Preview – Kromaia
Harkening back to the days of coin-operated spacey shoot-em-up’s, Kromaia is the latest game from Rising Star Games which sees you frantically blasting hordes of enemies in a vibrant, full 360 degree environment. Set in three-dimensional space, Kromaia allows the player to find their own way through each of the varied levels, letting you shoot, dodge, explore and fly wherever you want. Objectives are spaced out in all directions of the map, meaning wherever you choose to go, you’ll find something to occupy yourself, all the while trying to either dodge or destroy the enemies in your way.
The game itself is difficult to describe, but if I were to take a shot i’d describe it as this: frantic, space combat shoot-em-up action with full explorability and neon-tastic bright environments. Is explorability a word? Maybe not, but regardless, Kromaia allows you full freedom in how you want to tackle each level, and the bright visuals combined with intuitive combat means this game is a huge dollop of damn fun.
Featuring four different space craft, each with their own feel and their own weapon loadout, Kromaia lets you decide how you want to play and what you want to do. Want to blast every single enemy you see into a vibrant, sexy, pixel cloud? You can do that. Prefer to explore the area, dodging enemies and asteriods with the grace of a practiced pilot? You can do that too. Each level has its own objectives and goals, but you can choose which objectives you want to tackle first and which path you want to pursue, meaning each level is its own explorable utopia. See an interesting area off in the horizon? As long as you can avoid the dozens of enemies trying to take you out on your way there, you can explore it. The ability to easily roll and reverse to dodge incoming enemy fire and craft is a huge lifeline, especially given the enemy AI seems intent on ensuring your demise. The maneuverability of your craft and the combat itself is heart pumpingly intense yet intuitive, which was great for someone like myself who isn’t the best at frenetic space combat.
Graphics wise, the game shines, with stunningly vibrant colours used alongside environments that are crisp and visually diverse. It’s a true neon wonderhouse, with the vibrant blues and oranges and reds adding to the frantic combat to create something eye-poppingly special. There were numerous moments during my hands-on with the title that elicited a “ooooh, shiny” from me upon seeing something particularly enticing. Unfortunately, there are times where the visual panache suffers from similar colours used in the background you are flying around and in the firing of your ship’s weapons – there were points in my playthrough that I was flying towards an orange sun and my ship weapon was firing orange lazers, leaving me at a loss as to exactly where I was firing. The ability to change course and explore somewhere else limits the frustration of this, however, and on the whole this was a very minor detraction during my time with the game.
The combat featured in Kromaia, whilst frantic, is a whole lot of fun, and once you get into the zone you’ll be destroying enemies with ease. This isn’t to say the game isn’t challenging, however, and in fact the better you do in the game, the tougher the AI gets. The adaptive AI means that you’ll never truly feel complacent, because there’s a bigger challenge awaiting those players who do well. As a further example of this, if you achieve all your objectives, you’ll have to face gigantic bosses that you’ll need to finish quickly if you want to survive.
In keeping with its arcade roots, Kromaia offers score-based play, where taking out enemies in quick succession rewards you with higher scores and bigger combos. As you get used to the combat, you’ll see your score improving, and the fact that Kromaia offers the chance to record your name after each level on leaderboards reminiscent of 80s arcade machines is a great touch which left me smiling. For those not interested in racking up huge scores or performing artistic combos – never fear – Kromaia lets you explore the world at your leisure without making you feel that you’re missing all the fun if you aren’t attacking everything in sight.
Overall, Kromaia looks like it’s shaping up to be one of those games you’ll addictively play into the wee hours of the morning, leaving your mouse arm numb for work the next day. It’ll be available October 23, exclusively for PC. For more info, check out the game’s official website.