The Shoot-em-up (Shmup) genre is one that both defies and excels at evolving. For every Ghost Blade, there is an Ikaruga. The genre’s concept is so simple, it accommodates both change and conformity with equal grace. Kromaia evolves the concept of a 3d-based shump, without forgetting its arcade roots, combining it with a sharp art style and just enough mystery to keep the player invested.

Developed by Kraken Empire, Kromaia is a game that gives the player complete, six-axis freedom to move as they wish through a beautifully rendered world. Using a gamepad or joystick is an utter dream. It takes a little time to warm up to the controls on the keyboard, however, due to the level of flexibility and freedom they give. Once you’ve got the hang of it, though, they work like a dream, sans a little clunkiness with some combat mechanics. Kromaia-PK-07

Speaking of, you’ve got a decent choice of how you go about combat. Being able to change your ship lets you change your weapons, from classic shooting to melee weapons, perfect for space duels. Unlike many other games in the genre, Kromaia features adaptive AI that changes  enemy speed and formations based on how you play the game. This makes every playthrough unique and keeps you on your toes as you dart around space.

Graphically, there is very little to complain about. Everything looks crisp and sharp, and the lighting effects give the game a glorious sci-fi feel. The player model is, admittedly, a little clunky design-wise, but it is a small price to pay in comparison to the world. This, combined with the synth-heavy soundtrack, builds a very immersive experience that is perfect for nighttime sessions.

Unfortunately, the game does have some problems. Combat can take a little too long to get used to, especially in high-density enemy scenarios. Bumping into objects can also leave the player disorientated, though this becomes less of a problem as time goes on. The biggest issue I had was motion sickness, caused when quickly darting around the area. It wasn’t a huge issue, but it was enough to stop me from playing for long periods of time.

However, the game is an utter blast. Even with shorter bursts, it is incredibly entertaining, and a great addition to the shmup genre. Players new and old to the genre will have a ton of fun playing Kromaia, exploring the world and losing yourself to the incredible atmosphere. Just be sure to take a break now and then.

Kromaia has been greenlit on Steam, and is due to be released later this year.

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