Kromaia (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 03.11.2014

Review for Kromaia on PC

Kromaia is a game developed by Kraken Empire and published by Rising Star that seeks to bring the traditionally 2D bullet-hell games into the third dimension, but managed to do something that seems impossible at first: drive people away out of sheer tedium and repetitiveness. Of all the possible failings of such a game, this is by far the most unexpected outcome.

Bullet-hell games are a very unique genre. Through the swarms of bullets and enemies flung all over the screen, players are forced to duck, dodge and weave through them all with careful precision and timing. When done wrong it results in crashing and burning as a result of an inability to slip between the massive swarms of shots; when done right it is a beautiful symphony of motion that can be awe-inspiring to watch as one falls in sync with the foes' motions and attacks.

Kromaia seems to miss this point and, instead, is willing to saddle with repeating the same four levels four times each, making them all essentially pallet-swaps of each other that are handled the exact same way, and punishes for non-mistakes (a 'mistake' that happens due to a factor either beyond the player's control or from one that they cannot be reasonably expected to respond to). This turns the game from what should be an enjoyable and exciting play into a boring festival of annoyance due to factors that seem like they could easily be fixed if the developers had just bothered to put effort into them.

Screenshot for Kromaia on PC

A big problem is how stiff the controls are. First, it is important to give a small thumb up to being one of the few games that has managed to make it actually feel like a flight title taking place in 3D, but it then ruins the fun by making the controls so stiff, delayed, and generally annoying to work. This would have been rectified by either turning up the mouse sensitivity about 10-20% or making the bits where careful control is required to have slightly larger openings/delays, but instead makes it so that turning up the sensitivity to the max then seeking to outright avoid anything dangerous due to bad controls is more favourable.

Secondly is the difficulty. The controlled ship only has four 'shields' before they are left exposed to die for a total of five hit-points. It is entirely possible, though, to be hit from behind by something that can never be seen coming or have to go through a moving barrier and end up stuck under it, and it is almost impossible to find shield restoration items to the point that they may as well not exist. The checkpoints are very dispersed, as well, meaning that, ultimately, even the tiniest mistake can end up with being send back a good ten-or-so minutes simply because humans don't have eyes on the back of their heads. Having more healing items would have solved this with ease.

Lastly, Kromaia is simply repetitive to an absurd level. The majority of the game will take place in the exact same four levels with the only difference being what powers are found within them. Each level is beaten in an identical way, which involves simply rushing to find twenty spheres, fighting the boss of the level that also never changes, and then repeating this process again and again, once for each armour. It is boring, tedious, and is little more than an artificial lengthener of the game. This is a rare example of where making a game shorter would have worked heavily in its favour as these repetitions turn it from enjoyment to office work.

Screenshot for Kromaia on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Kromaia is far from the worst game around. If it wasn't for its stiff controls, punishment for non-mistakes and repetitiveness, it might even be good. As it is, it is little more than a middling slog that will appeal only to those whom can withstand such tedium and not really for anyone else.

Developer

Kraken Empire

Publisher

Rising Star Games

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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