148Apps Network Post
Developer: Mindfruit Interactive
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Update: 12/18/2011 (Game Update: 10/15/2011), Version 1.2

I just received word from the folks at Mindfruit about the 1.2 update to Croma which was released a little while back. In short, it removes the one criticism I had about the game so now it’s pretty much as awesome as I originally wanted it to be. In other words, I can now shoot and swap from black to white and back without taking a finger off the screen. It’s still super-tough, but now I feel like failure is a result of my lack of planning/skills rather than a shortcoming of the controls. The score has been adjusted to reflect this most glorious tweak.

Light and dark. Yin and Yang. Black and white. The two elements/colors have been balancing each other out pretty much since the whole of existence started, well, existing, I guess. In a similar fashion, the concept of switching between worlds/modes/polarities – one light, one dark – has been used in games throughout much of their history to varying degrees of success. Croma makes fairly good use of the idea, but it could use a little polish.

The world of Croma, or at least the portion that’s viewed through the screen of an iOS device, is fraught with peril. Specifically lots of black and white circular perils of various sizes. They float down from the top of the screen and players have to use their little bubble-thing to blast them away. Unfortunately, black can only be touched by black and white by white, so they’ll also have to switch between the two colors constantly.

There are a lot of little (and deceptively hidden) touches that make Croma a bit more complex than it first appears. Different falling orbs behave differently, ranging from simply being heavier (thus, harder to shoot off-course) to bursting open to reveal numerous smaller offspring and more. Another nice touch is the use of a few different power-ups that give the gun-thing a temporary boost by way of a multi-shot, laser and so on. It’s important to show restraint when grabbing them though, as the power-ups become tied to whatever color they’re acquired with.

My one complaint about Croma is a simple one that has a rather profound effect on the game: no multi-touch. Swapping from black to white works okay when things are slow, but once the screen starts to fill up it can be problematic, and even detrimental, to remove that essential blasting finger to initiate the change. I know it sounds like a pointless little nitpick, but it honestly drags the whole experience down for me. Which is a shame because it’s a pretty fun game when it’s not beating me in the head repeatedly with this one issue.

Even so, the core experience of Croma is surprisingly well put together. As a pick-up-and-play arcade shooter, it’s a great and affordable way to kill time. I just hope that multi-touch support is added later through an update so I can keep playing it and actually get farther than a mere 108 seconds.

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