Taking the adventure of a puzzle game using a specialized, high-tech gun and running through a series of test areas isn't a brand new concept, but is always an interesting one. Being a huge fan of Portal, I was instantly intrigued to see another game being developed that featured this type of gameplay and brought with it a brand new element!
Pixel Maniacs has developed Chromagun, originally released on Steam, and brought it over to consoles. Taking their intricate puzzles to new heights, what with it increasing in difficulty the higher floor you reach, they give you a new toy to play with and use colors to make your way through the various challenges!
There isn't a lot for a story as there is little narrative given. Although, you are obviously in a science testing facility as a volunteer to test out their latest gear. The company, Chromatec, has a new color gun and an entire facility worth of ways to use it. It will be up to you to solve all the puzzles and make it to the top floor.
The game starts out with a look around at the scenery before it quickly jumps to giving you the tool featured in the game. Starting off with just one color before adding all three, the puzzles will need some knowledge that isn't usually focused on in the typical adult life; color mixing.
While you have a tool with the three base colors (yellow, red, and blue) you will have many instances where you will have to mix them to make purple, orange, or green. However, if you are mixing colors then know that three hits of any mix will cause the wall or ball to turn black and rendered useless! Unless that is the color you need of course.
They had it set where almost any wall could be colored and so gives you a chance to do a test mix in case you forget what combinations make what colors, but once you mess up you will have to restart the current puzzle, so make sure you are prepared! When there is a wall or ball that could not change color you could see a grid-like design covering it. This design presumably absorbs the impact of the color shot at it and retains the color it was originally, making a few sections a lot harder and require more thought.
The balls play a big role as they are used to cover the highlighted sections on the floor that would active a door. They are attracted to walls that are the same color that they are and get pulled in to it, making the necessity to color walls opposite each other the same color as the ball in order to center it. This is going to be a main challenge featured down to using this exact tactic to slide a ball where you need it to go without touching one of the electrified floor tiles that would destroy it!
Then there are the balls with spikes and/or electrified which will cause damage to you! While you will have to use these on your puzzles as well, when they are not attracted to any part of the wall then they are going to be attracted to, and chasing, you! This is both harmful and helpful, depending on the puzzle you are currently working on.
Check out some of the gameplay I captured during my play through:
The visual quality of the game is adequat to the style of game presented. While not everything looks completely realistic, or rather not much does at all, there is the surreal set of windows to see outside sky and occasional surroundings while everything inside looks cleaned and organized. The focus is on the different colors and how to use them in order to complete the puzzle, which the mostly white scenery does a great job at bringing it to your attention.
The music is repetitive, but not distracting, making a good balance to avoid silence all the time. There isn't always music which is fine for challenging moments, but when there is it's because of an event or just a puzzle that will take longer than the usual ones. The plops of the color balls hitting the objects sounds like shooting slime and matches the aesthetic of how the tool works. All together well balanced to avoid distracting players and maintaining a stimulation during concentration.
There is always room for speed running in a game like this and I can guarentee you won't remember how to solve everything after just one play through. However, it is the same game with no variations. Even after you beat the game, it just takes you to an elevator (after stopping by an office party with the developers) and brings you back to the beginning of the game.
What Could Be Better
I was hoping there would be a story of some kind or a boss fight like Glad0s from Portal, given that the game took inspiration from that game. Not too big of a disappointment, but would of added more incentive to completing the game.
A great puzzle game that starts off simple and gets very challenging near the end! Adding in the difficulty of completing sections with speed and precision along with other tests requiring elaborate thinking and study. Well balanced and worth the six hour play through to complete!
"It is literally like completing test rooms in Portal, but with color puzzles instead!"