Chromagun: review

  • Format: Switch (Reviewed), PS4, Xbone, PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Pixel Maniacs
  • Developer: Pixel Maniacs
  • Players: 1
  • Site: http://pixel-maniacs.com/chromagun
  • Game code provided by the developer

Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed that we’ve previously reviewed Chromagun. For those of you who don’t remember or haven’t read the original review or don’t care, we thought it was quite good. But has our opinion changed much since then for the release of the Switch version? In short, not all that much. It is a port after all, but it still hasn’t fixed an issue with one of the last chambers and, really, that’s quite a disappointment.

Chromagun plonks you into a testing facility where a prototype non-lethal (but highly radioactive) gun is being tested around some very lethal environments and testing droids. It also features the disembodied voice of the person in charge of the facility. By now you must have caught on that it’s all fairly standard fare for a first person puzzle game.

Chromagun is about testing the eponymous, er, Chromagun, which is a gun that shoots colours. Red, Blue, and Yellow are your weapons of choice and it’s through shooting and mixing these that you’ll be expected to complete a series of arbitrary tests. Most of the test chambers are quite small puzzles, and can be solved very quickly before moving onto the next. There are some longer ones that string multiple tests together, but even those aren’t that challenging for most puzzle enthusiasts.

While the three main colours are the only ones you can shoot, you can mix any two primary colours to make a secondary one; green, purple, and orange. Adding anything further makes black, which in most cases is wholly useless and more of a nuisance, but we’ll get to that later. You’ll be firing said colours at not only walls, but droids that, change colours depending on what you fire at them. Droids of a particular colour are attracted to any and all walls and floors of the same colour (or at least, the ones that are in range and have line of sight). But being a droid is a lonely non-life, so they aren’t attracted to each other.

The droids have two different forms: ones that hurt you, and ones that don’t. The ones that hurt you have spikes all over them, so it’s fairly easy to tell that they’re going to be a problem. When they’re docile and don’t move – they’re basically in sleep mode. Touch them, or change their colour, and they’ll come gunning for you until they get attracted to something else. Using this behaviour to your advantage is not something you’ll have to do often. Most of the time they’re there to make things more difficult for you. Worst of all is if you accidentally turn them into the wrong colour, or if you turn them black – which isn’t attracted to anything at all. It’ll leave you running around in a panic as you try to go about your business without getting a really painful hug from one of them.

The biggest issue we have is how this affects the later levels that require a little more speed and precision rather than a level head. If you colour the wrong wall, floor or object it can often mean failure for a level, or having invincible droids that never stop following you. As there aren’t any ways of removing colours, sometimes botching things through mixing colours upon the fly or turning something black is the only way to correct yourself. If that isn’t an option then you have to restart the entire level, which obviously isn’t ideal if you make one small mistake that you wanted to correct.

As a handheld Switch game, it holds up very nicely. We never had any issues with frame rate. As each level is quite short, it’s something that works very well with picking up the Switch and playing in between doing other things (i.e. bus journeys, waiting for matchmaking in other games, toilet breaks, etc).

It passes the time nicely, and never got to the point where we felt lethargic playing it. It’s not the most unique of games, and a lot of it feels like you’re retreading the same ground as Portal – especially the disembodied voice – but that has more to do with the clinical, white testing chambers than the puzzles themselves. It’s also got a very pronounced colourblind mode, so you should be able to play even if you’re unable to see primary and secondary colours. And, if you can spare the money, you should.

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I’ve done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.


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