Hue has finally arrived on the Sony’s handheld, and it’s one of last must-own titles of this year if you’re a Vita owner who enjoys puzzle platformers.
When you take a look at the indie game scene, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep track of all the new games coming out. Publishing them, especially through platforms like Steam, has become so much easier that the sheer number of games being released seems to grow every month. Because of that, it’s easy to overlook certain titles – perhaps missing out on a gem here and there until other reviews show everyone how great it is.
This is not the case with Hue, published by Curve Digital and developed by Fiddlesticks. For the past year and a half or so, we’ve had our eye on the game – as we saw it at various trade shows and saw it win numerous awards in the process. We even met with Fiddlesticks’ Henry Hoffman at one point, but never had we had the opportunity to play the game on the Vita. Now, after a short delay due to optimization, that time has finally come.
Hue’s basic concept is simple enough. As you start out, the world around you is black and white, and as you uncover parts of the story you soon gain access to different colors as well. With these, you can change the background of the game to that color, and as you unlock more colors you’ll have more options to choose from – you select each color using a color wheel, controlled using your right thumbstick.
That’s all there is to it, but of course the magic is in how this is implemented. Hue is a 2D platformer with a unique art style – with stark contrasts and hand-drawn simplicity being more important than the color explosions and cartoon-like animations of titles like Rayman. This helps Hue in delivering its color-driven gameplay – where changing the background color also affects what happens to the game world. Obstacles that have the same color will disappear, and hidden items will come into view. Because of this, you might be able to access new areas or use an item that was missing before – which you’ll need to do often to overcome the game’s challenges.
Aside from solving puzzles, there is also a fair share of platforming involved – some of which will require quick reflexes. Changing the background color mid-jump just to be able to land on an otherwise hidden platform can be challenging, especially if the game’s puzzles have lulled you into a slower pace. Other hectic situations can occur when projectiles of different colors approach you, and you have to switch colors after every projectile. As long as the background color matches the projectile, it’ll pass straight through you – but this can be difficult to achieve when they follow each other in quick succession.
Where an indie classic like Limbo isn’t too demanding when it comes to its platforming and others like Super Meat Boy lean heavily towards skill-based jumping, Hue walks the middle ground, a bit like Braid does. Hue succeeds mostly due to its core dynamic and puzzles, which are truly unique. The platforming elements are functional, yet more generic. As a puzzle platformer this is one of the year’s best on the Vita – and it comes with free PS4 and PS3 versiosn as well.