Game Review: Chronovolt (PS Vita)

Chronovolt PS Vita

Chronovolt is a puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita. This is purely a puzzle game first and foremost with platforming elements considering how you navigate the levels. The puzzle oriented elements of the game will certainly test your mental attributes at times in regards to figuring out how to reach the end of particular levels and then how to complete them at a quick enough pace that would earn you a top ten position on the online leaderboards.

The story is well explained, although only briefly at the start of the game with a great narrative presented via a voice-over telling of the villain Scabious who is up to no good as he has stole Professor Chase’s blueprints and the latest Chronosphere having used them to rewind time for him to disappear to the Mayan age were he is assembling an army of minions (also known as Chasers). Jessica, Professor Chase’s young niece has now taken up the chase to find and catch Scabious and bring him to justice.

You control a Chronosphere with Jessica contained within the interior, while the powers of the Chronosphere include the abilities to stop time and rewind time as well as using a time shot to defeat your enemies by sending them into another dimension. The Chronosphere is powered by Chronovolts and looks as though it has been inspired by the morph ball from the Metroid games, but with a different colour scheme and range of powers.

There are twenty-seven levels spread across three separate worlds with each world consisting of nine levels and the following chapter names to represent each world: B’ak’tun 13; Book of Changes; and Nibiru Collision. There are levels that will only last around forty seconds, but you will most likely not complete them on your first play unless you are quite skilful, but there are levels that will last upwards of two minutes, although once again unless you are skilful you are unlikely to complete them on your first play. The positive to this is that if you have taken your PlayStation Vita on a brief train journey, then you can play a couple of levels for a short burst of entertainment, but if you are on a long distance journey, then you will still have enough gameplay to last all the way through. There are vast differences in the surrounding environments of each of the three worlds with the first world set in Mayan times with lots of lush forestry and temple inspired architecture; the second world set in China with snow and ancient Chinese doors and architecture; and the third world set in a technological world with a futuristic style.

Each level has a three star system with the first star earned for completing the level; a second star earned for collecting all of the pick-ups; and a third star for completing the level within a certain set time. The stars awarded will help you to unlock more levels and worlds and as you can attempt to earn each of the three stars separately across three plays of the same level; it provides a very effective method of making sure that you have to re-visit levels to complete a task that you did not previously complete as a requirement to continue progressing through the game.

The game has Facebook connectivity that allows you to tap the Facebook icon after having completed a level and to post your own personalised wall post on your Facebook page to share with everyone that you have just completed a level.

There are five types of Chronospheres including: Chronosphere; Gravisphere; Velovespa; Electrosphere; and Chronosphere X, although the four latter Chronospheres are only available via downloadable content priced at the low price of £0.99 for the entire pack of four from the European PlayStation Store.

The controls are explained during the earlier levels of the first world, although a screen displaying the control configuration is lacking. The face button controls consist of: pressing triangle to zoom the camera in and holding triangle will zoom the camera in further; square to zoom the camera out and holding square will zoom the camera out further; O to move the camera to a higher position and holding O will result in the highest positioning of the camera; X to move the camera to a lower position and holding X will result in the lowest positioning of the camera; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move the Chronosphere; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to pan the camera angle around the Chronosphere; pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to pan the camera angle further to closer inspect your surrounding environments. The touch screen controls consist of: double tapping a Chaser for a time shot to destroy an enemy; tapping and holding any moving object to stop time; and tapping and holding two corners of the touch screen simultaneously to rewind time. There is an option that can be enabled at anytime from the options menu for the motion sensor functionality to replace the left analogue stick in regards to manoeuvring the Chronosphere, while there is also an option that can be enabled at anytime from the options menu for the rear touch pad functionality to replace the right analogue stick in regards to panning the camera by moving your finger around the rear touch pad.

The graphics are mostly pretty good as they are vibrant and colourful with the Chronosphere; Chasers; obstacles and traps that litter the levels; pick-ups; and environments all looking as though they had serious thought and attention applied to them with only the occasional graphical glitch in the background of the environments.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great touch screen based user interface across various menus such as the main menu, challenges screen and options menu, which also incorporates support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons. The background of the menu screens looks very colourful and vibrant as they contain the artwork of the three main characters at the forefront with a world map in the distant background.

The audio is pretty good and consists of a voice-over for the story at the start of the game to introduce the plot, but unfortunately there are no voice-overs for speech beyond that, instead opting for text via speech bubbles, while the music is atmospheric and climactic and there are some sound effects, such as a zapping sound that is made whenever you use the Chronosphere to stop time, rewind time or for a time shot at an enemy; the loud thud of the Chronosphere after it has landed from jumping off another platform; and the ambient effects, such as the howling winds during the second world in China.

The trophy list includes nine trophies with two bronze trophies, six silver trophies and one gold trophy. The trophies are mostly quite easy and are earned naturally through playing the game, although you will definitely have to play through the majority of the levels more than once to reach the requirements of more than half of the trophies. There are a couple of easier trophies as you will earn the Keymaster bronze trophy for opening fifty doors with the keys that you will find naturally scattered throughout the levels and you will earn the Time Manipulator Extraordinaire silver trophy for using each of the three powers (stop time, rewind time and time shot) twenty times. There are harder trophies that you will achieve while naturally progressing through the game, such as earning the Explorer bronze trophy for unlocking World 2 and the Keen Explorer silver trophy for unlocking World 3, while you will also most likely earn the Sniper silver trophy for destroying a Chaser from a great distance by double tapping the touch screen.

However, there are some difficult trophies that may take considerably more time including the Starlet silver trophy for completing World 1 having collected all of the stars; the Super Star silver trophy for completing World 2 having collected all of the stars; and the Perfectionist gold trophy for collecting all of the stars across all three worlds, although it is said that the Perfectionist gold trophy is glitched as the trophy will not pop if you collect all of the stars from World 3, before you have collected all of the stars from World 1 and 2, so make sure that you collect all of the stars from the first two worlds before collecting all of the stars from the third world; just to be on the safe side. I would estimate depending upon skill and a good trophy guide for any of the tricky moments and a boosting partner or a friend that owns the game to send you a challenge for you to beat for the Show Them silver trophy that it would take between three to six hours to 100% the trophy list.

There are no difficulty levels as such, although the difficulty of each level grows progressively due to various gameplay mechanics, such as moving platforms; crumbling platforms; opening and closing platforms; speed-up pads; Chasers; keys to unlock doors; rushing for the exit with a limited period of time for the latter part of some of the levels; and more besides. The gameplay mechanics are introduced in a layered approach, so just when you think you have learnt the game and adjusted to that level of difficulty; there is usually something else that will be thrust upon you to increase the difficulty beyond what you have become accustomed to.

Online multiplayer is included in the form of challenges and online leaderboards. The challenges feature allows anyone who has just set a time in a level to send a challenge to another player for them to attempt to beat their time, so while none of the online multiplayer consists of both players being in the same game; it is still a major positive to have such connectivity between players online. The online leaderboards can be accessed via the best times option from the main menu screen and focuses on the global rankings and friends rankings for every one of the twenty-seven levels spread across the three worlds with each leaderboard containing each players’ rank; name (PSN ID); and time.

The replayability of Chronovolt is easily justifiable as it has twenty-seven levels spread across three unique worlds; a three star system for each level; online leaderboards to attempt to set the quickest time; and the ability to challenge your friends to beat your time on any of the twenty-seven levels that provides adaptable gameplay between short and long bursts of entertainment that will have you coming back to try to maximise your performance for each level time and time again.

Overall, Chronovolt certainly has enough content to keep you entertained and occupied for some considerable time as it will have you coming back for more in your attempt to set faster times for a higher leaderboard position and achieve a three star rating for each level. If you like puzzle games, then you will really like Chronovolt and it is incredibly easy to recommend and a lot of value and fun at just £4.99.

Jason Bonnar

At A Glance

  • Title: Chronovolt
  • Publisher: Playerthree
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Online Multiplayer: Yes (Challenges and Online Leaderboards)
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 291Mb
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