While there are tons of puzzle platformers, I’m still always on the lookout for new entries in the genre. I just really enjoy the mix of jumping around and using a mix of smarts and reflexes to get through. Now, I was a bit skeptical going into Hue. The notion of color-based game mechanics didn’t strike me as particularly original, and the concept wide-eyed protagonist bringing color to a gray world is about as clichéd as a rainy movie funeral, but I gave it its fair shake.
Hue starts off kind of slowly, with an unseen woman narrating and explaining that she has been trapped in an unknown color spectrum, and the world is gray for some reason. You take the role of an unnamed protagonist who trudges through the storybook world to rescue her, and along the way you learn more about her plight. The lady’s voice acting is great, and the story is light but has some pretty emotional moments, so I enjoyed that aspect quite a bit.
The main attraction, however, was the color-based gameplay. Essentially, you collect various colors as powerups throughout the game. Using your right analog stick (obviously controllers are recommended for a game like this), you can switch to different colors. Once you switch to a color, the background will change to that color and everything that has that color will blend in. So for example, if you see a blue wall, you can switch to blue and it’ll just disappear. Now, while it starts off simply enough, it isn’t long before they toss in new colors and the puzzles become a matter of figuring out how to get through by alternating color patterns.
While some games mess around with colors, in Hue, it’s all about the colors. The story revolves around a girl who devoted her life to studying colors, and the world you live in changes around with every flick of the analog stick. The color changes are smooth and graceful, and they end up changing the game’s look and feel quite a bit. The visuals are sort of like a Nickelodon cartoon with a little more storybook feel to it, and I liked the details in the level design. I will say that it could have been a little more elaborate, but I feel the colors gave the game much of its charm.
The color-switching gives the game a lot of heart, but the real attraction is the actual puzzles. Once you’ve collected a handful, the puzzles become challenging, and they need a fair mix of timing and planning. When you bring up the color wheel you slow everything down, so if you need to jump and switch in mid-air, it’s not that difficult. I was surprised by the number of different puzzles they could crank out with such a simple formula, but I found that they were fairly creative.
Past that, they take the idea to its next logical step by introducing new mechanics involving color combinations. As with all good puzzle platformers, however, the game never gets to the point where it’s unfair or unrealistic in its puzzle difficulty, and it never bores you. It manages to walk the line and provide a good difficulty curve, and I found some of the puzzles to be pretty entertaining. I will say that many of the puzzles had a lot of rinse and repeat fetching, and the platforming can be wonky at times. However, it never felt obscure or confusing, so I’m happy with the structure.
Overall, the game took me around 4 hours to complete (I got stuck on a couple puzzles that really stumped me and kinda took a break) and I felt the experience was nicely rounded. The story wasn’t all that memorable, but the game itself was a fun take on color-based mechanics, and I definitely rank it among my favorite puzzle platformers.
HUE was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Fiddlesticks Games. The PC version was tested by Mazen Abdallah on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. The game is also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and will be coming soon on the PlayStation Vita via digital stores. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Charming storybook visuals
• Balanced difficulty curve
• Intuitive level design
• Platforming feels wonky at times
• Story is a bit cliché