‘Remember: In paradise they’ve lost all of desires, pity, love- they are the blessed, with their imaginations surgically removed (the only reason why they are blessed)- angles, the slaves of God….’
We- Yevgeny Zamyatin (first published in 1924).
The story of Kromaia Omega (PS4) is ambiguous, upon awaking your father who tells you about four gods who must be defeated to break the circle. Everything else in the story and narrative design is left to speculation. Conversations with your father feel more like poetry, purposefully left to interpretation. Playing the game, you feel there is something more going on, from the biblical use of language, the tribal totems and architecture; you don’t play through the levels but you transcend through the spiritual landscapes. My brief knowledge on religious text, I couldn’t help but think of the Fallen Angels perverting humanity.
Aesthetically, the game is gorgeous. Clearly inspired by wonderful ‘Rez’, using simple geometric shapes, ancient iconography and a neon colour pallet. However, Kromaia Omega drops the digital, opting for an organic look with each level having its own colour scheme and identity. Though it’s when you are battling enemies and racking up a combo your screen becomes a spectacle, with colours, shapes and light filling your screen; it’s very close to simulating the visuals of being on some strong narcotic. At times you need just get lost in the spectacle of it all, only to be snapped out of your meditation by your significant other saying “So?”, naturally you respond “Yes” and then get shouted at because ‘Yes’ doesn’t answer if you want Chinese or Pizza takeaway.
Furthermore, the sound design and music compliment the visuals. The electronic soundtrack is more nuanced than you may think, with elements of Krautrock, glitch, rock and ambient drives the atmosphere of the game. It’s the change from delicate music to energetic that establishes if you are cruising or blasting through the level.
The sound design really bursts you with energy and sometimes makes your hairs stand up on edge. The emulation of sound in zero-gravity makes the explosions sound meaty that erupts from your television the higher the combo. At times its all overwhelming yet is part of the reason you just zone out due to it synchronizing with the visuals.
Kromaia Omega is a shooter where you are a spacecraft-like object flying in an open 3D map design. Each of the four levels has its own spacecraft, though after completing each level you are required to complete all four levels with all four ships. Each ship has its unique weapon that changes the play style from a melee ship, to a machine gun ship or homing missiles, each one comes with its pros and cons.
The main aim of each level is too fly through gates and destroy the end boss, however, you would benefit more by exploring the (massive) levels as there is plenty of puzzles and secrets scattered across the levels; this is advisable to do first thing as soon as you go through the first gate it turns into an onslaught. The game tries to be a bullet hell in a 3D space, though it doesn’t reach that level precision, it is definitely chaotic enough to enjoy. A relatively intuitive control scheme makes it fun flying at high speeds through the levels, blasting away enemies, racking up the combos and just basking in the delights.
Kromaia Omega is an audio-visual splendor, though without it’s crazy visuals it would probably be fairly bland, it’s hard not to just be engrossed by it all. While you must complete the game with all four ships makes for repetitive gameplay, Kromaia Omega is played in sessions, make it easy to put down and go back to later. It’s clear this indie team have talent, with the game winning an award for best technology, it is an ambitious project. Though it may not accomplish feeling like a bullet hell, what it does do is create its own type of shooter. For its affordable price tag and with it being published physically for the PlayStation 4, the experience is well worth it as there is very little like it on the market.
Guest Blog Post by Jack @ThePnutbean and YouTube
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We're well in to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and more recently the Nintendo Switch eras of gaming. Graphics had never looked so smooth and gameplay had never flowed so fluently. Let's not forget the triumphant last Generation of gaming with the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii; all of which I have a lot of time for.
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