Space shooters with full 3D movement aren’t the most common genre these days. The most recent one that comes to mind is Strike Suit Zero, a solid indie title with mech mechanics that made a minor splash when it came out a couple years ago, but you definitely don’t see entire series of them like back in the day with Wing Commander and the Starlancer games. That’s why Kraken Empire’s Kromaia is an interesting game, particularly coming from an indie studio that doesn’t appear to have any other titles under their belt.
Kromaia has you piloting a ship called an Armor in a trippy surrealistic world clearly inspired by the classic Rez. Your job is to fly around and collect jump gate components, then kill the boss that results, preferably doing both while blasting the crap out of everything that moves. You’ve got a selection of four Armors, each with differing capabilities like a laser or a shotgun, so you’re able to tailor your weapon to the task at hand. There’s some kind of plot revolving around sealing away gods or something like that, but it’s very abstract. Fortunately it also doesn’t really intrude on the gameplay so you can safely forget about it.
Since this is a full-freedom shooter, you’re going to be constantly and endlessly assaulted by baddies coming from all over the place. It tends to be a bit of a mess, particularly if you aren’t familiar with this sort of game and haven’t put hours of practice into Freelancer or what have you. Simply escaping from your foes might work for awhile but you’re bound to get overwhelmed before long, so it’s definitely better to keep your surroundings clean as best you can. It’s definitely easier said than done.
The ocean of enemies is actually a little disappointing, since the way you’re under fire at all times distracts from Kromaia’s gorgeous visuals and audio as well as making it very difficult to avoid enemy attacks. Boss battles are amazingly nice-looking but amount to much the same; fly around, zap the shiny bits, don’t die or you’re starting over. It would start to drag after a while if Kromaia weren’t fairly brief, with only four levels available that you need to play through with each Armor to complete the game. Once that’s done, the main reason to keep going is to further improve your high scores.
Kromaia is short enough that it won’t take you long to see it all, but probably worth seeing if you’re into dogfighting games or can appreciate a psychedelic art style. It’s great for short bursts of play since the highly aggressive enemies and intense visuals are actually a little draining. If you enjoyed Rez, you’d do well to pick up Kromaia just for kicks and see if it moves you. No doubt it’s frustrating at times, but still easy to recommend to others as well.