is more of a puzzle game. Since you don’t level up, collect gold, or obtain better gear, it is all about trial and error. Without spoiling too much, eventually all Guardians join forces to compete in one big battle. Surprisingly, the balancing and pacing remains spot-on throughout. If you get smoked by one boss, it is because you didn’t bring the correct team and activate their powers at the right time. Since there is no grinding or aimless wandering, it usually doesn’t take long to figure out how to defeat a certain boss but remains satisfying with each take down.  

Upon completing the first chapter, more content becomes unlocked. By the end of this first chapter, the player has become familiar with the mechanics and highlights of each character. Therefore, it is refreshing to see twists get implemented in Chapter 2, keeping the experience fresh even through you are still simply choosing options from a menu.

8 Colors Star Guardians is probably going to be one of those games that flies under the radar, not getting the recognition it deserves. Don’t be distracted by the blocky visuals and Power Ranger knock-offs. This is a low-cost, charming little game that is unexpectedly high quality, wholesome, well-balanced, and different.

SCORE: 8.5/10

Also Play: Punch-Out!! (NES)

Another Sleeper Hit: Gunman Tales

Don’t Forget About: Save Room

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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