Indiegogo Hands-On: Kromaia

Backers of Kromaia got a nice little update last week in the form of a preview build of the score attack mode, Chain Drive.  This is a straight-up action mode where you choose from one of four different ships and fly through a series of gates to increase the difficulty and score multiplier, and the main point of its release at this stage of the campaign is to give people a chance to see things in motion and get a feel for the controls.  It’s somewhat too easy and maybe a bit simple in its current early state, seeing as it’s more for testing than anything else, but it also feels really good, looks fantastic, and plays great.

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The four different ships all play completely differently, and while their weapons are standard shooter fare they also mean each ship requires its own play style.  The orange ship is artillery, and its primary gun shoots in a scattered pattern while the secondary gun is a more powerful shot that blankets a wide area with a multi-projectile barrage.  Ship number two is the red precision ship, with a medium-speed primary fire and a long-burning strong laser for secondary.  The green ship has homing missiles, relatively slow but hard to miss with, and its secondary shot is more of the same but lots of them.  Finally, the blue ship has a sword of limited range but also incredibly powerful, and secondary fire is a giant shuriken.  The only limits on any gun usage is rate of fire, so while the slow reload of the secondary weapons means they don’t get used quite so much, you can lay down a serious path of destruction through the swarming enemies.

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While it can take a bit to get a proper crazed field of enemy action raised against you in the current build, once things get popping the action moves along at a very lively pace.  Popcorn enemies swirl in patterns in the background, occasionally sending an emissary out to try to knock of a shield point.  Spinning green cubes of spiky death try to ram you, the sphere in the gates that you need to collect to progress starts being guarded by coordinated groups of enemies laying down patterns of return fire, and weapons platforms track you through the skies.  Enemies may drop shield or boost powerups, and there’s an enemy type good for point drops as well, so it soon becomes more than just flying from gate to gate as you start chasing after bonus goodies.  It’s still pretty simple overall, but the action flows well and it’s a fantastic base to build epic free-flying shooter from.  It’s also worth noting that, no matter how crazy-busy the screens may look, tracking the action is as easy as you could hope for when actually playing.

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Kromaia has a long way to go at this point, and response to its Indiegogo campaign is anemic, but from a gameplay perspective this has huge promise.  It looks fantastic, plays well, and has its own unique style.  Whether or not the Indiegogo campaign succeeds or fails (and it’s still got a month left on the clock so there’s plenty of time for either) Kromaia is a game that deserves to be on people’s radar.  See that pic below?  It’s from the campaign page and appears nowhere in the current build, but the engine is clearly strong enough to make something that impressively chaotic spring to tumbling life.  The world needs more abstract fast-action six degrees of freedom shooters, and if Kromaia can complete its campaign then it should take care of that need nicely.

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