The word polychromatic means a variety or change of colours. It also means being related to radiation made up of more than one wavelength. Polychromatic the game is both of these things and a little bit more.
Harking back to the days of the classic twin-stick blaster much in the vein of classic games of the genre such as Asteroid and Robotron, Polychromatic tries to emulate the style and feel of these games. Developer Brushfire Games have also tried to add their own modern twist into the game to spice things up a little.
Space is a circle on your screen and it appears to be occupied by many, constantly spawning multicoloured shapes that seem hell bent on your destruction. You are a small blue square flying around inside this mass of multicoloured polygonal killers, firing straight line projectiles at your enemies in a bid to survive. To help you on your way you also have a few other little tricks up your sleeves.
The control scheme for this game is simple enough. Your left stick controls your movement and the right stick controls the direction in which your weapons fire. You also come equipped with a limited amount of dash, which allows you to increase your speed and become invincible for a limited amount of time and also a blast function which sends out a wave effect that kills most of the enemies on screen at that time. These are controlled by pressing your bumper and trigger buttons respectively. These last two abilities are more than a little useful for getting you out of some tricky situations.
There are three game modes available to play, Endless, Timed Mode and One Life. Each of these game modes throws a slightly different variant into what is essentially exactly the same game. The basic principle is that you shoot the enemies as they attack you while moving around the limited space that you have. Kill an ever increasing number of enemies to pass each wave and receive bonuses for doing so. These bonuses may be extra dash or blast power-ups, extra time or extra lives. Every few waves your main weapon will upgrade as well, improving fire rate and offering more streams of fire.
In Endless mode you have three lives and the waves keep on coming until all three of your lives are used up. Timed mode sees you have an unlimited number of lives but also a time limit. This timer starts at two minutes and more time can be gained by completing waves of enemies. The third and final mode, One Life mode see’s you take on an unlimited number of waves but with (obviously) only one life, so make one mistake and you’re done.
All the time that you play in the background is a constant, low volume drum of techno music. At first this is a little irritating but in latter waves, when things are getting a little hairy, this music really turns up the tempo of the game and adds to the feeling of panic that starts to build. I found this to be especially prevalent in the timed mode. As the clock began to count down the last twenty seconds the pressure really started to build and the music only added to this.
Timed mode was the mode I found myself been drawn back to. As I said before, when the counter starts to get low the pressure really builds and you start counting down the number of kills to finish the wave just so you get those precious extra seconds to try to beat that high score.
Polychromatic is fun to play but not for long. There isn’t much in the game to keep you playing and all of the game modes are just too similar to bring any kind of variety to the game. The only thing included to keep you playing after the first half hour or so is the leaderboards. It is here that you can compete with friends and also the global community. These leaderboards do give you a reason to have just one more go. You were close last time, maybe you can get higher up the board this next time.
Costing £6.99 from the Xbox Store this is a fun game to play but the fun won’t last too long before the repetitiveness starts to take it’s toll. If leaderboards are your thing then this could be the game for you as that is the only thing I can see that would give this game much replay-ability. Maybe the addition of online or local coop play would give this game a longer lifespan but sadly both of these are missing from Polychromatic.
This is a good attempt at emulating some classic games from a long history of twin-stick shooters but sadly falls a little short of the mark. The game looks bland and game play becomes repetitive all too quickly. That been said, for the short time that this will keep your attention it is a lot of fun to play and cold be a good game to dust off to kill the odd half an hour every now and then.
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