by Robert Thomas
reviewed on PC
Bringing Back Local Multiplayer
Local co-op is a fleeting thing in the world of online gaming. Games where you can sit in front of the TV and play a fun, competitive game with or against a friend are becoming scarcer. Those nostalgic days are not gone, however, thanks to Chronoclysm, a local multiplayer, battle arena game that harkens back to the old NES days of gaming. Chronoclysm is an enjoyable versus experience that might be small, but has quite a bit of character.
Nostalgic Couch Co-op
As a competitive battle game, the meat of the experience is, of course, in the arena mode. Each player will select a color, and then pick a mage, a builder, and a knight from a variety of designs. Once a round starts, each player will select one of the three classes to play as, with the three playing somewhat differently. The Mage uses ranged combat, casting spells at opponents, while the Knight swings a sword to hit other plays up close. The Builder is a more unique class; in addition to using his hammer for close range combat, he can also build small, one tile bridges that allow him to move through the battlefield unconventionally. Rounds are short, so once they're complete, players can change their class for a different strategy. There are 10 maps, and each has alternate forms, so things keep being interesting for some time.
There are also two other modes players can try, with both single-player and multiplayer options. First off, there's a challenge mode, that asks players to move through a small map, smashing targets as fast as they can. The other is survival, where one or more players have to fight through waves of enemies. The survival mode is pretty fun alone, but with a friend, it's a blast. The difficulty really ramps up after awhile, very similar to old NES games. However, the challenge mode is just too basic to have a lot of fun playing.
An Authentic Design
Like the gameplay, the graphics are reminiscent of 80's pixel graphics. The developer, however, didn't limit himself to designs only the NES was capable of. There's a wide spectrum of colors and very pretty visual designs here. Many of the characters look genuinely cool, a few being references to other games, while some seem inspired on their own. Since there are over a dozen characters for each of the four colors, this is no small feat.
My ears did not enjoy the nostalgia as much my eyes, however. The sound, though reminiscent of the NES, is less than amazing. There's a variety of songs, but all the tracks blend together; none really stand out as incredibly original. A few songs have those very high-pitched, sharp notes that are not pleasing to hear whatsoever. These same sounds can also be heard in many of attacks. It's very authentic, but I believe authentic was not the route to go for this part of the game.
Missing A Key Component
As a battle arena game, Chronoclysm is lacking one very large feature; an online mode. With a one-man development team, getting online play was too difficult a task, so the only way to play this game is to do it locally. Playing in the same room as my friend was a lot of fun, but I didn't have enough controllers to bring over 4 friends to play. Judging from the Steam page, many people have the same problem as I do. Maybe an online battle mode will come eventually, but as of now, that is one area Chronoclysm is sorely lacking.
Chronoclysm is truly a nostalgic experience, for good or bad. The combat is fun, but is a little minimalistic. The lack of online is a very missed feature. While the art is inspired, the music is very limited and can even be annoying at times. That in mind, the errors become very minor when battling a friend in the arena. Chronoclysm can be a very fun game for those who can gather some friends to play. Those who don't have the means to play locally will not find the same enjoyment of the game.
Incredibly fun, local multiplayer. Excellent visuals. Great price.
Poor music. No online play. Very little for people who can't gather friends to play