Jun 18, 2012
Chrono & Cash is the newest game from Orangepixel, an arena-based game of thievery across time and space! The obvious comparison with the arena levels and pixel art would probably be Super Crate Box or the closely-inspired Muffin Knight, but the core of the game is very different. Players have to collect items strewn throughout the levels, avoiding the spawning enemies.
Each level repeats three times, with each variation spawning more enemies with trickier spawn patterns. Part of the challenge comes from the fact that the items are meant to be collected in order, with a 10x bonus for collecting the next highlighted item. A bonus is given at the end of a level for collecting all items in order. Thereâ€™s a natural order to collect the items in, which the game discards from the word go, deciding instead to make players criss-cross across the map.
Getting used to the mechanics of Chrono & Cash is the key to success. Learning how the physics work (the character doesnâ€™t get much hangtime) and figuring out the tricky enemy patterns is the biggest barrier to success. The jumping always feels low, and the enemy patterns in later levels are difficult to pick up on because theyâ€™re more complex, and thereâ€™s less time to pick up on them. Not being able to do anything about the enemies besides barely try to avoid them by jumping over them is frustrating; I do wonder if jumping on the enemies would improve the game. I want to be hesitant in suggesting things for developers to do, as one aspect can have unintended consequences.
Fans of gamer culture references will love the cameo appearances from other indie games in Chrono & Cash, including Commander Pixman from his eponymous game recently released on Android, and Burnie from Scorched Monster. Oh, and the game features iCade support, even on Android, thanks to it just being a Bluetooth keyboard. It gives the game a great arcade feel, to go along with its dificulty level that comes straight from the 1980â€™s as well.
The tightness of the design of Chrono & Cash makes it one of Orangepixelâ€™s best games yet; while it still feels far from perfect, I would love to see future titles from the developer go in this direction of laser-focused arcade titles that expand on a simple gameplay mechanic.