‘Kromaia’ Review

Platforms PC

Publisher Rising Star Games Developer Kraken Empire

Genre Action/ Space Combat Platform Played PC

It feels weird to start off a review by giving you advice, but if you happen to purchase Kromaia, press F1 or F2 to change the camera. You won’t find this advice anywhere in the key bindings, and my experience with the game was made better when I accidentally stumbled upon it. Kromaia is a space combat game developed by Kraken Empire and published by Rising Star Games. Kromaia is a polarising experience. Its visuals and sound design filled me with pure joy as colourful, fluorescent explosions filled the screen. Yet, the often chaotic nature of combat and a few frustrating mechanics quickly turned that joy into agony.

Kromaia’s art design provides the game with a unique feel that kept me wanting to go back to be amazed over and over again. It creates a distinct, mysterious digital feel that’s better seen than described – but I will try anyway. The environments are filled with mostly white floating structures which create an intriguing setting for exploration. Meanwhile, the decision to represent the player’s ship and enemies with fluorescent colours is awe inspiring as they are superbly accentuated by juxtaposing to the vast darkness of space. Blowing up enemies results in colourful explosions that fill the screen. It is extremely fun to be bombarded by so much colour, especially when the frame rate remains smooth and constant throughout the whole experience. I can’t say I have played anything like it. When I jump into the game I am tremendously thrilled by the vibrancy every time.  Yet, at times I felt that there was too much happening at once.

Being an open world shooter, you always have to manage where all of the enemies are on your screen, including the ones which may be behind you, and which ones are shooting glowing eye balls at you. When the explosions start rolling, it is easy to lose track of the enemies, and their projectiles, often resulting in cheap deaths. According to the developers, the enemy AI adapts to your play style and how well you are playing, but in-game you do not notice it. I would have loved the ability to turn down the difficulty to limit the number of enemies, but changing the difficulty only determines how often you get save points.

The audio adds to the digital vibe created by Kromaia’s visuals. The thrusters make the ships sound fast and powerful and the guns have a futuristic appeal. Furthermore, the explosions create a boom with a great bass that is extremely satisfying to the ears. The sound effects are complemented by a dramatic, mysterious, electronic score that encourages exploration and fast movements. It is also addictively catchy.

However, the rewards I got for exploration were not as interesting as I had hoped. Albeit, I have not managed to collect everything so there may be a hidden surprise for treasure hunters who do.

Despite the amazing design around the gameplay, certain other choices get in the way of greatness. Firstly, Kromaia’s story is nearly non-existent, simply acting as a motif for exploring its four worlds. From the few brief text-based cut-scenes, four gods have caused some kind of trouble and it’s up to the player to defeat them. Kromaia is a game which places emphasis on everything else other than its story and the narrative in place leads to a very repetitive play time. Essentially, the player must defeat each of the four gods – which are the boss of each level – with each of the four space craft available.

Each ship corresponds with a different colour, yellow, green, red or blue, and each has different primary and secondary weapons. While the primary weapon is a slightly different variant of a default auto attack weapon – bar the blue ship’s unique primary attack being melee based – each secondary ability is vastly different and requires a slightly altered way of playing. The yellow ship’s shotgun and green ship’s homing rockets allow for the same level to be approached in a diverse manner. Despite the diversity, I always felt like repetitiveness was ripe.

In each of the four levels, which must be replayed with each ship, there is only one goal: fly through 20 spheres, or jump gate components, and defeat the final boss. In a nutshell, boss battles consist of just dodging the same attacks over and over again while shooting all of the glowing spots. During my play time, only one of the bosses actually altered their attack. This results in about five to ten minutes of flying around, dodging attacks and attacking back, which can all be undone when your ship gets hit by something you failed to see because of the chaos on the screen.

This chaos is partly due to three things, the enemies which provide constant harassment while you are trying to navigate the environment to collect the jump gate components, the movement system, and the impact mechanics. This is where I elaborate on why you should change the camera A.S.A.P. The default camera is set to a third person view. While I have no issues with the camera, there is no cross hair to tell you where your bullets are going. When enemies were firing at me and beautiful explosions filled the screen, I found it near impossible to actually hit any targets. Pressing F1 will switch to a first person camera, while F2 is a camera somewhere in between the two. The difference is that both of these cameras provide you with the closest thing Kromaia has to a cross hair, and it improves the gameplay critically. Rather than being frustrated about not being able to shoot any enemies, I was finally able to connect my shots. In a game that puts combat at the forefront, being able to shoot accurately is a definitive factor with regards to enjoyment of Kromaia.

There is also another issue which arises with the movement system. Kromaia is not like most air craft piloting games. Rather than only being able to move forward, you can move more like a first or third person shooter in Kromaia. The ship can move forward, backward, left, right and up and down. I am not a fan of flying games, but Kromaia’s movement system provided me with a movement system I was more familiar with. It also adds a new layer to combat, being able to use the boost to dodge in six directions. With that said, some of the levels required precision movements to collect the jump gate components, and I sometimes felt the ship’s movements were too floaty for the accuracy required. Nevertheless, when in open space the movement system felt great and made the gameplay fast paced most of the time.

What frustrated me the most about Kromaia was the impact system. For some reason, if I hit anything – asteroids, walls, floors, etc. – the ship would be turned around to face some other direction, rather than just stopping. It constantly left me disorientated. When this happens regularly, and enemies are surrounding you, sometimes turning you around yet again, you start to lose the high created by the visuals.


Kromaia is a case of a great concept, with a few design choices that limit the experience. On the one hand, the visual design and audio are superb and create a unique experience. The movement system allows a different, refreshing approach to combat than most other space combat games, and the fast paced gameplay is fun once you change the camera to be able to shoot accurately. However, the chaos ever present on the screen often leads to cheap deaths. The floaty feeling of the controls lead to some difficulty navigating tight spaces, and the impact system left me disorientated after only small bumps. If none of that bothers you, the only thing impacting your decision will be the repetitive nature of the game, requiring you to play the same four stages four times, just with different ships and colour palettes. It is a fun experience, but the negatives begin to take hold quite quickly.

The Good

  • Gorgeous, vibrant visuals
  • Sound effects add intensity to combat
  • Catchy score
  • Fast paced combat

The Bad

  • A case of too much on the screen at once
  • Impact system disorientates
  • Repetitive design
  • Default camera has no cross hair

The Score 6.9