Puzzle games are often used as a measuring stick for pseudo intellectuals who like to pretend that they are above, and beyond the average Joe. And for years, a(u/r)tistic titles such as The Witness, have only further enabled such people to create an opinion of themselves which is so far removed from reality, it has as much in common with the real world as sociology does with positivism.

The reason why games which revolve solely around solving puzzles are not as complex as their developers would like them to believe, is because they’re all situated within synthetic, and surreal environments. And once you remove any semblance of reality from the equation, and make the title all about solving the puzzles within what basically is a blank canvas, you make the player concentrate on puzzles and puzzles alone – in turn making the title much easier than it should be with the recently released Chroma Gun, it suffers from the same issues as the original Portal and The Witness, but also comes with a baggage of its own.

Chroma Gun is a first-person puzzle game, which has been visibly inspired by the aforementioned Portal. The entirety of the title is taking place within mostly white testing chambers. And just like in Portal, about half-way through the game turn on you in an attempt to kill you. The only difference between the two games, Chroma Gun and Portal, is the way in which one solves the said testing chambers. Initially, Chroma Gun starts you off with a series of easy puzzles which allow you to get to grips with its controls. Stage-by-stage, it begins to introduce its main colour shifting mechanic, which is at the core of all the puzzles from the second chapter onward.

Throughout the entirety of Chroma Gun, you’ll use the titular gun to paint and mix colours on predetermined surfaces and/or worker bots. And the bots themselves are nearly always the key to each and every puzzle. In-game, you’ll either have to move the bots out of your way in order to access the exit door, or use them to unlock it by moving them onto platforms with the use of corresponding colours. Chroma Gun, is in its majority composed of straightforward puzzles. You locate a worker bot, and transfer it to the desired location with the use of appropriate colour. Sometimes the title puts a spin on its core mechanic by adding a time constraint, or by the introduction of hostile elements such as security bots and electrified panels. But no matter what it does, the formula for success remains the same.

At the beginning, many will find Chroma Gun to be an interesting take on the genre. However, while it is interesting, it features a plethora of flaws and imperfections which many puzzle games are devoid of. For example, the aforementioned electrified panels are used to block player’s way, and in order to clear the path, one has to guide a bot through the electric current. But if one uses the wrong coloured bot, he/she will have to restart the entire level. And such issue doesn’t just occur within a single level, but throughout the entirety of the game. It could have been solved with a simple re-spawn mechanic for the bots, but unfortunately such has been out of reach for the developers of the title.

In total, Chroma Gun features eight unique chapters, with six to eight levels each and will keep one busy for about three hours, as it can be easily completed in one sitting, depending on whether or not you’ll get stuck on any of the puzzles. But it is highly unlikely for Chroma Gun to impede anybody’s progress, as it is incredibly easy. Levels are usually one dimensional, and the proverbial key can be discovered in seconds. To make matters worse, some levels are not tight enough, and allow the player to cheat by finding a right angle to paint a panel or a bot from an undesired location, ultimately skipping a big chunk of a level.

The fact the levels haven’t been play-tested, and tweaked to a point where they are concise enough to provide the players with the desired levels of challenge, can be problematic. However, Chroma Gun is a solid title, which will surely entertain many, despite its design related flaws, as with time many will just get used to them. But unfortunately, Chroma Gun also suffers from a handful of technical issues, which can be too overwhelming for some players. At the current time, Chroma Gun suffers from serious framerate drops. Whenever one turns too quickly, or makes a series of too many erratic movements, the framerate will just plummet. And during the early stages, such issues are just an inconvenience. But once the title enters its final third, where some levels require impeccable timing, and speed – the entire thing simply collapse on its self, and gets overexposed.

In addition to the unstable framerate, Chroma Gun is also full of many visual quirks, which come from the fact that the developer has pushed for photorealism, instead of a simpler presentation. You can see that Pixel Maniacs, the developer, was either incapable of creating visual presentation that would be up to par with modern indie games, or simply ran out of funds which would allow creation of such. This is unfortunate because pixelated textures, archaic models of NPCs, and the fact that the titular gun is floating above player’s hand, are all jarring and ultimately take away from the overall experience.

In short, it has to be said that Chroma Gun is an enjoyable title, which will surely satisfy many. However, it simply feels out-of-time in today’s market, as its overall quality is subpar in comparison to other indie titles which came out earlier this year, or even years prior. It simply feels dated, and in many ways, out of place. However, it is worth playing simply for the core, colour-based concept. But it has to reiterate that it is not a perfect game by any means, and that you have to be wary of its technical flaws which may be patched out in the future, but at the current time is unfortunately a part of the package.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.