Monday, November 24, 2014

Indie Impressions - Kromaia


Now Available on Steam

Developed by Kraken Empire 


Greeted by the strange embodiment of what seems to be the Mother of an alternate world tinted in neon colors, who has had everything but her thoughts taken by the cruel rulers of this place. You are given a simple task; seek vengeance on the four obscure gods of this alien realm and create chaos in the cosmos.

Kromaia has the fluidity and freedom of a 6DoF shooter like Descent or Terminal Velocity, a beautifully strange and otherworldly setting like Rez, the score-chasing arcade high of a classic rail-shooter like Galaxy Force II, all with incredibly creative and wildly original enemy ship designs unseen since the forgotten PSX gem Omega Boost. It doesn't just use these already perfected mechanics we've come to know and love over the past decades; it pushes them to the limits of modern gaming with dazzlingly bright and bloom-y effects intertwined with extraordinary physics at breakneck speeds.

On your initial run of the core playthrough you'll have each of the four distinctly different ships slowly introduced to you in order of the four base stages. Each stage has the standard goal of collecting 20 Jumpgate Drives before the keeper of the current realm is summoned and an epic boss battle ensues. This formula is spiced up every time thanks to the varying abilities of each the four unique ship

These range from your standard peashooter starting ship, a slower missle-launching ship with lock-on capabilities, a chain-gunning plasma ship with a closer ranged needle laser, and last but definitely not least the insanely fun melee ship with sword swinging capabilities. After completing each of the four ships' respective stages, all levels will be unlocked in order to be played with any specialized ship of choice which is where the real freedom and your journey to the true ending begins.

The heavy and almost tribal beat of the background music drives you as you dash from piece to piece of your Jumpgate Drive, beating back the swarms of geometrical monstrosities that crowd you on every side. odd ancient structures with symbols scrawled across their sides are strewn about each huge world each containing even more secrets to collect. The surreal landscapes bend and twist in to complex patterns in the background and even more strange contraptions and diabolical obstacles are thrown at you the deeper you jet into the heart of this multi-dimensional dreamworld.

All around you is the extraterrestrial, mysterious and alien-like alphabet with cryptic symbols and strange whisperings of the motherly voice guiding your journey. The heavy and ominous electronic dronings of the soundtrack fit the abstract surroundings and hazy retrofuture feel as it builds up towards the climactic final boss encounter of each expansive and open stage. The whole atmosphere is thick with otherworldly wonder and a familiar neon warmth, giving me a feeling of nostalgic bliss not felt since that initial excitement of discovering the world of arcade gaming long ago.

Kromaia pulls off a blissful blend of technical and elegant movements of a modern shooter with intense and chaotic arcade score-chasing flawlessly for what is the most perfect package of abstract action. It feels like some kind of wonderful long lost Dreamcast gem brought back from the dead and given a whole layer of polish and shine, and for people who have fond memories of the era of gaming that I do this is nothing short of a must-buy, must-experience title.

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