January 26, 2013
The controls in Chronovolt are anything but solid, as it has a strange mix analog stick and touch pad controls. At times the ball may slip around on the maze causing it to fall, restarting the entire level. There are also enemies that appear on the screen and you're tasked with dispatching them using the touch screen mechanics - not a very good idea when combined with movement. Instead, it would probably have been better to use tilting mechanics for moving around and the rear touch pad to take out obstacles.
One of the only redeeming qualities of the gameplay is the ability to rewind time by holding two thumbs down on the screen. This stops items from moving for a brief period of time and you can move around without being harmed. If you remove your thumbs from the screen time becomes normal again. But this in no way means that the timer stops moving, so you're still up against the clock.
None of this is helped by the graphics featured in the game - the frame rate is just way too slow. It makes sections of the game more difficult than they need to be, which just creates frustration. It also doesn't feel like enough effort was put into the levels as they look bland and lack any sense of originality. If you fall through the floor you'll see that the graphics become a single layer with nothing underneath it - not that uncommon for this genre, but that that inspiring either.
It really feels like this part of the game is incomplete and it really takes you out of the experience completely. The best graphical moments take shape when characters are shown on screen during small conversations between them - not something which should have been a highlight.
To further the graphical issues, if you turn the camera away from an object it disappears completely and while using a lift the screen shakes and causes the picture to become fuzzy. This causes the fluidity of the game to drop even further.
Things don't get any better when judging the music either, as the atmosphere while completing puzzles is just plain boring. The music only occasionally plays, with the sounds of nature gracing your ears the rest of the time. This game could really benefit from a steampunk-esque soundtrack or something that fits the theme of the stage. Music is often something that is key to a puzzle game's success, but sadly it's something that Chronovolt misses out on. When you do hear music at the menu it is bland and unexciting and does little for the overall experience.
To expand gameplay options, you can buy a pack of four different Chronospheres for $0.99. These should have been unlockable in the game and not a buy-able add-on. The developers could have tasked players with collecting parts to create new Chronospheres and this could have been implemented this into the story some way - it would have at least given it more replay value. The other spheres mash enemies with heavier hits, allow for faster travel, attacks other Chronovolts automatically, and boosts their power respectively.
To rub salt in the wound, you aren't allowed to advance in the game without completing each puzzle in a set amount of time. This is quite difficult if you do not purchase the add-ons and it's disappointing that this then becomes a buy to win game.
Chronovolt is free for Playstation Plus subscribers, and if you don't have a subscription, it's not worth the purchase at all. The game lacks the basic elements of a successful puzzle game, offering poor gameplay and music. The story is throwaway, but that's to be expected - it's just disappointing that there are so few redeeming qualities to the game. Even if you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber, do yourself a favor and try to ignore this title.
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