I almost missed out on this one.
Going through the droves of games we get to our review email each week it is far too easy to miss out on gems. In the case of Croma it has a quite boring icon, and it throws you straight into the action right away.
I should of course have read the message from the producer at Mindfruit Interactive with more care. Then I would have seen that a) it had already got some positive reviews b) it is a shooter with inspiration from Ikaruga. I am a fan of colour changes in shooters, and Ikaruga is a really good source to draw from.
I should also have read that it is indeed an abstract shooter, and not a match three puzzler that I assumed when looking at the icon. Nope this is far from a mundane casual title. Once I started playing I got into some hardcore gaming. This is a game that rewards skill, twats luck and spits in the face of fairness. The sole survivor mode is easy for the first 60 to 100 seconds, and then it is a constant difficulty spike until I die. This kind of pacing has been seen in the Blue Defense games, and it is never fair. Those opening easy moments still give the impression that it isn’t all bad, and it is one of the reasons I keep retrying. Another reason is that I want to see more in Croma. It has the same mystery vibe to it that I get from Canabalt. I want to see what happens next, and is there survival beyond the constant barrage of obstacles, and deaths?
Gameplay is fairly simple, but still hard as nails to master. You shoot your planetary gun by touching where you want to fire. To change color of your bullets you tap the planet. This changes everything from white and blue to black and red. Going back, and forth is key to survival as nothing is allowed to touch the planet. Powerups collected for a colour stays there, and it is important to switch between the two worlds to get both worlds powered up. It is intense, and it occupies my full attention when playing. There is no multitouch, and that means you have to let go of firing while you swap to the other colour. This can at times mess up the flow of the game, and it is not fun dying because of omitted functionality.
The presentation is clean, minimal and perfect for the gameplay at hand. When the screen starts to fill up with orbs it is still possible to work out what to prioritize first. The sensation when the world rumbles, and a huge dark or white entity starts coming towards you is powerful. The music reflects the action, and changes slightly between the worlds. Ambient dub step electronica is not usually my cup of tea, but here it works in unison with the game.
High score lists by means of Game Center, and OpenFeint caters for online functionality. Other than that there is a lack of content, and I would have liked timed challenges, mission objectives or something else beside the survivor mode. This alongside the lack of multitouch is my only gripe with the game, and I hope to see it evolved. Still it comes highly recommended, as an abstract shooter that is both intense and beautiful.
Seller: Christian Hall / Mindfruit Interactive