Saturday, March 01, 2008


Title: Chromatron
Author: Sean Barrett
License: Freeware

Sean Barrett and Silver Spaceshipt Software recently decided to make all four installments of the Chromatron series free. Previously, only the first version was free. They are still hoping that players will make a donation if they enjoy the game. This is wonderful news. I had played the first version long ago, and now am enjoying the other three.

Chromatron is a colored laser and mirror game similar to Aargon Deluxe. The object of each level to shine the correct color or combination of colors through each of the target pinwheels. To achieve this, you have to place the mirrors and other items in the correct positions with the right orientation. The mechanics of the game is straight forward. Each level comes with a collection of items in the box on the right. You drag them onto the grid. A left mouse click rotates the piece counter-clockwise. A right click rotates it clockwise. If you want to start over, the "R" key resets the board.

The level pictured above features several of the key game items. First the one way mirrors split the white light. Then the red, blue, and green filters let only one color through, white = red + blue + green. Finally, the well placed mirrors bounce the light towards the pinwheels. This level has all seven colors. The non-primary colored pinwheels require multiple lasers to pass through them, cyan = green + blue for example. For Aargon players, note that green and blue lasers do not have to combine on the same path.

There are several other items which you will learn about. Unfortunately, there is no manual fully explaining the effect of the various items. Instead, you have to learn as you go. I highly suggest starting with the first episode as the early levels form a tutorial. When an item appears for the first time, a brief message describing it is given.

Each of the four episodes contains 50 puzzles. You do not have to play the levels in order, but only certain levels are unlocked at any given time. As you complete levels, more get unlocked.

The level design in Chromatron is good. The first episode contains some challenges, but is not too hard especially if you familiar with Aargon. The other episodes have some good tough puzzles. Actually, I found the second installment to be hardest. Many levels have a nice a-ha moment to them. I only solved a few of the levels on my first try. Most, I had to work out the what the secret to the level. After a while, the levels do have a repetitive feel, but on the whole very good level design.

The other aspects of Chromatron are well done. The graphics are simple but sharp, clear, and effective. There is no sound which is fine. One really nice feature of the game is that is saves the partial solution on levels you have not finished when you exit.

My usual hint for these sort of games is too keep your eyes open for things arranged on diagonals. If you get stuck there is a forum.

One last note for Aargon players, Chromatron does not contain any TNT or the silly green goo monsters. Thank god.

I highly recommend playing this game and make a donation.


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