Kromaia Omega Review
Kromaia Omega releases today--November 10th--digitally on the PS4, with a boxed physical release set to launch on this Thursday the 12th. I got a chance to sit down with a review copy of the game, and came away quite impressed.
The original Kromaia was released about this time last year on the PC, and it has now made it's way to PS4 with some noted upgrades. Set in a highly stylized futuristic space with hues of Roman architecture floating amidst the asteroid fields, Kromaia evokes a modern take on classic Star Fox. The graphics are simple, yet beautiful. The game is fluid, constantly throwing new things at you without stuttering or losing framerates once.
Colors play a key role in each level. A few moments in, you can tell what colors the items you're hunting down are, as well as the general color scheme of the enemies and their attack beams. What starts out with a few little enemies finds itself ramping up quickly depending on your skill: the game has an adaptive AI that guarantees a challenge.
Kromaia takes you off the rails of Star Fox, though. Your goals are scattered around the arena, and you dip, dodge, and weave your way through all dimensions to get to where you need to go. The game does a great job of giving you 360 degree freedom while keeping quick arcade action by having the enemies constantly attack you from the front. No matter which way you turn, the enemies will dash to be in front of you to stay between you and the goal. This allows you to ignore any simulation-style radar and just focus on shooting.
Shooting variety is supplied by five different spacecraft, with a new one unique to the PS4 "Omega" edition. The PS4 edition adds in a full achievement/trophy set, online leaderboards, and new unique modes. Each ship has two different weapons, which completely changes how you play the game. One ship has rapid fire on one side and a power shot on the other, whilst another is all delayed lock-ons, with one being single and the other being a cluster bomb that will take out anything thrown your way. As you keep working through the game, you come back and try to defeat previous levels with newly unlocked ships, so the replay to completion feels fresh and new, despite seeing familiar enemies, as you try to figure out new ways to take out the old enemies.
Enemies are challenging and fun. As stated above, they run to be in front of you, so you always know what's coming. The attacks give just enough of a tell for you to dodge or attack. With the adaptive AI, it reminded me of when I first played Tetris on my Game Boy. Starting out simply, the gradual piling on of extra enemies much like the slow but steady increase of speed in Tetris is something I don't notice until I pause for a second. When I suddenly realize what I'm doing, I find myself overwhelmed. Staying in that zen mode is essential for victory, and shows an amazingly well done learning curve. Going even further, the developers added a two-player mode to the PS4 edition, where one player pilots the craft whilst the other is in charge of the shooting. It provides an asymmetric gameplay style that can lead to excellent team combos or amazing screaming fits. Your mileage may vary. Pulling off a level in multiplayer is quite the exhilarating feat, one you would talk about in the annals of your gaming history.
Eventually, you come up against a level's gargantuan boss, which takes it's own strategy to defeat. It usually involves taking out glowing attack points, much like classic video game bosses, then aiming for the heart when it appears. The storyline states that you are taking these gigantic enemies out in a twisted tale of revenge that keeps you coming back to see where it goes.
After starting out thinking I'd be playing a traditional SHMUP, I came out feeling like I had played Star Fox with an extra dimension, been challenged by bosses reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus, given fresh challenges to old levels like Super Mario 64, all while feeling like I should be pumping quarters into a classic arcade machine. Fans of space shooters definitely need to check this one out. It will be out on PS4 physically on Thursday, and can currently be found on PS4's digital store for $29.99. PC gamers can garner the original Kromaia through Steam for $19.99.
A review copy was provided by MMPR for review.
Final score: 4.75/5