It’s always good to have a few decent arcade games in your collection. Something to pick up and put down for 10 minutes at a time. Maybe a game to listen to your music and relax, or just a game to have a break from the bloated AAA scene and the unpolished Early Access Indie Mess.
Synchrom is sort of a rhythm based game. And it’s sort of a shooter too. And… it’s also a bit of a puzzle game. However you want to classify it, it’s $10 at full price and it’s built pretty solid.
You move your ship with a mouse as you circle around the enemy mass at the center. Your ship changes colors with every shot and it’s the player’s job to shoot the coordinating color in the center. You don’t control your own rate of fire. It’s done to the beat of the music in the background.
Simple concept. Of course, you’ve got to dodge incoming fire and you don’t want to collide with any objects on screen. There’s a few powerups you can grab along the way, but quite frankly, I never grasped the concept of what each powerup did. I was too busy scooting around trying to not die.
Shooting the wrong color is also detrimental to your health. That’s why you have to get into a good flow with the game. Because not only do you change colors, but the mass at the center changes colors too and has a series of satellite objects that flow around it in three dimensions
At first I really loved Synchrom, but after spending an hour with it, to be honest, I grew a bit bored and frustrated. It’s polished and looks great, and even sounds great, but in the end, this one isn’t for me. The later stages left me a little miffed. Your ship only changes to three different colors, Red, Green, or Blue, but the center mass will change to different colors in the spectrum like teal, yellow, and purple. It’s up to you to discover which color you can actually shoot with just your red green and blue. The wrong choice causes damage.
What’s frustrating is the game wants you to use basic color wheel theory (I think) to figure out which colors do damage. But having Red Green and Blue as your color choices feels just wrong. Sure, they work great to mix colors for your monitor, but Green and Blue appear right next to one another in a basic color wheel. Red, Yellow, Blue should be the choices if they were going for primaries. Or Green, orange, purple. Is it a game breaker? No… but it led me to shooting a lot of the wrong spots…and now I kinda wish I had an option to change my ship’s primary colors.
Anyway, that’s about my only beef with the game. But getting bored and frustrated in under and hour makes the $10 entry fee feel steep to me. As a rhythm game, it’s a little sad that there’s no way to import your own personal audio files, but obviously I can’t knock off points for something like that. Besides, in the age of spotify and other streaming services, people don’t use .mp3s as much. It’s a neat concept and it’s easy to fall for the game’s visual effects.
If you’re itchy to get this one, I’d say wait for a sale. It’s definitely not a trash game, but even if the color issue wasn’t there, I didn’t get hooked. That’s why I’m giving this one a worth try.
Tested on: PC
Launch Date: August 24, 2015
Review copy provided by publisher