The Palette Cleanser
In an industry full of AAA, lengthy, endlessly polished titles, sometimes I really just need to take a break and catch my breath. As much as I love games like God of War, Red Dead Redemption II, or Horizon Zero Dawn, they can often take a toll on me with the sheer amount of time it takes to complete them. Thankfully, the Indie Game world exists, where I can play fun, creative, and short experiences to help change the pace. The latest one of these for me was Danger Crew by the (aptly titled) developer Team Danger Crew; it is exactly what I needed to catch my breath.
Taking heavy inspiration from older titles like Pokémon Red/Blue and Earthbound, Danger Crew is a turn-based RPG game set in the small town of Clayton. In the game, you play as a brand new Software Engineer on his first day at a new job in the city. As expected, nothing goes according to plan as you start to butt heads with other arrogant engineers and learn of a dangerous takeover from another company. One thing leads to another, and before you know it you, and your slowly growing party of non-speaking employees, have to go far out of your way to save the company you have barely worked at.
Being that this is a small, four hour game with emphasis on combat, there really isn’t a whole lot of room for “groundbreaking” narrative and character development. Similar to Pokémon games, your character doesn’t speak, but instead can walk around and listen to the many NPC’s one-liners of dialogue. Again, there isn’t much world building happening through these interactions, but there are some quippy lines that will make Computer Science/Engineers have a giggle! I also appreciate that the writing could have easily turned into political, anti-corporation propaganda, but instead opted for a more silly, unrealistic and less heavy-handed message.
When you play a game like Danger Crew, you won’t be playing for the story as much as the fun and simple combat system. Similar to classic turn-based games, you and your party (of up to three) fight another party (of up to three). Where things take a bit of a creative turn is what you are doing in the fighting itself. Being that you are a bunch of nerds (like me!), you won’t be attacking with swords, guns, or any sort of blunt objects; instead, you are dueling each other’s computers with code. Each party member can hold four “scripts” that your computer can use to attack or defend a computer in different ways. On top of that, each member has a fifth “special ability” move that takes time to build up in combat.
While it isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, it was a very quick and engaging system that made me want to seek out and engage any enemy I saw. Like Pokémon, your party learns new scripts as they level up, defeat enemies, or purchase them in the store. With the limit being only four scripts per member and three members at once, I had a lot of fun coming up with different strategies and “builds” of teams that emphasized offense or defense in different ways. Again, this isn’t anywhere near as in-depth as something like Xenoblade Chronicles or a modern Final Fantasy title, but I am so thankful for it.
Again, paying homage to Pokémon, the pixel art visuals are simple and cute. My wife in particular loved peeking over at my screen because it reminded her of old Gameboy games. I personally think that Danger Crew erred slightly too far on the simple side, though, particularly in the backgrounds. Similarly, the soundtrack wasn’t exactly the most original, foot tappin’ thing I’ve ever heard, and honestly, I can’t really remember how any tune in particular goes. This doesn’t bother me too much as they obviously weren’t memorable in a bad sense, but I do get bummed out when a soundtrack doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
If you are looking for a quick, fun, and charming “palette cleanser” in between huge AAA games like I was, Danger Crew could be just the game for you. What could have been a lengthy, grindy, and content-fluffed game has been thankfully trimmed down to its core experience. Clocking in at just over four hours, I enjoyed all of my time with the game, and was thankful for something that could scratch a turn-based RPG itch without demanding two months of my life to do so. While it may not be the most memorable, groundbreaking, or even fantastic game in the world, Danger Crew was a great bite-sized game that doesn’t take many risks, and really it doesn’t need to.
Yes, if you:
- Are looking for a quick game in between large games
- Want to scratch your Turn-Based Strategy itch
- Enjoy Computer Science and Engineering humor
- Want to be nostalgic for the early Pokémon aesthetic
No, if you:
- Want a full-length, detailed RPG with great characters
- Like to be challenged and strategize with combat
- Want to be blown away with beautiful pixel art visuals
Danger Crew was released on PC on May 6th, 2019 at an MSRP of $9.99
Note: Cannonicity received a Review Code for Danger Crew in exchange for a fair and honest review