Polychromatic review

Reviews Xbox One Reviews

Easy to play, hard to master and even harder to put down, Polychromatic is one addictive game – but don’t let its simplicity fool you – it may look simple with its vector enemies and cute dust explosions, but it will challenge even the most hardened Geometry Wars fan. Yes… it’s impossible not to draw similarities with the king of addictive arena based shooters.

Unlike Geometry Wars, Polychromatic takes place inside a circular arena, a Petri dish of spawning enemies, who get tougher as you progress through each wave. Racking up a quota of kills completes each one, and with each wave comes new enemy types to dispose of, each reacting to you in a different way – either idly passing you by or making a beeline for your position.

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There’s three modes to choose from; Timed, One-life and Endless – all three are pretty self explanatory – each one starts you with three blasts, three dashes, and in Endless mode, three lives. Extra blasts and dashes can be earned after each wave you beat. Lives can be earned after certain waves in endless mode and in timed mode you can add extra time for each completed wave.

A cat of nine lives? More like a polygon of nine! Should you be skilled enough, you can increase your lives, bombs and dashes to nine, but that’s it, no more until you lose or use one!

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Starting with two diagonal streams of gunfire, you’ll soon get more as you progress through the waves, which at times will crowd the screen turning the arena of Polychromatic into a bullet hell shooter. Blasts can be used to get you out of a jam and will mostly clear the area of enemies – you can also use the dash ability, making you invincible for a short period of time, able to destroy any enemies you bump into. You will also bounce off the sides of the arena should you collide with the boundary and this is a key part to Polychromatic – the simple physics engine.

Enemies will gang up on you, but by doing so they will jostle and bounce off one another – pushing and shoving never works – and for some enemies, that means veering off in the opposite direction to their plotted trajectory. At times, this can be slightly annoying particularly when you’ve planned an escape only for an enemy to shove another one into you!

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The music of Polychromatic is great and most importantly, it didn’t get annoying. The UI is clean and simple, with your score and number of lives, blasts and dashes shown in the centre of the arena. There’s leaderboards to best and the achievements are tricky to earn but that’s your lot from Polychromatic – a simple game that is damn tough (particularly if you’re tired) and even tougher to put down – don’t play Polychromatic if you want a quick five minutes – you’ll certainly be on it for far longer than you planned!

Thanks to Xbox and Brushfire Games for their support

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I've been gaming for longer than I care to remember and spent four years writing for another XCN website leading a 10 strong team. Now I'm in charge of TiX alongside Dave Moran – I hope you enjoy what we do!