Game Review: Chromanoids (iOS)
Release: May 12, 2011
Developer: Hothead Games
Size: 15.6 MB
The App Store early on found its success by offering dirt cheap games that delivered quick bursts of fun for those moments when you’d normally be yawning and checking your watch. Fast forward a few years later and its the same story, only now a few developers have began pumping out some solid games at relatively low prices, amongst a sea of one trick ponies. Now that even the most casual mobile gamer has been shown how much bang his or her buck can get, it’s tough to remain impressed by titles that only entertain for an hour or two, even if at one point in time they could have been considered worth it. Enter Chromanoids.
In Chromanoids, you play as a Captain of a space fleet with the task of fending off Chromanoid ships. The core gameplay resembles classic Missile Command type games where you have waves of enemies honing in at you, and you must shoot down the enemy to prevent them from reaching you and sending the ‘game over’ screen your way. The clever little twist is that each enemy ship has a color, and you must shoot it with the matching color. At the bottom of the screen you’ll find a red area you can tap, along with blue and yellow. So if you see two red ships speeding toward you with a blue not too far behind, you’ve got to tap red, shoot twice, then tap blue, and shoot down the last remaining ship. Since each ship travels at different speeds, not only do you have to match the color, but you’ve got to time your shots so that either your projectile takes care of things, or the radius of its explosion does. You do this simply by tapping anywhere on the screen and you’ll unleash your weaponry.
Things get interesting when you start having green, purple, or orange enemies which have you needing to remember which primary colors do what when mixed with one another. So if you’ve got a green ship spiraling toward you, you have to quickly tap blue then yellow (or any combination of the two) to create green so you can properly gun them down. It’s a unique concept, and adds an extra layer of suspense to each wave.
Even with the unique twist to a classic formula, I found myself ready to move on from Chromanoids quite quickly. Despite the advancement of waves, I didn’t feel any sense of progression or award for making it ahead in the game. I believe with a little more effort spent on the story itself, along with an overhaul of the visuals, Chromanoids could have left a much better taste in my mouth. I applaud them for attempting a story, as a lot of developers wouldn’t have bothered, but they only went half-way with it. If there was a little more purpose behind things, moving on from wave to wave could have felt a little less mundane. The biggest weakness in the game however are the visuals. They’re not sharp on the Retina Display, and the environments are far too stale to hold anyone’s attention for this type of repetitive game. Another potential pitfall the game has going for it is the fact that you need to have credits in order to continue playing the game (think of the credits as virtual quarters). While I never found myself short of credits, I did read some user reviews from people who ran out and were enraged that they had to use the in-app store to buy more credits to keep playing a game they already bought.
+ Story Mode
+ Unique color mixing concept
+ 5 Game Modes
+ Game Center Support
When it comes down to it, Chromanoids isn’t necessarily a bad game at all. Really, it’s a cool concept, and Hothead Games even attempted a story mode. I know it’s a mobile game, and it’s only a buck, but it suffers from the same thing the majority of mobile games have gotten away with, and that is a lack of depth. I know most people aren’t looking for that in this market, but even the hour it held my attention for hardly seemed worth it. If you like classic defense shooters, this game may offer just enough with its refreshing color mixing formula to send you over the moon and back, but for everyone else, it’s going to feel very stale and be quickly forgotten.