As I stumbled my way through the Indie Arcade section of Eurogamer Expo 2013 I fell upon a game that still has me wondering why on Earth no-one had thought of it before. A puzzle platformer, I Am Claw's Chroma is a... hey HEY! Where are you going? Oh I geddit. 'Yet another indie puzzle platforming game'. Like the world needs another one of those? Right? RIGHT? Well, oh cynical one, Chroma is somewhat different from the vast horde of indie puzzle platform jumping titles, as it uses shadows to make new platforms. There, I thought that would grab your attention!
The player controls a shadowey blob that encounters a bright light. This light infuses the player and in turn grants the power to create shadows that can be used to traverse the dark world of Chroma. The only light that is emitted in the world is the player character's brilliant glow. As shadows are cast around platforms and blocks, ramps are created, which can then be used to walk up and down so you can cross vast chasms that ordinarily would be impassable.
This innovative yet simple use of shadows force the player to see illumination in a level in a very different light. See what I did there? No? Oh, please yourself. Anyway, as the player jumps and runs from one platform to another the shadow cast by them becomes the focus of attention. Every separating line between darkness and light is a ramp to more areas of the level.
The visuals are of the pixelated variety, with some mistakenly describing this type of graphics as '16-bit', when in fact such machines would not be able to display these forms of graphics with such fluid animation, let alone the light sourcing Chroma
uses so extensively. It is a very fitting style for the game as it presents a juxtaposition of fun-filled puzzle platforming with what is a very dark and dank world.
Aside from the use of shadows, the use of sound in Chroma
does so much to immerse the player into the game's world. Spot effects of water dripping and the echoing of every footstep drew me in so much that I actually forgot I was at Eurogamer Expo at all. For a brief while it was just me and Chroma
and the hustle and bustle of the Indie Arcade corridor was lost to me. The one audio flourish that really got me was the forlorn note that is played every time the character switches from dark to light. I never tired of hearing this note as it only intoned when I was going to make progress from one place to another.Chroma
is heading for PC, Mac and Linux platforms and is projected to appear in the latter part of 2014. I for one cannot wait for it to brighten my day.