Hue Review

Hue is a color-oriented puzzle-platformer with a philosophical bent. You begin the game in a black and white side-scrolling world without any context, but as you begin to explore you'll find letters that relate a university student's story about a professor whose experimentation with color leads to dire consequences. You'll also occasionally encounter a mysterious robed figure who will present you with a color. Each color that you find will be added to your color wheel, and by using the right-stick on the controller you'll be able to select one of the colors that you've found.

The color wheel drives the game's color-centric puzzles. When you select a color you set the screen's background to that color. Any objects on the screen that are the same color will disappear from view since they will blend into the background. For example, a wall blocking a passageway will no longer be there, allowing you to enter the passage. Conversely, objects previously hidden by the background color will appear when it's changed. Doorways or platforms that weren't there before will suddenly appear.

Hue screenshot 4

The game likes to play with these puzzles in two ways. The first is more cerebral. You'll be moving crates, walls, and platforms around, using the color-switching mechanic to do things like push objects "through" each other. You can take your time with these puzzles, thinking things over and experimenting a little to work out the solution.

The second type is pure platforming that puts your reflexes to the test. You may face a series of platforms of different colors over spike pits that force you to change the background color while in mid-jump so that a platform will appear in time for you to make a safe landing. Or you may need to work your way up a series of slopes while colored boulders roll down towards you as you flip through the color wheel to avoid being crushed.

The platform sections are challenging because they're not purely reflexed based. You have to be thinking one or two steps ahead to manage the colors or you're going to be out of luck. Failure usually means that you'll be starting over from the beginning of the sequence as well, so if a sequence is giving you a little trouble, you'll probably have to run through it multiple times before you can clear your way through it. There's an additional layer of challenge introduced by the controls themselves. You need to constantly use the right stick to change the background color and there's only a short window for you to find and pick the right color. While in general the game's controls are tight and responsive, getting the timing right while going through the color wheel can lead to some frustrating missteps.

Hue screenshot 5

The division of this puzzle-platformer into almost separate puzzle and platforming sections may alienate gamers who are looking for a game with one or the other, but not both. I had more fun with the puzzle sequences than the platforming ones simply because the color wheel control kept messing up my timing. When playing challenging platformers, timing is important and you need to get into a groove, and I just couldn't keep a sustained rhythm going in Hue. I like the game's look, its story, and the puzzle mechanics, but the platform sequences on the whole were more frustrating than they were fun.

Final Rating: 78% - A puzzle platformer that works better as a puzzle game than a platformer.


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