Chronoclysm isn’t another boring “retro pixel-style” Side scrolling shooter which we have suddenly become accustomed to over the last year or so. It is pixel based, but the gameplay mechanics are quite interesting.
DISCLAIMER: This game is clearly aimed towards the multiplayer audience, so you will need to take this review with a pinch of salt.
The mechanic which this game prides itself is time-travel. But not that you can control. A game which springs to mind with a similar mechanic is Super Time Force Ultra on the consoles, where once you die, instead of getting a game over screen, you respawn (unless you have run out of lives) and then fight alongside your previous self. It is a good mechanic in premise.
The game itself has 3 game modes, along with a records and options menu.
Arena is the multiplayer only mode, which I may have stumbled upon my testing of the game. It doesn’t come up with a message warning me and let me straight into the game. On my own.
Now once in a game, the graphics are gorgeous. I am a sucker when it comes to good pixel art and this game nails it. The art style is consistent between all the choice of players (which there are a lot of!) and they don’t get hidden, or get blown away by the background art. Very impressive!
I was put back by the fact that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out to pause or quit to the main menu once I got stuck in a single player multiplayer match. The controls are briefly mentioned on the title screen, but seemed to neglect the keys which mid game are referred to as Func1 and Func2.
Survival mode was a little different, and had both merits and areas which I would make some changes on. The positives on this mode are that, it is a fairly easy mode, but steadily gets trickier and eventually forcing you to use the time paradox-y abilities you have, as you try to cover multiple entrances at the same time. One area I would say to change is that despite the initial rounds maybe taking 10 seconds, you then have to wait 30, which became tedious after a while.
Challenge mode is the mode I seemed to enjoy the most. Although short, it is a time attack mode which I always end up replaying until I beat my own scores. The idea is you need to destroy all the targets in time. Simple, eh? Apart from the fact that you walk like a snail, and you have 18 targets to destroy in a measly 30 seconds. Cue time paradox abilities meaning you need to preplan each ‘life’ beforehand, as to make the most of the time.
The classes you get are fairly well balanced. I usually tend towards a mage in games which include them, but in this case, I favoured the knight. The mage had a fair wind up to the attack, and more often than not caused me to miss the enemy. The builder however seemed to be on the sidelines for a great deal as I couldn’t see the reasoning, apart from on challenge mode.
I did find a way to change the controls away from the default, and I would highly recommend doing it. The default controls are the usual WASD layout along with T and Y for the abilities. I do not know what the Func buttons are until I changed them. The controls seemed primed for multiplayer, for people huddling around one keyboard, which I would like to set myself if need be.
All in all, a fun little game, with some good mechanics in places. I would say if you want to give it a go, then ensure that you are with friends (or enemies.. who am I to judge?) and change the default controls.
EDIT: I have had contact with the Dev, and they have taken this review into consideration, and has made changes based on it.
The controls are now easily distinguished, which is a change which I have welcomed completely, it is well laid out, easy to see, and easy to learn.
I have also attempted multiplayer with Chronoclysm on Survival mode. The mode itself is great fun and a good laugh. The new stat screen is a nice touch and points out each class’s pros and cons.
My player 2 was a complete newcomer, yet found the game a great timekiller. When she joined it asked her to customize her controls (using a controller) and so she was instantly used to her controls. The time mechanic really comes into its own into the later levels with the fast fire snakes, and you can really start to see the advantages of using the builder, their bomb AoE attack is brutal on the baddies.(Sorry Builder for ever doubting you!)
So with this edit I would like to change the score I have given to Chronoclysm, which went from a good premise but okay execution, to a good premise, and a good execution. Multiplayer recommended completely, maybe a story mode can come in a later update? But for now its a great couch co-op bomberman-esque arena fighter which is great to kill a few hours with friends.