Kromaia Review (PC)
Kromaia is an arcade shooter that leaves you stranded in space on a mission to defeat several gods threatening the universe. If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry, as Kromaia aims for the gut and provides a viscerally charged and ultimately satisfying gaming experience.
Kromaia's opening level offers up an eerie, 'Twilight Zone'-esque experience, and it's a great way to start the journey. Your craft is trapped in a black and white maze, and since there is no tutorial on navigating past your first challenge, you may spend ample minutes attempting to weave the ship around the maze’s intricate corners. The key to mastering Kromaia is to not overthink the situation. Even if the environment which surrounds you looks overwhelming, Kromaia is still a straight-up, relatively uncomplicated shooter.
The opening moments places your ship amidst a black and white maze with your blasters and thrusters ready to propel you to the next level. There is no tutorial on navigating past your first challenge, and you may spend ample minutes attempting to weave the ship around maze's intricate corners. The key to handling Kromaia is to not overthink things. Even if the title's beautifully immersive art design is, at times, overwhelming, Kromaia is still a straight up shooter.
The goal of each stage is to navigate your ship through 20 different portals and kill the respective god blocking your path to the next level. Since this is an open world shooter and you're stuck in the middle of space, the options are seemingly limitless if you don't follow the ringed compass on your craft. I've wasted ample amounts of time piloting through the universe, blasting asteroids in my path sans any regard for completing the level. There's a good chance you'll follow the same path, as Kromaia's main strength rests on its visually hypnotic appeal. The title's trance-like techno score also complements all the pretty pictures and super-charged action, so getting lost in Kromaia's alluring grip is inevitable.
Many arcade shooters get repetitive, and even though you'll be able to employ different types of firepower (some guns are great for sniping, others are perfect for close combat), Kromaia doesn't take point, tap, and shoot experience to new heights. On a pure action level, clicking your mouse and shooting at objects is akin to eating a ton of sweet candy: everything, even sugar, has its saturation point. The boss fights simply require your ship to fire away at the brightly colored lights that adorn the creature’s body. Though there is a ton of visual splendor that surrounds you, the action element of the title is fairly basic.
Navigating through space is also a bit tricky. With tons of objects hurtling towards the craft, dodging and weaving to safety is an understandably frenetic experience, but the keyboard controls don't make for a perfectly seamless experience. Flying through wormholes can also get annoying, as your craft may spiral out of control or miss the mark entirely. Gameplay gets choppy once you smash into objects or are trapped within a structure, and even if this inconvenience lasts for mere seconds, it's still a frustrating aspect of playing Kromaia.
The good news is that even if you are consistently smashing into debris or crashing into structures, you won't immediately die in Kromaia. Along with the compass to directionally guide your craft through the wormholes, you also have shields to protect your craft from debris and boss attacks. This ensured, elongated gameplay experience helps offset the minor inconvenience of the title's navigational imperfections.
Even with a few minor flaws, Kromaia delivers a unique and captivating universe that's rare within the point-and-shoot genre. Though the goal is to kill several bosses with as much firepower as possible, my best moments with Kromaia came from getting lost within the farthest reaches of the universe. It's a spellbinding, colorful and beautiful world that is hard to shake, even if it occasionally shoots in the wrong direction.
This review was based on a code of Kromaia provided by the publisher for PC.