I’m a video game history junkie, and I say that as the only guy I know that has the original 16-bit Sonic The Hedgehog soundtrack on my Windows Phone. Though I occasionally play some of the newer games, it’s always fun to go back to the old days and play a game of Galaxian.
But what would happen if you combine the greatness of a classic arcade game and the graphical superiority of an arcade game released today? You would get Chromatic. Chromatic is a 2D shooter game that has its roots in a classic space war game but with a different twist. Let’s take a look.
I can haz neon?
If you’re a hardcore gamer that is immersed in Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3, then the graphics in Chromatic may seem a bit bland. However, they’re really not all that bad for a classic-style shoot em’ up.
The neon colors make the game slightly resemble the movie Tron, which is kind of cool. But the electronica music in the background loops, and that gets annoying quickly. Annoying enough to make us rush for the volume rocker on our phones to mute it as quick as our chubby fingers can get there.
Besides that the look of the game is quite good. Though there are no 3D effects, the graphics get out of the way so you can focus on shooting the enemies. Let’s go a bit deeper into the gameplay…
Feeling The Game…
The game quality of Chromatic is stellar. If the game was recreated in the form of monochrome vector graphics it would still be boatloads of fun. In my opinion if you still have fun in a non-graphical atmosphere, then the game has passed the ultimate test.
The goal of the game is to shoot waves of transparent, neon-colored aliens that want to get past your post. Your job is to use all the firepower you’ve got to keep them from passing you. Though that sounds simple in theory, it’s quite difficult. You start out really cocky as the aliens melt with each shot, but when hordes of aliens come crashing down on you you’ll be begging for mercy.
Release The Artillery!
Unlike most of the classic arcade games of the 1970s, Chromatic allows you to lock and load multiple guns to use against your ever-multiplying enemies. You can use up to 3 guns per game and your choices range from a single-shot machine gun, a 5-way cannon, or a mine planter.
I quickly learned while playing that the guns that are given to you at the beginning have as much effect as a pea-shooter at a military shooting range. Sure, you can take out a couple enemies, but you really need to keep playing. The more you play, the more powerful your guns get.
And when that time comes when you are overrun with enemies (and believe me, it will come), you are given two weapons of mass-destruction to use against the chrome-plated aliens: An atom bomb or laser-powered fence. You have to unlock the latter, but it is definitely worth it when you do. Use these weapons only when you really need them! I’ve been playing this game since I got my phone, and I still haven’t beaten Wave 5 even when I use the powerups.
A major ding against Chromatic is the lack of a true multiplayer game that will let you either play with your enemies online against a ginormous amount of aliens or against each other to rack up the biggest score. However, being true to its arcade roots, all you are given is an online leaderboard. In my opinion this is the place where modern “classics” need to surpass their 1970s predecessors.
This is the only part of modern arcade games where I wish they would deviate from their ancestors. I know it’s an expensive addition to add to a mobile game, but seriously, just raise the price of the PRO version to $3.99 and market it better. This is the only part of Chromatic where I’m disappointed.
Playing Against The Competition
I recently discovered another game called GLIDD that looked very similar to Chromatic upon first glance. I downloaded the trial to give it a shot and was greeted by a very familiar neon-colored splash screen.
I hesitantly started the game and gave it a shot. It was ok, but had a lot of differences in gameplay that made it look pathetic compared to Chromatic. For one thing, it didn’t have multiplayer either. Chromatic keeps the adrenaline pumping, while the other games of this style can get boring quickly. It is certainly my favorite 2D shooter on the Windows Phone right now.
Chromatic is available for free in the Windows Marketplace that has ads, but there is a professional version that only costs 99 cents and removes ads. You get a good bang for your literal buck, and it’s a game that keeps you coming back again and again. Highly recommended.
Do you have a shooter you prefer over Chromatic? I really want to know, so please leave me a message in the comments!