Chromagun originally came out on PC and consoles back in 2015. A sort of Portal-like homage to Valve’s sci-fi first-person puzzler, Chromagun is all about being a new employee sent on ever-increasingly difficult tests for ChromaTec. Your main tool? You guessed it, the Chromagun! The snarky narrator humor, the intentionally minimalistic level artwork, and the increasingly complex puzzles are all a page right out of Portal’s playbook. And while Chromagun does an awesome job taking on the FPS puzzle genre, a few things keep it from being a truly great experience. This is our Chromagun Switch review.
At first, the levels of Chromagun are deceptively simple. Pain this wall that color, mix these colors to make that color, attract this robot to that wall to open a door. But as you progress, the tests become increasingly complex and dangerous for you the tester. The robots in each level often wind up aggressive when you shoot them, meaning you have to avoid them and pain the walls the right colors to avoid death. Luckily, death just means restarting a level, but in some cases that can mean re-doing massive portions of a level over and over – it would be nice for longer puzzles to have “room” checkpoints.
One of my main complaints levied against Chromagun and Pixel Maniacs is that the gun itself is set up with the primary colors – Blue, Yellow, and Red in the left, top, and right positions on the gun. These positions perfectly correspond to the Y, X, and A buttons on the Switch controller. You’d think that swapping colors would correspond then, right? No. Instead, your eyes will tell you to press those buttons on the controller, and instead, the gun will pick the color that’s not tied to the button it should be, leading to a lot of confusion. Hopefully, this gets fixed in a patch, as it would make playing much more intuitive and enjoyable.
Similarly, the game makes you restart levels if you accidentally pass the point of no return. Paint a wall black when you meant to paint it red? Woops. Tough cookies. Destroy a bot you needed? Start over. It’s this kind of annoyance that could be fixed simply by letting players “recolor” walls or “erase” them back to white. Similarly, respawning bots would be lovely, as you might accidentally destroy or color ones the wrong way. This could also be solved by a checkpoint system.
In all, Chromagun is a good game. Held short of being a great game by some less-than-fully thought out design choices. It’s on the short side and doesn’t offer a whole lot of replay value, so your mileage on the $20 fee for the eshop game might vary. I had a great time playing it, but came away feeling frustrated by the above gripes, and hoping that Pixel Maniacs’ next offering doesn’t fall prey to the same avoidable pratfalls.