Experiencing color is a huge part of many sensory experiences. Some colors pass on a meaning or a symbolism, while others can make things more or less appealing. Even the absence of color can affect an experience on a sensory level. ChromaGun is a game about color that seems to be visually inspired by Portal and other Valve titles. ChromaGun is NOT a fan-game or a mod of Portal and is a separate game created by publisher and developer Pixel Maniacs.
In ChromaGun, you are a human put into a series of testing chambers for the ChromaGun. This gun can change the color of things, providing a number of possibilities for puzzle solving. It is immediately obvious from the beginning of the game that ChromaGun maintains the same sort of humor as Portal and other games like it. There is an emphasis on humor as your guide leads you through the various testing chambers.
The ChromaGun allows you to paint walls or objects with color. Droids and other robotic obstacles (some of which are violent) are drawn to surfaces that are the same color as they are. You can use the ChromaGun to bypass obstacles, using the various colors to properly navigate. Energy mesh prevents you from painting certain aspects of the environment, which is where the puzzle elements come in.
The controls (with a gamepad) are a little twitchy, but with a mouse, you can adjust the sensitivity in the options menu. One great aspect of ChromaGun is the colorblind mode. Considering 8% of the world’s population is colorblind, Pixel Maniacs provided an option that makes each color correspond to a different symbol, making it fully playable for the colorblind.
The puzzles start out simple, mixing the primary colors to guide droids to various places. As you progress they become more complex, adding things like electrified flooring, which serve as both hazards and puzzle elements. The worker droids also become more complex, as some can harm you upon touching them, while others are entirely harmless. In order to proceed through the entirety of the ChromaGun’s test chambers, you will need to be very careful and pay great attention to the details of each chamber.
ChromaGun also has a speed-running mode for gamers who like to test their limits and want to participate in a different sort of speedrun. I personally cannot imagine playing on the speedrunner mode, as the game is frustrating enough in places without racing against the clock.
Make no mistake, ChromaGun quickly becomes difficult and does require critical thinking and creative use of game mechanics to succeed. Despite saying that, ChromaGun is incredibly fun, and I found myself losing hours in going through test chambers. The colors are vibrant: the mechanics are imaginative and interesting. While it is clear that it is inspired by Portal and its testing chambers, the game itself is well polished and interesting. I greatly applaud the foresight by the developers to create a colorblind mode for the game as well; it isn’t often that developers think of ways to make games more accessible. With a game that has color as such a vital part of it, the colorblind mode is heavily useful if you are visually unable to tell colors apart.
On the other hand, one of the few problems that ChromaGun has is that the difficulty scales in weird ways. Some levels are brain-numbing and difficult, while others can be breezed through quickly. These difficulty spots may be subjective, depending on how each player looks at things. Gamepad controls are somewhat sensitive as well, but other than minor issues, I applaud Pixel Maniacs for their well crafted game.
If you like Portal, or other puzzle and exploration games, ChromaGun is worth every penny. From its clean, crisp visuals, to the imaginative color mechanics it offers, this game won’t disappoint you. Any age of gamer can enjoy it, making it great for family play. Something else to think about is that parents who want to teach their kids how to mix primary colors may find this game very useful. ChromaGun is a fun, frustrating exploration of color, and puzzle fans are sure to love it.
A PC Review Code was provided by Pixel Maniacs for the purpose of this review