Eventually, enough is enough. There’s a time when you need to realize that just because something is good doesn’t mean you can continue to keep shoving out more of it like it’ll make something better. Kromaia Ω is a game that needed to learn that lesson. While there’s nothing glaringly wrong with Kromaia, sometimes it’s tough to tell because there’s just too many things blowing up to see anything behind it.
If Kromaia Ω has a story, it sure wasn’t coming across in the game itself. The most I could figure out is that some woman is really pissed at the four gods for something and sends you to kill them. The game’s story is basically told through rare on-screen text prompts, but it’s disjointed and skips around a lot. A glance at the game’s website reveals a little more, something to do with the multiverse and parallel universes, but I still can make sense of it. In the end, it’s not worth paying attention to or worrying about much.
What’s really going to matter for Kromaia is how it plays, and here it gets the basics right. You’ll be piloting one of four “armors”, which are basically the ships you can use in the game. The basic movement for each armor is the same: you can move and aim, roll to adjust the ship so you’re facing however you want, and use a boost to give yourself a quick burst of speed in any direction. You also can change the camera view. This is rather important, as the default viewpoint only seems to be good for covering vital information. I found the game’s two alternative viewpoints, one which keeps you locked to the bottom of the screen and the other being a first person view, to be much more useful.
Of course, you can also shoot, and each of the four armors has a primary and secondary weapon. I found the first armor you get, the Alpha, to be my personal favorite as its machine gun/shotgun combo was basically useful for any situation. Most of the other craft seemed to have something about them that drove me nuts. The Tau, which launched homing missiles, never seemed to hit what I wanted to. The Mu, which shot lasers that were supposed to deal heavy amounts of damage, felt like it was never actually doing much damage. Finally, the Psi’s close range sword did tons of damage, but its secondary blade launcher never seemed to hit anyone.
The game consists of four levels, one for each of the four gods. The first time you go through a level you’ll be assigned an armor, but after you beat the level you can use different armors in it. Each level consists of finding twenty jumpgate components scattered around the level to summon the boss, then killing said boss. There’s a compass to help you find the components, which is nice since the levels are huge with little to no defining features anywhere inside of them. The four levels aren’t very long, and once I got into things they only took about forty-five minutes to finish. Unfortunately, you need to replay each level with each armor to unlock the final boss. It’s pretty blatant padding that adds nothing to the game.
You can’t just collect components unharmed of course, you’ll have to fight enemies along the way. When levels start, they only feature stationary enemies that can be killed in one shot and don’t do much more than get in your way. Later on, you’ll get to see bigger enemies made of multiple parts, turrets, engines, and other constructs.
The game’s art style and love of particle effects actually makes fighting effectively difficult. Every time you kill an enemy, a screen obscuring explosion happens. Half of your weapons also make screen obscuring explosions. Enemy attacks blend in with the environments, and even with other enemies. After a few levels, I stopped trying to actually fight enemies, instead blitzing to each component to get that part of the level over as quickly as possible. There’s also only a single power-up in the form of a special craft that can shoot plasma and launch drones to damage enemies for me. Depending on what I was flying, sometimes I would actively avoid the power-up do to how much worse it is.
While this makes normal combat a slog, strangely the opposite happens for boss fights. I’m not convinced any of the bosses were actively trying to attack me. They’d throw out lasers or missiles on occasion, but they always kind of just got shot wherever and rarely in my general direction. There’s one exception to this, with a melee-focused boss, but honestly, I felt worse killing most of the bosses since they just sat around and waited to die. Even the last boss fell prey to this, letting me basically zoom up to it and wail on it with my sword until it exploded. The fight was over so quickly that it didn’t even manage to get through a monologue.
Kromaia Ω also has a co-op mode that’s pretty neat, allowing one player to take control of the ship and drive it around while the other has the guns. Much like the best co-op games, it can flip between being an entertaining romp of everything going to plan and an argument about who’s screwing up now quickly. It’s a fun distraction from the regular game, but since it’s just replaying the normal levels but co-op it also runs the risk of falling boring quickly. A “pure” mode also exists that challenges you to get through the whole game on one life, but outside of the challenge, I didn’t find that to be much fun. With it being so difficult to tell what’s going on, I often found myself being killed by who knows what.
Everything about Kromaia Ω works, but there’s little else to say. Some of the design decisions felt like they were made to make the game more confusing than it really needed to be, and there’s no good reason such a large amount of padding exists. Kromaia Ω can be fun in small bursts, but anything beyond that will probably drive you crazy.
I don't hate Kromaia Ω, but it's difficult to recommend this confusing game. Everything works, but it's hard to tell anything apart from anything else.