Overall Score 80%
"The Chromates are a cute race of strange quantum particles. They travel throughout the universe seeking intelligent forms. They are here, and they are studying us." That's the main tagline for new puzzler Chromentum, a game that mixes Sokoban with Pool and a touch of physics.
In Chromentum, you take charge of small golden Chromates (shiny spheres with eyes). Your Chromates can be called to action with either the left mouse button (move) or the right (shoot). These actions help you to manouevre around the level, placing your golden Chromates onto the appropriate spaces.
In addition to the golden Chromates, you'll also have to manipulate non-controllable silver Chromates around the levels too. Using simple physics, you'll discover that the golden Chromates can knock the silver Chromates around the top-down levels using the shoot action, sometimes starting a cascade.
If you didn't understand my attempts to describe the game, don't worry, the easiest levels in the demo will teach you the basics. Once you do understand, you'll find more than 300 levels in Chromentum, all based on the same premise, and most requiring a good deal of thought and planning to complete.
To add variety, the developr has included a large range of categories in the game. Starting you with simple levels, you'll find increasing challenges in the Mini-levels, Bonus Levels and the story-driven Quest modes. The Quest modes are definitely the best part of the game, with a good sense of humour in the storytelling.
I found the game to be quite difficult, with some of the levels being completed either by luck or trial and error - this might be due to my tendency to dive in without planning though. The game does have a clever auto-complete mode which shows how it should be done. After viewing a few of the levels in this way, I'm convinced that you need to plan your actions beforehand.
Puzzle games generally struggle to dazzle with the visuals, so its good to see that Alpha 72 have made a special effort here. The Chromates have plenty of character, and the maps are nicely detailed. Sound effects help further the Chromates charms. The same isn't true of the music however which quickly annoys.
With the ability to turn the game music off, and plenty of game mode variety, the developers have put together a solid game with Chromentum. If you like puzzle games, and a tough challenge, then you should certainly take a look.
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