I recently got a hold of a review copy of a ported game from PC to the PlayStation 4. It’s Kromaia Omega.
Plot: The plot is sparse, apparently there’s four gods who caused something bad to happen and you the player are supposed to go kill them in your space ship. Not the greatest plot I’ve experienced, but it’s still better than Twilight so I can’t complain that it’s a biohazard and deserves to be burned.
Gameplay: The gameplay is good, but it’s also somewhat generic. It takes the Bullet Hell games from the arcade days of old and turns it into a 3D experience that is quite fun, but still just as frustrating as one of those old games. You have a limited amount of hits (shield layers in game) before you get sent to the game over screen. It’s a tried and true method of design and while I applaud the fact that it hearkens back to days of old fun, when it came to the third boss “God” thingy I was stuck for hours where it took me minutes to complete a stage before.
The difficulty ramp-up in that single encounter ruined the experience for me. Yes, I can go look online and find a solution to the problems I face, but when I’m given the words “your agility will be tested” and that’s it before spending hours bashing my head against a metaphorical wall you’ve just lost a significant portion of your player base. Not everyone likes to go online to find a solution. When I was younger I had no issue doing such things, because I was limited in my time to play, and I wanted to experience the stories. Now that I’m older, and while I may have a bit more time I still have other things that take up my time and I don’t really want to go online to look how to beat this boss.
Now, griping aside, the gameplay is quite fun, except for the aforementioned boss fight, with four (five if you count a power-up) different ships to pilot and experience the game with. Each “level” has its own type of ship and they are all good at different things. One is an all-around good type with a shotgun special ability. One is a targeting system machine that destroys everything in its sights. Another is a close quarters ship, which is really odd for a space ship by the way, that uses a beam sword to slice up nearby enemies. The fourth is a precision ship with a focused beam and “channeled” beam that allows for constant damage. I liked the first two of the four I just mentioned. The last two were not so much fun.
The fifth power-up ship shoots out huge beams that wreck everything quickly and it’s special deploys drones that automatically find and destroy nearby enemies. That is of course assuming you don’t blow up your own drones because it’s nearly impossible at first glance to tell friend from foe.
In addition, there is a grappling system which allows you to hook onto any object or enemy and either swing around the hooked thing or to pull yourself closer to it. This is particularly useful with the various asteroids floating in space to quickly turn around and blast any pursuing enemies. The real cool thing about this system is that it has three directions to fire towards: Left Horizontal, Right Horizontal, and directly in front of you (the z axis for those math wizards out there).
Art: This game brought back some pretty nostalgic memories of Star Fox 64 and even earlier Voxel games with its art style. It’s not super detailed, but as you are zipping past things so fast it really doesn’t matter.
Music: Here’s where I had another issue, the game when you first start it up has a difficulty selection screen and while I’ll normally go for the standard normal or moderate difficulty I had this game thrust on me rather abruptly. So when I went to pick Easy mode for difficulty I was less than pleased to hear the developers had included in the sound track a loop of chicken noises that plays whenever someone has that difficulty selected. I don’t take offense at it, but it’s less professional than I’d expected for a game that was ported over from the PC indie scene to the PS4. So kudos to the developer responsible for winning my inaugural “Most Immature Video Game Developer’s Design Decision of the Year.” Everyone give a round of slow claps for the winner.
Overall: My personal gripes aside Kromaia Omega is fun and I might just launch it up to brainlessly shoot things if I don’t want to load up Destiny to do the same while listening to an Audiobook.
For those who like: Bullet Hell Games, Retro Art Styles, Intense Gameplay.
Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, or some rather frustrating designs.