Chromaroma is an interesting new game by fun guys and all-round good gamin’ eggs Mudlark.

It’s pretty simple – hand over the behind-the-scenes tappery of your Oyster card and the site turns your journeys into a game.

You can join a team (I’m in Red!) and claim stations for your colour, take on missions, collect stations in different ways (eg by tube line or starting letter), or vye for the fastest journey between two points.

Everything you do earns you and your team points, and at the end of each 3-month season, one team is declared winner.

This knocks the spots of other location-based games for me for one main reason: it’s ambient. Unless I immediately get some kind of  tangible reward, I can’t be bothered to search for and check in to places everywhere I go. It’s tiresome. Chromaroma uses the journey you were already making, and you don’t have to do a thing out of the ordinary if you don’t want to.

Of course, you could set up events around it. I can foresee groups doing Chromaroma-enhanced scavenger hunts very soon.

And even though my friends aren’t using Chromaroma yet, I’m having plenty of fun playing on my own. I like to log in every couple of days and check out my map, who’s claimed my home station and so on. Having a team in the background is nice, even though I don’t know any of them. It reminds me of what it’s like to play paintball – you turn up, get a team together and crack on. (Though the likelihood of tripping over a tree root and braining yourself is significantly less.)

I’m unlikely to take on any long missions for now as I’m on pay-as-you-go. Until there’s another reason for me to switch to a travelcard I’ll be collecting small amounts of points as I make the few necessary tube journeys in my week, and not going loco on collecting all of the Zone 1 achievements, which I would be tempted to do if it wouldn’t cost me a fortune.

Something I’d really like is the option to plug in a station that I’m planning to travel to so I can hoover up any achievements that exist around it. I’m also excited for bus and river services to be added to the tube and bike, too.

But for now, I’m happy to tap away and play the city, and wait for the inevitable explosion of players!


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