Good bye Cross-Omega, don’t let the door hit you on your way out

I assume you know something about Super Robot Wars game series. If you don’t, it’s a series of turn-based strategy games that mixes multiple giant robot IPs together with a game original character and its plot as overall tying glue. The series is incredibly plastic, allowing multiple takes on the concept, sometimes dropping the whole strategy bit from in exchange for action or something else. The series started on the humble Game Boy in 1991, it itself was a spin-off from Bandai’s Compati Hero series.

Despite its age, the SRW series has never significantly changed its play mechanics. You can look at the footage from the first game in the series and recognise that modern games use almost the exact same kind of base system; player and AI have their own turns they move on a grid, and if an enemy is in the vicinity, an attack can be made, which leads into an animated encounter with the attacker’s theme playing in the background. This system has been iterated slowly but surely to take out jank from it. It is an archaic system by all means, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The way the series tries to innovate itself is with flavour differences and additional systems, like Squad based play, where multiple units exist in a squad to move in a field. This became pretty much a necessary addition with 2nd SRW Alpha game due to the size of the roster. The roster, in fact, is the main pulling power of the series, as it brings back classic shows to be combined with new ones, making it an effective way for Bandai and Sunrise to market their favourite shows and for the staff to expose younger generations with older titles. For example, Steel Jeeg‘s entry in the aforementioned Alpha 2 game lead into Dynamic Pro producing a rewarmed remake for the original shows, Steel God Jeeg in 2007, while Bandai’s executives forced Alpha 3 to have Gundam SEED as one of the entries in the series to drive plastic model sales. This didn’t really work all that well for the game, as it made the deep-space scenario of the game bound to Earth.

With thirty years under its belt Super Robot Wars itself has spin-offs up the wazoo, with one of the most notable one being Original Generation sub-series, which crosses over the main game series’ original characters and robots with each other. A personal favourite with these spin-offs would be Another Century’s Episode, mostly because the first three games are some of the best games Fromsoftware has ever made. Most SRW spin-offs are not exactly high-quality titles. For example, SRW: Scramble Commander tried to take its usual strategy based-play and push it into 3D with some semi-realtime mechanics, but it is incredibly janky, sluggish, boring and looks like a bargain bin PlayStation 2 game. Most footage you’ll find for the game on Youtube also has been stretched sideways, because for whatever reason a lot of people think PS2 games were in widescreen.

Nevertheless, SRW as a series is extremely valuable as a marketing tool. The series’ popularity in Japan means you can’t really drop any series in and have it work. Crossing with other IPs is its bread and butter, and it makes money. The mobile game spin-off SRW X-Ω, or Cross-Omega, was devised as a way to bring SRW spin-off experience to the mobile phones while having a new series cross over almost every month. The number of new franchises Cross-Omega introduced to the SRW label include Muv-Luv Alternative, for example, while the mainline series has always steered away from adapting Visual Novel franchises. I can hear somebody mention SRW UX and Demonbane, and I’ll have to remind this person that they adapted Demonbane‘s animation, not the original work. Similarly, you can expect Muv-Luv Alternative to enter SRW through its animation adaptation, not through its original VN work.

Cross-Omega‘s cross-overs, however, were completely out there. Because it was a mobile game that lived in cross-over content in order to make sales, pretty much everything crossed over with everything else. For example, you had a crossover with a crossover when A Certain Magical Virtual-On made its entry Cross-Omega. If that sounds familiar, I have a review on the game. This lead into situations, like with this player, where you had an SRW original Granzon on the field with the Mega Zord from Power Rangers, Godzilla stomping around, supported by Bass from Mega Man and Accelerator piloting Specineff from the aforementioned A Certain Magical Virtual-On. However, from the linked footage you should already tell something about the game; it’s not very good. While it’s something special to see Muv-Luv Alternative‘s cast discuss and interact with the cast from King of Braves GaoGaiGar and Shin Getter Robo, it never saved the game from being an utter bore. You can claim that you’re there for the plot, but most western fans won’t understand a word because it’s all in Japanese.

I haven’t talked what sort of play Cross-Omega had, because it’s a simple tower-defence game. You have few lanes the enemies keep coming in, and your robots defend a base ship. Most of the play comes from managing the team and making nice combinations of your favourite shows, but not only the battles themselves are short, but they are also boring to watch. I should keep saying things in the past tense, as Cross-Omega is being shut down on March 30th. I won’t even try to put up the writer persona for this one, I’m glad this series-leeching piece of shit will be removed. It wasn’t fun to play and it was a pain to see so many series making their first official entry to Super Robot Wars in such a pathetic and neutered manner. The game was full of predatory gacha practices, like the vast majority of mobile phone games out there, and even then what you got was mostly utter shit due to the game’s design being pulled from the laziest of meetings. All these shows, and Super Robot Wars overall, deserved the far better game. Instead, we got generic garbage that could’ve been any other IP out there.

Not that adapting Super Robot Wars play for mobile phones was difficult. SRW DD is still in action and a normal SRW play with a mobile twist to it. This is similar to how Langrisser and Fire Emblem took their basic play, modified the surrounding systems a little bit, and dropped them unto phones for gacha whales to make some profit for them. In practice, there was no reason why SRW‘s classic play could not have been adapted for Cross-Omega, but we can only surmise they wanted to push the entry down and try to appeal to the most common, to the lowest denominator for whatever audience out there. It was only after Fire Emblem Heroes and other outright tactical games made their mark and showcased that people aren’t dumb fucks that can’t understand how a thirty years olds mechanics work until DD became a synaptic spark in someone’s sorry ass. Not that SRW DD is any better, as its still a dumbed-down random chance gacha bullshit like any other mobile game, but at least you have something proper to play. While it most likely keeps some people employed, its existence is still that of a tumour, sapping away resources and ideas that could be put into the production of proper SRW games. Now all of this is going to be wasted, with only Youtube videos and some asset rips reminding that there were people putting their best effort into it.