Version Reviewed: 1.0.0 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration [rating:3/5]
User Interface [rating:3/5]
We all know match-3. You match up 3 types of a certain object or colored object, and the matches which include 3 or more, gain you points. The concept isn't exactly new, in fact it's been around for quite a while now. I ran into Chromodyne a few days ago. The game takes this simple - almost ancient - concept, and adds a little depth. Literally.
Back story - The earth is in peril. There is a huge asteroid about to hit us - but wait - a machine called the Chromodyne has the power to stop it. As a lone Chromodyne operator, you battle to solve the mystery of the Chromodyne, all the while trying to defend off purposeful attacks from two mischievous aliens.
"As a Quantum Chromodynamic Cyclotron, or Chromodyne, operator, you are the last line of defense the Earth has against interstellar catastrophe! Should the planet become endangered by an asteroid, comet or some other Massive Extra-Solar Smasher (MESS for short) it is your job to use the Chromodyne to combine exotic matter, shooting it into the MESS and causing it to shrink and eventually phase out of our universe, thus saving the Earth from certain doom!"
Developed by Colin Walsh of Celsiusgs Game Studios, Chromodyne sees match 3 go 3D, and from the second I picked up the game somehow I instinctively knew how to play.
Set in a cosmic rendered environment, the game starts off with a board of 80 different multicolored and quite futuristic symbols, set out in a cylindrical fashion. This cylinder is called the Chromodyne, and it's split up into concentric rings, each of which are rotatable to up to 360°. As with all match 3-type games, your aim is to match up 3 or more of the same shape along the length of the Chromodyne.
The game plays out in two modes. Story Mode and Survival. In Story Mode you'll be introduced into the story behind Chromodyne, and as you can probably guess - being cosmic based, it centers around the survival of earth and all it's inhabitants. This is also the part of the game you'll be introduced to the 'retro-type' character design. Between each stage you complete on Story Mode, you'll come across Gary and Zarlax, otherwise known as 'the bad guys'. These guys are set on making your life hell, and succeeding in making the asteroid hit Earth. While these characters have dialog within the game, you won't find voice-overs here.
I don't know about you, but I've found this with a number of games, and while it doesn't totally spoil them, (and there's no doubting that some of this dialog is genius), it still doesn't change the fact that if a character's mouth is moving on screen, I kinda find myself wanting to hear a voice. It builds character personality, so I can relate to the situation. Just a little niggle I had. Moving on .. During each stage of Story Mode you get ten minutes to complete as many matches as possible. The amount of matches and points these have gained for you are shown in the bottom left. The amount of time you have left before the round ends is shown in the bottom right. Need to pause the game? You'll find the pause button on the right in the center.
Survival Mode on the other hand is a little different. In this mode the pressure is really piled on. In this mode, we see the introduction of a black hole, which gradually gets bigger as the level progresses, and in the top left you'll find a meter which monitors the size of this black hole. In order to reduce the black hole, you have to keep matching, matching, matching. Each match of 3 or more incrementally reduces it's size. The game ends when the black hole indicator reaches the circumference of the meter. In the last few seconds before the game ends, this meter will frequently flash red, warning you the black hole is about to devour your Chromodyne.
There are a few niggles with the game though. As mentioned above, the lack of voice over on written dialog doesn't really connect you with the in-game characters. Also, the lack of an online leader board or any form of multiplayer option means that for now, you'll be playing on your own, trying to beat your own score. That said, Chromodyne does seem to put a different and refreshing little spin on the whole match-3 diddy. The game is both visually exciting, and not to mention the soundtrack. I wasn't expecting the soundtrack. It's like a techno-like space-ish beat fest. Something that, although loops, is seriously great to listen to.
Taking everything into account, I like Chromodyne. It's certainly not the finished product, with no Twitter and Facebook integration, and no online leader board, this game can feel like you're playing it alone, and in my opinion it could do with a few additions as I mentioned above, a few of which I know Colin has in mind for the upcoming update. These include: New chapters to the story, Online leaderboards, and Head-to-Head multiplayer.
A refreshing title to watch, which (in my opinion) can only get better.