Puzzle games tend to enrage me. This is true for nearly every puzzle game save for a select few, and these few consist of titles that involve more ‘on your toes’ thinking rather than memorization and/or planning of steps. “ChromaGun” falls somewhere in between; requiring both planning, and on-the-fly problem solving. That’s not to say I didn’t get flustered a few times, but each failure made me more motivated to improve rather than toss the system out of the window.
You play as an able, but unwitting test subject seemingly trapped inside a large white structure where your only goal is to make it into the next room. You are spoken to by an announcer who seems to enjoy giving you a hard time, rather than actually help. Sound familiar? Yes, “ChromaGun” is presented very much like Portal. This isn’t to say it’s a ‘rip off’, but rather in the same spirit. It’s puzzle mechanics are very unique and the game is self-aware; even alluding to its similarities to Portal with references and a few trophies.
While the setting and themes have been done before, the puzzle mechanic is where “ChromaGun” really shines. You are in control of the small white “ChromaGun”, that shoots red, yellow, and blue (the primary colors). You use the “ChromaGun” on everything from walls and floor tiles, to both stationary and moving orbs. As the game progresses, you’ll find yourself mixing these colors with pre-colored surfaces, creating new colors. One of the difficulties in this game is the inability to erase colors. This is where the biggest challenge of “ChromaGun” occurs. If you mis-shoot a color or create the wrong color, you cannot erase the said mistake. That means you’ll be forced to restart the level. While this sounds like a harsh system, it really isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Levels get increasingly harder over time, as to be expected; eventually needing various switches to be activated by either yourself or more likely, the orbs mentioned earlier. You’ll be using colors on floors and walls to both attract and deflect said orbs, which can also be painted with the “ChromaGun”. These switches eventually lead to the exit door which is your only way to salvation. The storyline isn’t nearly as complex or fleshed out as in the Portal games, but it’s not really needed. It feels more like an afterthought rather than the focus, and that’s just fine. The game does feature a bit of dark humor delivered by the snooty announcer, but that’s about as far as the narrative goes.
As for the environment and surroundings aspect of “ChromaGun”. Well, there are stark white and empty rooms that fill the game with no signs of wear or age to them. So it feels very much like an active testing lab and only shows the inner workings on a few occasions. Overall, the game has a nice polished and minimalistic feel to it. The sound design features an enjoyable electronic soundtrack and feels right at home with the hyper-futuristic setting. While the dialog is sparse, it is fairly well delivered, but I wouldn’t say it rivals that of GlaDOS.
Nevertheless, “ChromaGun” is still a very fun and wonderful puzzle game. So if you enjoyed the “Portal” games, then you most definitely don’t want to miss out on this title!
+ Fun and interesting puzzle mechanics
+ Great music
+ Scratches that puzzle-shooter itch
– No story to really be found
– A tad short
Sound and music: 5/5
Replay value: 4/5
At the end of the day, Pixel Maniacs “ChromaGun” is a wonderful puzzle game that adds more to the genre it than it borrows from others. While it’s very clearly created in the spirit of Portal, it does well not to copy anything rather than tone and setting. ChromaGun is a very enjoyable experience for any level of puzzle fan.
Developer: Pixel Maniacs
Release date: 2017-8-23
Spent time: +5 hours
Average grade internationally: 72%
PEGI age rating: 7
Robin Ek – Editor
The review code was provided by Pixel Maniacs.
The Gaming Ground
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