Travel with me to a time before VR ready graphics cards and lightning fast NVMe SSDs. When you couldn’t boot up Steam and have thousands of games at your fingertips. A time when games were played on big arcade cabinets and they were nowhere as flashy as they are now. 8 bits were all you needed and nothing gave you more street cred amongst your peers than having the high score on a game at the arcade.
According to the Steam page you play as “the Galactic Consul’s best star pilot, Crome”. But who cares what the Steam page says? The game does not directly tell you the story. Nor does it show it through the gameplay. Arcade games didn’t always tell a story. They were made to give you simple and addictive gameplay. The story was secondary. You could be a pilot from NASA on a mission to kill the skull overlord that is on his way to destroy Earth. Or you could be an alien in a mecha purging the souls of dead pilots and helping them move on. Really the plot is whatever you want it to be.
Crome is made with the Unity engine and is in a very simple 8 bit art style. The gameplay is simple and addictive. All you get is a little ship that can shoot and a 2D environment you can move in. You will face 9 different enemy types placed cleverly in the waves you go through. The enemies have a nice way of complementing each other. For instance if the ships that shoot tracking bullets stand behind enemies with shields, that spells bad time for the player.
You shoot your way through Crome: Before Purgatory by holding down the fire button, which makes you shoot rapidly, or by letting your shots charge and shooting a big exploding projectile. These shots can charge up to three times which gives you a hugely powerful explosion but it takes approximately one month to charge. These simple attacks give you a bit of variety in the way you can tackle certain situations. This sort of makes up for the fact that there are no weapon power-ups.
There is only one boss in the game, at least up to the point that I got to, and he looks pretty cool. He shows up a few times between waves to give you a hard time and he gets tougher with each encounter. There is one more important thing that I haven’t mentioned so far… The game has a leaderboard. I know of no better way to promote competition between friends than to give them a game with a leaderboard. There is something about having your name show up at the top of a one that wakes up a pleasant nostalgia in me and pushes me to be the best there ever was. Oh and Crome: Before Purgatory has a pretty cool 8 bit soundtrack.
Should you check it out?
I can see all types of people enjoying this experience. New gamers that want to feel the simplicity of the glory days of gaming and old school arcade veterans who are in search for the next Galaga. Crome: Before Purgatory is definitely something you should check out when it comes out. You can find it on Steam. Also check out its bigger brother Super Crome: Bullet Purgatory.